Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

US asks Australia to scrap proposed laws to make Facebook, Google pay for news

Published 7:24 pm | January 19, 2021

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Online desk ; The U.S. government has asked Australia to repeal a proposed law that would make it the first country in the world to force Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc Google to pay for news published in local media.
Calling on the government to “suspend” the plans, Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives Daniel Bahar and Earl Ehlers advised Australia to “study the markets further and create a volunteer code if deemed appropriate.”

Under the law, which has broad political support and is currently before a Senate committee, Google and Facebook will be subject to mandatory price arbitration unless there is a commercial agreement on payments to the Australian media.

“The U.S. government is concerned that regulating the competitive positions of certain players through law enforcement … could have detrimental consequences for causing obvious harm to two U.S. organizations,” the U.S. government said in a statement.

The move “could also raise concerns about Australia’s international trade obligations,” it said.

The Australian government announced the law last month, after an investigation found that technologists have too much market power in the media industry, a situation that poses a potential threat to a well-managed democracy.

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