Sims Pans Google’s Warning On Payments To Aussie News Outfits

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CANBERRA: Consumer watchdog Rod Sims has dismissed as “mis-information’’ warnings by Google that proposed laws that would force the US-owned giant to negotiate a payment to Australian news organisations and include their journalists’ work on its services would lead to a “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube’’.

The company has begun bombarding Australian Google users with a pop-up notification whenever they do a Google search, saying “the way Aussies use Google is at risk”.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims this week hit back at claims by Google that it would be required to charge Australians for the use of its services, and share their data with news companies, under the new laws. He said it was up to Google whether it started charging for its services, which include Google Search and YouTube.

“The draft code will allow Australian news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists’ work that is included on Google services. “This will address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook,” Sims told The Australian.

“A healthy news media sector is essential to a well-functioning democracy. We will continue to consult on a draft code with interested parties, including Google.”

This week’s letter, from Google MD Mel Silva and addressed to all, foreshadows that news companies would make “enormous and unreasonable demands” that would put the future of Google Search and YouTube at risk.

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