News Media Bargaining Code Hub
JNI’s News Media Bargaining Code Hub is the place to find expert analysis from journalists, publishers and regulators about Australia’s world-leading legislation compelling tech giants to pay for news. You will also find updates on efforts to implement Australian-style regulations in other jurisdictions.
Google tells UK parliament ‘nobody knows how Australian law works’
June 28, 2022
Representatives from Google and Meta fronted a UK parliamentary inquiry examining the effects social media has had on local journalism, on June 28.
When asked what lessons Britain should draw from Australia’s news media bargaining code, Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Tom Morrison-Bell, said: “nobody has been designated under the code in Australia yet; the code has not come into force and nobody knows how that law works.”
Mr Morrison-Bell also said: “The Australian Government recognised that the deals — the Google News Showcase licensing deal that we struck — were an appropriate way forward in Australia.”
He said Google had been proactive in the UK, signing licensing deals with more than 20 publishers covering more than 250 publications, rather than waiting for legislation to compel action.
Meta’s Head of News Partner Development John Severinson said Australian news outlets had used the money they received to pay down debt.
“I think one of the learnings from the Australian arrangement is that it does not solve or attempt to solve the underlying issue, in that the business models of journalism online are broken and need to transition to a new reality,” he said.
“We can see that in the case of the agreements we have closed with publishers in Australia … some of the publishers have used the money instead to pay down debt or distributed it among shareholders.
“That does not incentivise collaboration, which we think smart regulations should do. They should incentivise collaboration and innovation between publishers and tech platforms.”
Former ACCC chair Rod Sims says Facebook should be forced to negotiate with publishers under bargaining code
May 23, 2022
Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims AO has recommended that Facebook (Meta) be officially “designated” under the code, which would force the social media giant into binding arbitration with media companies.
Mr Sims’s report was written for the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, which also published Columbia University Professor Bill Grueskin’s authoritative critique of the code for international audiences.
Mr Sims has written this report to assist international regulators and legislators looking to implement similar legislation in other jurisdictions, but also in light of the current Treasury review into the code.
The report delves into criticisms of the code, explaining and defending how and why the world-leading regime came to be and what other countries can learn from the Australian experience.
This is particularly key as countries including Canada, France, the UK, US and Brazil are looking at following Australia’s lead. Mr Sims is heading to the UK in the next few weeks to speak to lawmakers, regulators and media about the code.
New Zealand eyes bargain with platforms
May 24, 2022
New Zealand’s News Publishers’ Association have launched a collective bargaining initiative to compel Google and Facebook to pay for Kiwi journalism.
“Google and Facebook have built businesses of unimaginable scale and power, using journalism paid for by others while dominating the digital advertising market,” said NPA general manager Brook Cameron.
“We are seeking an outcome that allows independent New Zealand news publishers to keep investing in great journalism because a thriving Kiwi media sector is critical to a healthy democracy.”
The association has also hired former Australian media executives Chris Janz and David Eisman to help negotiate the deals.
Brazilian government siding with tech giants
May 17, 2022
Poynter reports Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, with the support of Google and Facebook, has blocked a bill that would establish payments for news content
“The Australian media bargaining code, enacted in February last year, is the inspiration for the Brazilian legislation that was killed by Bolsonaro and Big Tech,” wrote reporter Patricia Campos Mello.
Google signs deals with hundreds of EU publishers
May 11, 2022
Google has signed deals to pay more than 300 publishers in Germany, France and four other European countries for their news, Reuters reports.
“Two-thirds of this group are German publishers, including Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” Reuters said.
Canada reveals its Australia-style bargaining code
April 6, 2022
Canada’s government has introduced a bill to bring an Australian-style news media bargaining code into law, which the government says:
- ensures fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news outlets
- provides for collective bargaining by news outlets
- promotes voluntary commercial agreements between digital platforms and news outlets, with minimal government intervention
- as a last resort, establishes a mandatory arbitration framework where digital platforms and news outlets cannot reach commercial agreements
Unlike the Australian code, the Canadian bill would hand the job of designating publishers and platforms to the telecoms commission.
Google has hit back at Canada’s government, claiming the Act would “break” Google’s search engine.
Millions of dollars for news, shrouded in mysterious deals
March 10, 2022
JNI’s first Alan Moorehead Journalist-in-Residence, Bill Grueskin, used a six-week stint at the Institute to explore the impact of the News Media Bargaining Code in its first year of operation.
Bill, a professor at Columbia University in New York, spoke to dozens of the central players and those affected by code to learn more about its implications here and around the world. He also examined the deals made between media organisations — both large and small — and technology giants Google and Facebook.
While the code may be seen as a success story to those who’ve long yearned to force big tech to support suffering newsrooms, Bill found it a murky deal, “with details guarded like they’re the launch codes for nuclear missiles”.