Australia was the first country in the world to pass a digital media law that obliges large internet companies such as Google and Facebook to pay for the distribution of media companies’ products.
Media Bargaining Law will ensure that news media are rewarded “fairly” for content, said Australian Chancellor of the Exchequer Josh Frydenberg on February 25, 2021.
In the run-up to this, the proposed law had led to a dispute between the government and Facebook. The company had blocked Australian news sites on its platform in mid-February 2021 to defy government plans.
After days of negotiations with Facebook, Scott Morrison’s administration agreed on Tuesday to make changes.
Under the law, the Australian government wants to take greater account of whether a platform like Facebook or Google has made “a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry” through agreements with local media companies.
Initially, Google threatened the Australian government to shut down its search engine. But then the company gave in and reached an agreement with several media companies on payments for journalistic content, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.