Australian regulation is hailed as ‘a giant win for the information enterprise’ with ramifications around the globe
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Watching Thursday’s news from Australia while it’s still Wednesday in the US always feels like a time machine trick. And on that occasion, Thursday’s news can really get a glimpse of the future for the rest of the world. Here is Laura Jayes’ breaking news report on the Sky News Australia channel from Murdoch Thursday morning: “The Morrison government’s News Media Bargaining Code has just become law after it was recently passed unanimously in Parliament. It comes after the government signs a contract with Facebook in the eleventh hour. “
It’s a significant opportunity for both the news and technology industries. As CNN’s Chandler Thornton reports, the Australian law will “force tech companies to pay publishers for news content, creating the conditions for potential similar action in other countries.”
Now this is the big story: what will other countries do when?
“A regulatory domino effect is already underway and publishers are pressuring the European Union to emulate the Australian approach,” wrote Vlad Savov of the Sydney Morning Herald.
That goes for North America too: Steven Guilbeault, a Canadian official who joined me on CNN’s Reliable Sources last weekend, tweeted that “Numbers are strong” after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Had made a call regarding this subject.
Guilbeault and other politicians swear that the Australian code of negotiation is just the beginning.
On Wednesday evening in the US, I got in touch with David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, who represents publishers in the 50 states. “We are very pleased with the adoption of the negotiating code and believe it is a real turning point in building a sustainable future for digital journalism,” he said.
“The platforms have to negotiate value with the publishers, and the system is ultimately backed up through arbitration,” continued Chavern. “If you don’t see this as a big win for the news business, you’re not paying attention. We’re going to bring the fight back to the US now. “
Facebook’s billion dollar budget for news
As you will recall, as Thornton wrote, Facebook shut down news sites last week in Australia to crack down on the legislation. But it restored them earlier this week after the country made some changes to the code. “On Wednesday night, an FB spokesman told me,” We’ll start restoring news content before the weekend. “
In the run-up to the parliamentary vote, Facebook manager Nick Clegg posted a blog post showcasing the company’s POV, saying there was “a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Facebook and news publishers”.
I read his blog post to reset the public conversation about platforms and news. “Facebook is more than willing to partner with news publishers,” he said, announcing a plan to “pay at least $ 1 billion more” to the news industry “over the next three years.”
Nick Statt of The Verge wrote, “The commitment matches Google’s commitment in October last year when the search giant announced that it would pay publishers to create special versions of stories and other forms of news content for its Google News Showcase platform to create.”
A big round number sounds impressive, but to the extent that publishers can now negotiate real value with platforms, a billion dollars in the next three years may just be a starting point …
For the record
– Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, of Canberra’s view: “This legislation will help level the playing field and pay Australian news media companies to produce original content.” (Twitter)
– Digital Content The next CEO Jason Kint says: “Mark Zuckerberg has finally lost something. Bad. No matter how Campbell Brown, Nick Clegg and friends try to turn it. “(Twitter)
– USA Today publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth quoted in the WSJ: “We are at a turning point. Finally, the value of credible journalism is being recognized much more. “(WSJ)
– Caithlin Mercer spoke to Sinead Boucher, “CEO of New Zealand’s Biggest News Site” Stuff, who left Facebook seven months ago. Post-FB: “Traffic is fine and confidence is higher.” (Reuters Institute)
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