Regional papers concern

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 29-Mar-21

Country Press Australia is holding talks with both Facebook and Google regarding the news media bargaining code. CPA represents the publishers of 160 regional newspapers nationwide; its negotiations have come at a time when there is growing concern that the Facebook News product will have limited relevance to regional newspapers as it is focused primarily on national news. Australian Community Media is also in talks with Facebook, while it secured a deal with Google in late 2020.

CORPORATES
COUNTRY PRESS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA PTY LTD

Competition policy sealed tech giants deal

Original article by James Madden
The Australian – Page: 19 : 1-Mar-21

The federal government’s news media bargaining code has already prompted Google to secure commercial deals with some media companies. Facebook in turn has signed a letter of intent with Seven West Media and is negotiating with other news publishers. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says there has been "significant overseas interest" in the approach the government took in treating the code as an issue of competition policy rather than copyright law. He adds that the code provided the leverage needed to ensure a level playing field between traditional media and digital platforms.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Poison pill holds up Facebook deals

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 32 : 1-Mar-21

Facebook launched its ‘Facebook News’ product in the US in 2020, but Australia was not included in the launch because of the ongoing discussions about the federal government’s proposed media bargaining code. That code has now passed into law, while Facebook is expected to launch Facebook News in Australia once it has concluded deals with local news publishers. However, such deals are stalling over Facebook’s so-called ‘poison pen’ clause. There are suggestions that publishers could use the code to enter into an arbitration process with Facebook, should it decide to initiate the poison pill.

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FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Big Tech to pay annual charge

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 4 : 17-Feb-21

The federal government has agreed to make a number of ‘technical’ changes to its media bargaining code. Amongst other things, digital platforms such as Google and Facebook will now pay news publishers an annual lump sum, rather than per click or snippet, while the requirements for them to give notice of changes to their algorithms will be simplified. Meanwhile, JPMorgan estimates that Seven West Media could gain up to $69.2m a year from its newly-struck content deal with Google. Other news publishers are also believed to be in talks with Google.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Google threat lifts support for new code

Original article by John Davidson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 9-Feb-21

Consumer research company Pureprofile asked over 1,000 Australians their views on the federal government’s proposed media bargaining code and the operation of online platforms. The code would force Facebook and Google into binding arbitration if they cannot come to an agreement with media companies over payment for the use of their news content. On the question of whether Google’s threat to shut down its search engine in Australia if the code goes ahead made them more or less likely to support the code, 34 per cent of respondents stated it would make them more likely. Pureprofile CEO Martin Filz claims that Google has "underestimated the backlash against Big Tech".

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FACEBOOK INCORPORATED,GOOGLE INCORPORATED,PUREPROFILE LIMITED – ASX PPL

‘We don’t respond to threats’: PM responds to Google’s ultimatum

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 23-Jan-21

Google has threatened to withdraw its search product from Australia if the federal government’s legislation for a mandatory news bargaining code proceeds in its present form. The code would see Google and Facebook required to strike deals with media publishers to pay for the journalistic content they use on their platforms. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Google the federal government does not respond to threats, while Liberal senator Andrew Bragg has accused Google of attempting to "blackmail" Australian policymakers by threatening to withdraw from Australia.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Calls for big tech to unmask anonymous online abusers

Original article by Paul Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-21

Changes to the Online Safety Act could see the eSafety Commissioner given new powers to seek identification behind anonymous accounts on digital platforms. Individuals could be fined up to $110,000 for abusive behaviour, while content hosts could be hit with fines up to $550,000. ESafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has urged the big technology platforms to do more to address the problems caused by anonymous accounts, with such accounts used by backers of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon being prominently cited by members of the mob that recently attacked the US Capitol.

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Facebook, Google code ‘won’t breach trade pact’

Original article by John Kehoe, Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-21

There have been claims that proposed laws that would see Google and Facebook pay publishers for their journalism would breach the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. However, federal government ministers are confident that this is not the case, having received legal and international trade advice on the matter, while Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks stated recently that there is "clearly no breach of the free trade agreement". Executives from news publishers, the big digital platforms and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will appear before a Senate hearing on 22 January to be questioned about the proposed news media and digital platforms mandatory bargaining code.

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GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Google, Facebook fight code in Senate

Original article by David Swan, Patrick Commins
The Weekend Australian – Page: 3 : 16-Jan-21

A Senate committee is holding an inquiry into the proposed mandatory media bargaining code between technology companies and traditional publishers, and is due to report on 12 February. Google and Facebook are set to voice their opposition to the code at a public committee hearing on 22 January; Google has threatened to quit Australia if the code is made law, while Facebook has stated it will ban the sharing of news on its Australian platform. The code will compel Google and Facebook to mediate with publishers over the value of their news, with fines of up to $10 million possible if they fail to comply.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Google doubles down on claims news bargaining code will break search

Original article by Miranda Ward
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 7-Jan-21

Google Australia has repeated previous claims that the federal government’s proposed bargaining code between traditional media companies and digital companies will ‘break’ the way its search function works. Google does not object to the principle of paying to support journalism, but contends it should be done differently to what the government is proposing. It argues that its $1.3 billion global licensing program is the best mechanism for it to negotiate with media publishers and pay for their content, while it contends the government’s code will favour some media companies over others.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC