Australia’s competition watchdog released a draft code which would govern domestic media companies’ bargaining ability with platforms including Google and Facebook to ensure fair payment for news content.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today (31 July) issued its proposal to address what it perceives is an imbalance in power between tech giants and local media outfits.
If adopted, the plan would establish a three-month negotiation and mediation process. After this, an independent arbitrator would be tasked with deciding which offer is “the most reasonable” within 45 working days.
The code would initially apply only to Google and Facebook, but “other digital platforms may be added if they attain a bargaining power imbalance with Australian news media businesses in the future”, ACCC stated.
Its plan would enable groups of media businesses to collectively negotiate with Google, Facebook et al. Breaches would be punished with penalties of up to AUD10 million ($7.2 million), or three-times the benefit obtained or 10 per cent of a platform’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.
“There is a fundamental bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and the major digital platforms, partly because news businesses have no option but to deal with the platforms, and have had little ability to negotiate over payment for their content or other
issues,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“We believe that our final offer arbitration proposal provides a compelling incentive for parties to put forward fair and reasonable proposals, given each has just one chance to make an offer and only one offer can prevail.”
The ACCC developed the code at the government’s request, after it accepted a recommendation from the competition authority to initiate broad reforms relating to digital platforms.
ACCC expects the code to be finalised shortly after additional consultation, due next month.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back