Landmark Law in Australia Requires Tech Firms To Pay for News

The law is being seen as a precedent in the tussle between Big Tech and media companies across the globe.

2 min read

Technology firms like Google and Facebook will be required to pay for news in Australia after the government in the country passed a landmark legislation.

The developments in the Australian tech space, leading up to the legislation, was being closely monitored world-wide. It is expected to set a precedent in the ongoing battle between big tech and media companies.


The world-first law passed easily after the Australian government agreed to water down elements most fiercely opposed by the tech giants, in return for both agreeing to negotiate paid deals with local media, reported AFP.

The Australian government said that the law would ensure small media companies "are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia".

It will pave the way for tech companies like Facebook and Google to pump millions of dollars into local media companies.

Google has already signed deals with many Australian media firms including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Nine Entertainment.

Facebook is in talks with Seven West and other firms too.

Earlier, Facebook had – in a giant pushback against the Australian legislation on monetising news content online – blocked out users and news organisations, among others, in Australia from sharing news and other links on their platform.

On Tuesday, 23 February, Facebook announced that it is going to restore news on the social media platform in Australia in the coming days.

Saying that the company has reached an agreement with the Australian government, Facebook, in a statement, said, “After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them. As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

Google will pay for news content that appears on its "Showcase" product and Facebook is expected to pay providers who appear on its "News" feature, which is to be rolled out in Australia later this year.

(With inputs from AFP)

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