News media bargaining code gets tune up | Ralph-Lauren

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A world-first code setting a framework for the likes of Google and Facebook to fairly pay for Australian news content is edging closer to passing into law.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday will bring to parliament amendments to the bill, introduced in December, following his talks with the big digital platforms.

The platforms are encouraged to do deals outside the code, but if commercial agreements can’t be reached the code will act as a safety net.

A panel – decided by the negotiating parties or the media watchdog – would hear both offers and make a decision.

Among the amendments to the bill will be clarification the tech giants are expected to pay news organisations a lump sump rather than for every time an internet user clicks on a link.

Google had threatened to pull its search engine from Australia if it had to pay news companies for every link it shares of their articles.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission boss Rod Sims had said that was never the intention and the bill will now make that clear.

Mr Frydenberg says the amendments also streamline requirements for digital platforms to give advanced notice of algorithm changes.

“(They) will enhance the way it operates and strengthen its ability to foster more sustainable public interest journalism in Australia,” he said.

Labor on Tuesday resolved to support the code, guaranteeing its passage through the Senate.

Seven West Media is the latest media organisation to secure a deal providing content to Google News Showcase, which launched in Australia earlier this month.

Deals had already been struck with smaller publishers including Australian Community Media, InDaily, Solstice and Private Media.

The Showcase feature allows users to read articles on a Google app for free that would otherwise be behind paywalls.

The code will be reviewed by Treasury within a year of its start.

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