The Government has introduced into Parliament the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020.
This is the Bill to enact legislation to make Google and Facebook pay the news media owners for “use” of their news.
For some commentary on the earlier exposure draft, see here.
There have been some notable changes. These include:
- When setting the amount of the payment, there will now be a requirement that the value the media organisation receives from having its material “used” by Facebook or Google, as the case may be, is taken into account: see proposed section 52ZZ;
- The public broadcasters, the ABC and the SBS, reportedly will be able to negotiate for payment whereas previously they were excluded;
- Opinion pieces, not just “news”, may qualify as material the “use” of which must be paid for, not just “news” written by journalists: s 52A
The Channel 9 newspaper reports that the retiring MD of Channel 9 is spitting chips over the inclusion in the value calculus of the benefit the news organisation receives from Facebook’s, or Google’s, “use”.
It still remains far from clear what, if any, rights of the news publishers are actually being “used” and for which payment will be required. What impact, if any, will the definition of “making content available” as including “a link to the content is provided on the service” have on the scope of the communication right conferred by copyright? Similarly, will the inclusion within that definition of “an extract of the content is provided on the service” affect the interpretation of what is, or is not, a fair dealing?
There is a little peep behind the curtain into the sausage making process here.
Meanwhile, media reports indicate the bill will be referred to a Senate committee for inquiry.