Australia’s government allocated a budget of AUD4.2 million ($3.25 million) to the telecoms authority to implement a new law requiring Google and Facebook to negotiate licensing agreements with local media companies for using their content.
In a statement, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the funding, part of the government’s 2021-22 budget, would allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to deliver the “critical benefits provided by the code”.
He noted digital platforms fundamentally changed the way that media content is produced, distributed and consumed, which is why the government introduced the code.
Fletcher said the funds will enable ACMA to fulfill its functions under the code, including managing an eligibility scheme, registering news businesses and maintaining a register of arbitrators.
He welcomed reports Google and Facebook reached commercial agreements with publishers, suggesting: “This is powerful evidence the code is already doing its job.”
The deals with media companies came just weeks after both companies previously threatened to pull back on services in Australia, with Facebook in early February blocking publishers and users from viewing and sharing news on its site.
The mandatory media bargaining code, approved by parliament in late February, aims to ensure news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate.
The new law is seen as a potential blueprint for other countries grappling with the wide market power of the internet giants.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back