“Enormous And Unreasonable Demands”: Google Australia Warns Against News Media Bargaining Code

Portrait of Google Australia MD Melanie Silva, photographed at the Sydney Google Offices. Tuesday 29th January 2019. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 190129
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Google Australia has gone on the offensive to protest the recently announced News Media Bargaining Code, warning Australians their experience on the platform will suffer.

In an open letter to the community, Google Australia managing director Mel Silva [feature image] said the proposed changes will give big media companies an unfair advantage over all the other websites that appear on Google.

“News media businesses alone would be given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else, even when someone else provides a better result,” Silva said.

“We’ve always treated all website owners fairly when it comes to information we share about ranking. The proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you.”

Silva also warned that under the proposed changes Google will be forced to hand over access to data to news businesses about how customers use Google’s products.

The proposed News Media Bargaining Code also appears to have put a halt to a local licensing deal with the likes of Crickey and The Saturday Paper, per reports in the Herald.

“We’ve offered to pay more to license content,” Silva continued.

“But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk.”

Silva added that it will ultimately be Google users that suffer if the proposed changes go through.

“This law wouldn’t just impact the way Google and YouTube work with news media businesses — it would impact all of our Australian users, so we wanted to let you know,” she said.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get this proposal changed so we can protect how Search and YouTube work for you in Australia and continue to build constructive partnerships with news media businesses — not choose one over the other.”

message to creators

It won’t just be internet users that suffer under the changes, according to Google.

In another letter, YouTube head of APAC Gautam Anand told Australian creators and artists that the News Media Bargaining Code would put them at a disadvantage.

“The imbalances created by this proposed law could potentially affect all types of Australian creators, far beyond those who focus on news: from vloggers, to educational creators, to music artists and beyond,” said Anand.

“We are doing everything we can to push for changes and make sure YouTube in Australia remains a place where anyone can connect to an audience or build a business, not just a few large media companies.”

 

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