Hong Kong (CNN Business) – Australia passed a new law that would force technology companies to pay publishers for news content, paving the way for similar potential actions in other countries.
Australian Treasury Secretary Josh Freidenberg said in a statement that the new law, which was approved by the Australian Parliament Thursday, “will ensure that news media companies are paid a fair fee for the content they create.”
The new law, unprecedented in the country, has been the subject of heated debate in recent months. Facebook and Google opposed the initial version of the legislation, which would have allowed the media to negotiate either individually or collectively with them – and enter into binding arbitration if the parties could not reach an agreement.
Facebook shut down news pages in Australia last week in protest against the legislation, but returned them earlier this week after the country made some changes to the legislation, including a provision that “must take into account whether the digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of The Australian news industry by reaching trade agreements with the business news media.
Meanwhile, arbitration will now only be used as a “last resort” after the “good faith” mediation period.
And Facebook said after those reviews that the new agreement would allow it “to support the publishers we choose.” She later revealed a deal with the major Australian news company (Seven West Media).
Meanwhile, Google has already been trying to move forward with the new legislation by announcing partnerships with media organizations in Australia, including Seven and Robert Murdoch’s News Corp.
The Australian government said the Treasury would review the law after one year “to ensure that it delivers results consistent with the intent of government policy.”