Google Warns Australians Of Losing Free Search, Disrupting YouTube And Affecting Worldwide Services

Australia last month became the first government to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content. The government gave the companies three months to negotiate terms.

Now an open letter from Google clearly aims to make Australian content creators and artists aware of a proposed new law, known as the News Media Bargaining Code, that could have a significant and negative impact on the continent.

The letter highlights concerns that traditional news and its publishers are prioritized over smaller creators of content and the platforms where they find an audience, even when that audience is worldwide.

"Under this law, Google has to tell news media businesses 'how they can gain access' to data about your use of our products," wrote Mel Silva, managing director, on behalf of Google Australia. "There’s no way of knowing if any data handed over would be protected, or how it might be used by news media businesses."

Australia's antitrust regulator accused Google of misinformation after the company warned that a new law could allow for the sharing of user data.

In July, Reuters reported that if Google and other platforms could not agree with the Australian media businesses on pricing after three months, the government would appoint arbitrators, per the proposal.

Google stated that the company is particularly concerned that it provides unfair advantages to large news businesses over anyone else online, including the very creators that make and create the content available on YouTube. 

Silva wrote in a post that the company believes in the importance of news to society and that it has been partnering closely with Australian news media businesses, already paying them millions of dollars and sending them billions of free clicks annually.

"We’ve offered to pay more to license content," she wrote. "But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is set up to give special treatment to big media companies and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk."

Under the new laws: 

  • YouTube may be obligated to give large news publishers confidential information about its systems they could use to try to appear higher in rankings on YouTube, disadvantaging all other creators. This would mean creators could receive fewer views and earn less.
  • It will create an uneven playing field when it comes to who makes money on YouTube. Through the YouTube Partner Program, YouTube already shares revenue with partners who monetize on YouTube, including news publishers. Through this law, big news businesses can demand large amounts of money above and beyond what they earn on the platform, leaving fewer funds to invest for creators and in the programs to help develop a worldwide audience.
  • Under this law, big news businesses can seek access to data about viewers’ use its products. YouTube believes user data protection is paramount and the company should not be required to hand over this data.


1 comment about "Google Warns Australians Of Losing Free Search, Disrupting YouTube And Affecting Worldwide Services".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, August 17, 2020 at 6:34 p.m.

    Well let's do a deal then.

    How about all advertising booked here in Australia be invoiced from an Australian entity rather than from an overseas tax-haven entity.   A much simpler, elegant and fairer solution.

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