- As we are all aware, the Australian government is at the forefront of seeking fair play from internet giants like Google and Facebook to pay for news content that it facilitates over digital platforms. Pressing ahead with the same, Canberra has introduced its News Media Bargaining Code making the mentioned technology behemoths pay for news content. This was followed by an announcement by the Australian government that it would amend the draft law after its ministers held discussions with Facebook CEO and Google’s CEO, respectively so that publishers would be paid lump sums rather than per click on news articles which was proposed by these honchos.
- As reports emerging on the matter suggest, the overall integrity of the draft law remains intact. This should be construed as an extremely inevitable move deserving a close look and implementation across the boundaries. The Australian government-initiated move will create a helpful template of sorts for revenue sharing between online platforms and news publishers which has been a contentious issue for a long time. There were red flags raised by many countries on the vexatious issue but hardly anybody went ahead to see a logical conclusion. Now that the matter finds palpable traction in sight, many more would join the bandwagon in the coming days.
- Delving deep into the matter on hand would reveal that Google and Facebook corner a mammoth share of online advertisement revenues, leaving next to nothing for media outlets on whose content they piggyback on for the content produced. The specious argument put forth by the internet companies that they enable additional traffic for news websites fails to cut any ice with the industry or comprehending lot. It is not rocket science to realize the massive scale of these entities greatly monetizes online traffic to their advantage leaving little for the media houses. Thus, the case for revenue sharing kept gaining traction all these years.
PC: Angie Fisher
- Note that the media houses absorb all that goes into painstakingly curating, verifying, and publishing news through a huge network of experienced reporters and editors alongside associated journalistic infrastructural paraphernalia, unlike internet entities. Needless to mention, it is not only patently unfair but also defeats the ethical standards propagated to run any competitive industry. Of course, companies in question did not fall in place overnight but mix of considerable persuasion and blunt-talking to secure royalties from online platforms.
- France, for example, adopting the 2019 EU copyright rules precisely ensured agreement with technology firms to pay for news content. The world has witnessed how critical it is to fighting misinformation and rumor-mongering in a challenging situation as seen during the pandemic. Synergy can be achieved only if internet platforms and news publishers work together and support each other. Therefore, it makes immense sense for India to follow in the footsteps of Australia and France that mandates revenue sharing between digital platforms and news publishers.