Google pushes back on news code

Tech giant Google has complained a code that would force it to pay for Australian news content is "unworkable" as it continues to battle the federal government over the proposed new law.

The news bargaining code, developed after almost three years of consultation, ensures news media companies are paid fairly for their content, according to the federal government.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the new code will even out the playing field and help sustain public interest journalism in Australia.

Traditional media outlets, many of which have recently experienced savage cutbacks to newsrooms, say social media platforms benefit from their journalism without paying for it.

But Google says the code would force it to pay for links to certain publishers, despite those publishers receiving value from Google in the form of free user traffic.

 

 

Google used its search homepage to display an advertisement saying the code remains "unworkable" despite some government changes on Tuesday.

"The law still threatens to fundamentally damage Google Search," local managing director Mel Silva wrote in an open letter.

"The code's rules would dismantle a free and open service that's been built to serve everyone, and replace it with one where links come at a price, and where the government would give a handful of news businesses an advantage over everybody else.

"That puts Google's business in Australia - and the services we provide more than 20 million Australians - at enormous risk."

Ms Silva pointed to a $1.3 billion global program called Google News Showcase that the search giant plans to roll out over the next three years as the "right solution" to the clash.

News Showcase "offers a fair, practical way forward, meets the original goals of the law, and helps secure a strong future for Australian news," she wrote.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's code recommended tech giants share revenue obtained "directly or indirectly" from news content used on their sites.

The code will initially apply to Facebook NewsFeed and Google Search.

A Senate Committee is taking submissions on the code until January 18 before it reports back to parliament.

Originally published as Google pushes back on news code


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