Lawstreet Journal

Facebook rejects talks with Australian publisher, may test online law

Lawstreet Journal 29 Jun 2021 11:27pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Business Facebook rejects talks with Australian publisher, may test online law

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating a claim that Facebook refused a publisher’s request to negotiate a licensing deal, setting the stage for the first test of the world’s toughest online content law.

The Conversation, an Australian media outlet, had asked Facebook to begin talks as required under the new Australian legislation that requires the social media firm and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Inc’s Google to negotiate content supply deals with media outlets.

Facebook declined to conduct any such talks, even though the publisher was among the first in Australia to secure a similar deal with Google.

This defiance could pave the way for the first test of a controversial mechanism unique to Australia, in an attempt to recover advertising dollars from Google and Facebook. 

“If Google’s done a deal with them, I can’t see how Facebook should argue that they shouldn’t”, Rod Sims, the chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in an interview. 

If Google and Facebook refuse to negotiate license fees with publishers, a government-appointed arbitrator may step in.

“The question of designation might need to come into play”, Sims noted, using the term for assigning an arbitrator. 

Editor of The Conversation Misha Ketchell said that “obviously we are disappointed that we haven’t been able to engage in negotiations with Facebook so far, but we remain optimistic that we will be able to reach an agreement”.

Andrew Hunter, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, said the company was focused on concluding commercial deals with… Continue Reading...

Tagged: Facebook  
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