According to the Treasury report, media outlets have signed more than 30 deals to compensate them for news shared on platforms.
The first Australian law forcing Big Tech to pay for news is a success and Canberra should consider expanding it to social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter, a government report has found.
Canberra passed groundbreaking legislation last year requiring Google and Facebook to strike deals to compensate media outlets for news content on their platforms or have a government-appointed arbitrator decide how much to pay.
Reviewing the first year the bargaining code was in effect, the Australian Treasury Department said in a report released Thursday that media outlets had made more than 30 deals to compensate them for news shared on Google and Facebook.
“Based on the evidence available for review, at least some of these agreements have enabled news companies to hire additional journalists and make other valuable investments to support their operations,” the report said.
“While opinions on whether or not the Code will succeed will invariably differ, we believe it is reasonable to conclude that the Code has been a success thus far.”
While some review participants complained that the code caused “differences in resources” between media outlets with and without deals and that commercial agreements lacked transparency, the code was not intended to “redistribute resources across the news industry,” the report said.
The Treasury report recommended that the government ask the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to consider extending the code to other platforms, investigate new powers to collect information on deals between outlets and platforms, and mandate to a revision of the code after it has been introduced. operation for four years.
Australia introduced the code after complaints that tech companies were depriving struggling news organizations of valuable digital ad revenue, endangering public interest journalism.
Australia’s plans to make Big Tech pay for news were met with stiff opposition from Google and Facebook, which temporarily removed all news from their platform in the country until the government agreed to change the code.
Rob Nicholls, an expert in technical regulation at the UNSW Business School at the University of New South Wales, said the law was an important “safety net” for the country’s media industry.
“It is best if there is a commercial deal without regulatory involvement. However, regulation that only kicks in when there is no commercial deal is a reasonable model,” Nicholls told Al Jazeera.
“Canada has followed the same pattern. However, the very specific way industry codes work as part of Australia’s competition law means that expansion into other sectors will be limited.”