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Google says to block search engine in Australia if forced to pay for news

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Google says to block search engine in Australia if forced to pay for news

By Renju Jose



FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo


SYDNEY (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for the right to use their content.


Google's threat escalates a battle with publishers such as News Corp that is being closely watched around the world. The search giant had warned that its 19 million Australian users would face degraded search and YouTube experiences if the new code were enforced.


Australia is on course to pass laws that would make tech giants negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds. If they cannot strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the price.


"Coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk if this version of the Code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia," Mel Silva, managing director for Australia and New Zealand, told a senate committee.


Silva made no mention of YouTube in prepared remarks, as the video service is expected to be exempted under revisions to the code last month.


Google's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said the country makes its rules for "things you can do in Australia."


"People who want to work with that in Australia, you're very welcome. But we don't respond to threats," Morrison told reporters.


At the inquiry, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims, who has overseen the new rules, said he could not predict what the tech giants would do but said "there's always brinkmanship in serious negotiations".


"They talk of commercial deals where they're in full control of the deal," he said. "In my view that's not a commercial deal."


Google has called the code overly broad and said that without revisions, offering even a limited search tool would be too risky.

The company does not disclose sales from Australia, but search ads are its biggest contributor to revenue and profit globally.


The United States government this week asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws, which have broad political support, and suggested Australia should pursue a voluntary code instead.


Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.


Google's threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers as part of three-year, $1.3-billion push to support publishers.


Google's testimony "is part of a pattern of threatening behaviour that is chilling for anyone who values our democracy," said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology.


(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Byron Kaye and Gerry Doyle)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-01-23
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Excellent news. Well done Australia. Threats by these arrogant, social media leeches should be met head on. There are  other search engines, and I would expect a few more to pop up now.

Take your Google and jam it where the the sun don't shine, Sunshine..................and while they're at it, they can jam Facebook and Twitter in the same orifice!    

If Oz hold their nerve other countries will follow

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Never heard of new search engines to just "pop up" especially with anything close to the content of goggle.

Anyway, good luck to Aus. Facebook has 2.7 billion users and Google over one billion.

Aus. users are a very very small part of their business doubt they will be missed much by these popular worldwide tech. giants. 

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18 minutes ago, natway09 said:

This discussion never came up when Murdoch's News Corp & his cronies Companies  basically had a stranglehold on the worlds media for how many years ?


You mean the people wanting Google to pay them now because their business model hasn't kept up with the times?


Bit of a difference comparing the challenges they faced in the "good old days" to now; didn't really have someone scraping their printed edition as soon as it hit the street then reprinting it basically instantly.

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Was the "banning" of the ABC from their search engine a commercial decision or a threat to the Oz government. I have no respect for the wimps running the government but I hope they grow some for this fight. They bowed to all of the lies from Pompeo so I will not hold my breath.

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