Among all the epidemics and crazy world “leaders” being deposed, you could be forgiven for having missed the news that Google is currently swinging its proverbial wang around, trying to bully the Australian government.
If you’re not aware, the tl;dr version is this; Last year the Aussie government passed a law that would require major online news vendors — in particular news sites and aggregators — to pay a fee for linking to stories posted on sites from Australian media companies, although not for the content itself. Any site not following the new rule would incur millions in fines. Google baulked at this and said that they would refuse to pay any such fee and instead would leave Australia, making their search engine unavailable Down Under.
Facebook is also included in this law, but so far they haven’t spat the dummy like Google has.
If you’d like a really great explanation of all this, check out this brilliant podcast from Trevor Long.
Why Would Australia Make Such A Rule?
The Australian media industry, in particular its more traditional mediums such as newspapers and news television programs, has always held itself to the highest standard. You know when you watch a film about a reporter fighting the fight so the truth can be revealed, saying “stuff you” to anyone who tries to stop them? That is how the Australian media, rightly or wrongly, sees itself. The point is, Australian news media, particularly newspapers, have always been a very, very important part of the Australian culture and identity.
It’s no secret that since the major adopting of the internet print media has suffered greatly. Yes, publications can move online, but that still hasn’t really helped the situation news outlets find themselves in. The idea behind the law is to help news publications earn some money back from Google through advertising income the search engine earns by linking to these articles.
Google and Facebook take AU81c from ever $AU1 of digital advertising, leaving only AU19c for the creators of that journalism. — Chris Janz,
Chief Digital and Publishing Officer at Nine
Basically, the Australian government want Australian news outlets to get a fair share of the profits…