Google Continues Fight Against News Media Bargaining Code

Palo Alto, California, USA - January 02, 2018: Google parking street/pavement sign. Title of a Google on a parking spots for Google employees in Silicon Valley.
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Google is continuing its fight against the News Media Bargaining Code, today referring to public submissions that support its stance.

With the legislation having been introduced to parliament late last year and currently sitting with a Senate committee for inquiry, Google today released a statement pointing to submissions made about the Code, which were made public by the ACCC ahead of Christmas.

According to Google, 80 per cent of the 426 submissions that have been released flag significant concerns with the proposed rules.

This includes the likes of industry organisations such as the Business Council of Australia, Ai group, digital rights advocate Electronic Frontiers Australia, the American Bar Association and the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as tech companies such as Atlassian.

In Atlassian’s submission, the company states: “There is … no corresponding rationale or economic analysis for compelling payment from the digital platforms to the NMBs (News Media Businesses) for the privilege of displaying links to news stories — impressions to online users that the NMBs themselves highly value.”

Google Australia & New Zealand VP Mel Silva said “there’s still time to get this [News Media Baragining Code] right”.

“Over the next few weeks, we will continue to engage with the Senate Committee, policymakers, and publishers, making our case constructively to achieve a Code that’s fair for everyone, in the interest of all Australians,” Silva said.

Google has previously stated it is willing to agree to some sort of code to regulate its relationship with local media businesses, however, the tech giant is unhappy with a number of requirements under the current legislation.

In particular, it has labelled the arbitration process – which will ultimately determine how much Google and Facebook are forced to pay media businesses – as “one-sided”.

“[The code] imposes an unfair and unprecedented baseball arbitration model that considers only publishers’ costs, not Google’s; incentivises publishers to make ambit claims and resort to arbitration rather than good-faith negotiations; assumes that the internet has never required payments for links because of ‘bargaining imbalance’; and requires the decision-maker to choose a single ‘final offer’,” Silva said last year, following the legislation being introduced to parliament.

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