Let publishers decide if news is shown on our platform: Google

As Australia finalises its News Media Bargaining Code, Google has said that the new code should let publishers decide whether their content can be found in Google Search or Google News, rather than imposing a system that forces Google to include snippets and links to news content, and to pay for that information to appear in search results.

Google has time and again slammed the draft News Media Bargaining Code again, saying it is unworkable and the company has raised concerns about its unfair payment conditions and unclear definitions and obligations.

The code would govern the relationship between news businesses and digital platforms.

“Over the past few months, we’ve made it clear that while we have serious concerns about the way the draft legislation is framed, we’re committed to working with the Government and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to get to a version of the Code that’s workable and fair for platforms, publishers and all Australians,” the company said on Sunday.

“The draft Code’s arbitration model looks only at one side of the exchange. This leaves news businesses free to make extreme claims without digital platforms being able to respond effectively, making an unfair outcome inevitable,” said Mel Silva, VP, Google Australia & New Zealand.

“No business, in Australia or around the world, could accept this kind of extreme and unreasonable set-up”.

The Code’s algorithm notification requirements have to reflect the way we operate Google Search, which includes thousands of updates every year.

“Requiring that Google gives publishers advance notice of every algorithm change is technically impossible — and even if it was achievable, it would give news businesses an unfair advantage over every other website owner, further undermining the open internet, and leaving users worse off,” Silva argued.

According to the Australian government, the draft code would allow news media businesses to bargain individually or collectively with Google and Facebook over payment for the inclusion of news on their services.

However, Google said that the highly unusual, largely untested, one-sided arbitration system in the proposed law will not allow fair negotiations and no business can operate with that level of uncertainty.

“We support a Code, but we cannot agree to one that doesn’t incorporate these fundamental elements. No responsible business would cross these red lines,” Google said.

The draft code proposes, in effect, a ‘must include, must pay’ system, something that’s extreme and unprecedented.

It essentially forces Google to provide a benefit to Australian news businesses and to pay them to receive that benefit.

A ‘must include’ regime is rare, Google had said earlier..

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