“Unreasonable” And “Unclear”: Google Takes Aim At 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 boss Mel Silva [feature image] has taken aim at the ACCC’s News Media Bargaining Code, arguing that the proposed legislation is ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unclear’.

In a new blog post, Silva critiqued the legislation – which will see Google and Facebook forced to pay for news – stating “the code is unworkable for us”.

“The code is extremely broad and lacks vital definitions. This makes it difficult to know how to comply with its many provisions, and it carries potentially enormous financial penalties,” Silva said.

“We could be fined up to 10 per cent of our Australian revenue for a single breach. No business in Australia should have to manage the huge risk that comes with such severe penalties for such uncertain provisions.”

Silva also pointed to analysis which suggests media businesses generate more value from links to news websites than Google does.

“None of the value we bring to the negotiating table would be considered by the arbitrator,” she said.

It follows the recent announcement of the Google News Showcase, which will see the tech giant put $US1 billion towards paying media companies around the world over the next three years.

Silva again said that Google does not oppose a code, rather, it is hoping to resolve issues with the existing legislation.

“We believe these conditions could be amended to make it a fair and workable code: a code that can work together with commercial deals and programs like News Showcase.”

 

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