Google ‘could launch a news website in Australia within weeks in bid to dodge new laws forcing them to pay for content’

 Google is reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia within weeks, according to a local media outlet contracted to provide articles for the venture, as the search giant fights world-first proposed laws on content payments.

The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google's latest tactic in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government's planned legislation to make the company pay local news providers for content that appears in its search engine.  

Misha Ketchell, editor of the academic-penned news site The Conversation, said on Wednesday he was approached by Google 'to resume discussions about launching the News Showcase product as soon as possible, potentially in February. We are working with them on this.'

With its own news website, Google could be able to run its own content deals and create a framework that will allow organisations to negotiate individual licensing agreements, negating the need for the government legislation.

Australia's initiative has been closely watched around the globe, as news media worldwide suffer in an increasingly digital economy where big tech firms overwhelmingly capture advertising revenue. 

The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google's latest tactic in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government's planned legislation to make the company pay local news providers for content that appears in its search engine

The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google's latest tactic in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government's planned legislation to make the company pay local news providers for content that appears in its search engine

Google had announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with six small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content. It subsequently delayed the launch, citing regulatory conditions, when Australia's competition regulator published a draft copy of the proposed media bargaining code.

The decision to push ahead with the launch was an apparent show of Google's willingness to run its own content deals, negating the need for government-mandated legislation.


A spokesman for Alphabet Inc owned Google in Australia declined to comment on Wednesday. Two other local publishers confirmed they had content details in place for the new site, without discussing recent talks.

Google Australia Chief Executive Mel Silva told a parliamentary hearing last week the company would pull its flagship search tool from Australia if the laws, the first of their kind in the world, went ahead.

Google had announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with six small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content. It subsequently delayed the launch

Google had announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with six small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content. It subsequently delayed the launch

Under the planned laws, Google and social media behemoth Facebook Inc must negotiate binding commercial contracts with Australian outlets whose content drives traffic to their platforms. If they can't strike a deal, the government will appoint an arbitrator to do it for them.

Google has argued that the legislation, which is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry but expected to be passed into law soon, is unworkable.

'If Google can demonstrate that it can reach agreement with some publishers then its aim is to show that that commercial arrangements can be made in the absence of some kind of legislative intervention,' said Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney's Centre for Media Transition.

'The question is whether those arrangements are suitable for all publishers. The kind of arrangements that Google can propose will suit some publishers, but not others.'

Google ‘could launch a news website in Australia within weeks in bid to dodge new laws forcing them to pay for content’ Google ‘could launch a news website in Australia within weeks in bid to dodge new laws forcing them to pay for content’ Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:21 Rating: 5

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