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

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In this news, we discuss the Google says to block search engine in Australia if forced to pay news

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday said 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 threat intensifies battle with publishers such as News Corp which is 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 implemented.

Australia is in the process of passing laws that would require tech giants to negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news nourishes. If they can’t 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 becomes law, it would give us no choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” said Mel Silva, Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. a Senate committee.

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

Google’s comments were strongly reprimanded by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said the country was setting its rules for “what you can do in Australia”.

“People who want to work with this in Australia, you are welcome. But we don’t respond to threats, ”Morrison told reporters.

During the investigation, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims, who oversaw the new rules, said he couldn’t predict what the tech giants would do, but declared that “there are always rules of the game in serious negotiations”.

“They are talking about trade deals in which they have full control over the deal,” he said. “In my opinion, this is not a trade deal.”

Google called the code too broad and said without revisions offering even a limited search tool would be too risky. The company does not disclose sales in Australia, but search ads are its main contributor to revenue and profits globally.

The US government this week called on Australia to remove the proposed laws, which have broad political support, and suggested Australia should adopt a voluntary code instead.

Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation revealed Google and the social media giant Facebook had too much market power in the media industry, a situation which she 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 struck a payment for content deal with the French. news publishers in a three-year, $ 1.3 billion campaign to support publishers.

Google’s testimony “is part of a pattern of threatening behavior that shivers down the spine for anyone who values ​​our democracy,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Center for Responsible at the Australian Institute. Technology.

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

Original © Thomson Reuters

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