Australia Says Google and Facebook to Make Deals to Pay for Information
The Australian government has said Google and Facebook Inc. are on the verge of making deals to pay national media companies for the information, a sign that the regulatory deadlock may be easing.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spoke this weekend with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his Google counterpart Sundar Pichai. “We are very close to some very important trade deals,” Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Monday, according to a transcript sent by his office. “We have made great progress. “
Google and Facebook, owned by Alphabet Inc., oppose Australia’s bill requiring them to pay media companies for information, and Google has threatened to shut down its search engine if the law is passed. Parliament will consider legislation this week, prompting internet giants to agree pay terms for news companies before the law is passed.
Facebook declined to comment on specific threads. “We have engaged with the Australian government to outline our concerns about the legislation,” the company said in a statement. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.
If Facebook and Google fail to strike the deals, Australia’s paid information law risks becoming a model for regulators in other jurisdictions, including Canada and the European Union, who are following the feud.
Google offers to compensate publishers through its News Showcase product, under which it pays media outlets for organized content, rather than being bound by legislation. Seven West Media Ltd., publisher of The West Australian, announced Monday that it has agreed to provide information to Showcase as part of a long-term partnership.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian government is prepared to let tech companies avoid paying for news clips if media companies subscribe to Google Showcase and Facebook News.
News Corp. and publisher Herald Nine Entertainment Co. have yet to join Google Showcase.