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EU May Follow Australia On Making Big Tech Pay For News

 |  February 9, 2021

EU lawmakers overseeing new digital regulation in Europe want to force Big Tech companies to pay for news, echoing a similar move in Australia and strengthening the hand of publishers against Google and Facebook, reported The Financial Times.

The initiative from members of the European parliament would be a serious blow to Google, which has threatened to leave Australia in protest at a planned new law that would compel it to pay for news.

Facebook has also warned it will stop users in Australia from sharing news if the legislation is passed in its current form.

European parliament members working on two landmark draft European digital regulations, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), told the Financial Times the laws could be amended as they pass through theEU parliament to include aspects of the Australian reforms.

These include the option of binding arbitration for licensing agreements and requiring tech companies to inform publishers about changes to how they rank news stories on their sites.

“We will never accept this situation when somebody is using content . . . and authors are not remunerated at all” said Andrus Ansip, MEP and former commissioner.

Alex Saliba, a Maltese MEP who led the parliament’s first report on the DSA, said the Australian approach to Google and Facebook had managed to address “the acute bargaining power imbalances” with publishers.

“With their dominant market position in search, social media and advertising, large digital platforms create power imbalances and benefit significantly from news content,” he said. “I think it is only fair that they pay back a fair amount.”