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Google Claims Australia’s Paid News Proposal Puts Free Services Like News, YouTube ‘At Risk’

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Google says an Australian proposal to make tech giants pay news publishers for their content would put its free services in danger there.

The Silicon Valley titan lashed out at the proposed “News Media Bargaining Code” in a Monday open letter, saying it could give large media businesses an “unfair advantage” in Google’s signature search engine and its YouTube video platform.

“The law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk,” Mel Silva, a Google Australia managing director, wrote in the letter.

Google says it already partners with Australian news media by paying them millions of dollars and sending billions of clicks each year.

“But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk,” the letter states.

Australia introduced a draft of the News Media Bargaining Code last month. The regulation would require digital platforms, initially Google and Facebook, to negotiate with media outlets and pay for news content that appears on their services. The draft law also states that Google would need to give media outlets notice of changes to its algorithms that could impact items like referral traffic or search ranking.

The ACCC said discussions about the draft will take place until August 28, with a final version coming “shortly after.”

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