Google Launches Paid for Australia News Platform in Drive to Derail Country’s Content Payment Law
Google Launches Paid-for Australia News Platform in Drive to Derail Country’s Content Payment Law
Google said it looked forward to striking agreements with more Australian publishers.
By Reuters | Updated: 5 February 2021 11:12 IST
Google and a French publishers' lobby agreed to copyright framework for tech firm to pay news publishers
Google News Showcase platform was originally slated for launch last June
News Showcase only rolled out previously in Brazil and Germany
Financial details of the content deals weren't disclosed
Tech giant Google on Friday launched a platform in Australia offering news it has paid for, striking its own content deals with publishers in a drive to show legislation proposed by Canberra to enforce payments, a world first, is unnecessary.
Only rolled out previously in Brazil and Germany, the News Showcase platform was originally slated for launch last June. But Alphabet-owned Google delayed plans when Canberra moved to make it a legal requirement for Google and Facebook to pay Australian media companies for content, unprecedented anywhere else in the world.
The tech firm, still lobbying the Australian government in private meetings, has previously said was the legislation was "unworkable" and would force it to pull out of the country altogether if implemented.
"This provides an alternative to model put forward by the Australian government," said Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney's Centre for Media Transition.
"What remains to be seen is if larger publishers sign on to the product," said Wilding.
Last month Reuters said it had signed a deal with Google to be the first global news provider to Google News Showcase. Reuters is owned by news and information provider Thomson Reuters.
Also last month Google and a French publishers' lobby agreed to a copyright framework for the tech firm to pay news publishers for content online, in a first for Europe.
Under Canberra's proposed legislation, Google and Facebook would have to pay Australian publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds. If they failed strike a deal with publishers, a government-appointed arbitrator would decide the price.
While Google's public stance on potentially leaving the country remains firm, Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Google's approach had been "constructive" in recent days during private meetings.
"The Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) and myself and (Communications Minister) Paul Fletcher had a very constructive discussion with the head of Google just yesterday," Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.
"In that discussion ... they re-committed to Australia, we re-committed [to the legislation]."
Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on its contacts with the government.