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Home / World / Landmark Aussie tech bill nears final vote

Landmark Aussie tech bill nears final vote

Other countries including Canada and Britain express interest in taking some sort of similar action
“The bill as it stands ... meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s minister for finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

Reuters   |   Canberra   |   Published 23.02.21, 02:13 AM

Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

 Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent. Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

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 Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

 Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands ... meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s minister for finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

 The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

 The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets.



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