Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has rejected proposed legislation requiring it to pay publishers for news content as part of efforts to protect independent journalism. The company has opposed the bargaining codes requiring tech companies to pay for news even after dilution of the proposal after a lobbying campaign by the company.
Google opposes code requiring it to pay publishers
According to the proposal, tech giants have to negotiate with broadcasters and local publishers on the amount they will pay for the content appearing on their platforms, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that if the companies cannot reach an agreement with publishers then a government-selected arbitrator will intervene and decide for them.
The search engine giant is against the legislation and its Australian Boss Mel Silva indicated in the company’s official blog that such a code will break how search engines operate. Silva argued that such a code will give journalists special treatment and criticized the “final offer” approach of resolving how much the company should pay for news.
She added that despite the government making changes to the codes it is unfortunate that it still falls short of workable legislation. Silva said that Google is committed to getting a workable version of the code and has made proposals to weaken the bargaining code. She explained that a program the company proposed to pay publishers for using their content, Google News Showcase, is on hold until there is a workable final code.
Google facing antitrust suits
According to industry sources, Silva’s blog introduced argues that the company didn’t air in its campaign against the code and seems to be taking a hard-line stand. Interestingly this comes at a time when the company is facing a series of anti-trust suits in the US claiming its monopoly in search is illegal.
Tech giants have taken a big chunk of advertising spending thus denying broadcasters a revenue source. But regulators seem to be ready to rein in the companies that tech almost four-fifths of the online advertising revenue in Australia.