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Australia’s political opposition has said it supports Facebook and Google’s legislation

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The political opposition in Australia will support the proposed legislation, which will force Google and Facebook of Alphabet to pay publishers and TV operators for content, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The prospects for the bill, which the US tech giants are vehemently opposed, are widely seen around the world, as other countries are expected to follow suit if Australia succeeds.

Lawmakers from Australia’s center-left Labor party approved the bill at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, according to sources who were not authorized to speak to the media on the issue and declined to be identified.

She needs the support of the opposition as prime minister Scott Morrison the ruling Liberal Party has no majority in the country’s upper house. The bill is expected to be submitted to parliament this week.

Representatives for Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Google called the law “non-working” and threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia. Both companies have been lobbying hard to ease the law, with senior executives in talks with Morrison and Treasurer Josh Friedenberg.

Google has requested a series of changes, most notably with its new platform, Showcase, covered by legislation rather than search results.

This week became the Australian Seven West Media the first in the country breaking news about a licensing deal with Google.

It thus separated itself from competitors News Corp and Nine Entertainment, which failed to reach agreements with Google, and instead supported legislation requiring an arbitrator to set content fees in the absence of a private transaction.

Outside Australia, Google and a French publisher lobbying group agreed in January to create a copyright framework for the technology company to pay publishers for news on online content.

Last month, Reuters said it had signed a deal with Google to be the first global news provider on the Google News Showcase. Reuters is owned by news and information provider Thomson Reuters.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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