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Microsoft, EU Publishers Seek Australia-Style News Payments

Microsoft is teaming up with European publishers to push for a system to make huge tech platforms pay for information, elevating the stakes within the brewing battle led by Australia to get Google and Facebook to pay for journalism.

The Seattle tech large and 4 huge European Union information business teams unveiled their plan Monday to work collectively on an answer to “mandate payments” for use of news content from online “gatekeepers with dominant market power.”

They mentioned they may “take inspiration” from proposed legislation in Australia to force tech platforms to share revenue with news companies and which includes an arbitration system to resolve disputes over a fair price for news.

Facebook last week blocked Australians from accessing and sharing news on its platform, in response to the government’s proposals, but the surprise move sparked a big public backlash and intensified the debate over how much power the social network has. Google, meanwhile, has taken a different tack by cutting payment deals with news organisations, after backing down from its initial threat to shut off its search engine for Australians.

The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expressed support for Australia, in the latest sign Facebook’s move has backfired.

“I think it’s very regrettable that a platform takes such decisions to protest against a country’s laws,” Breton told EU lawmakers. “It’s up to the platforms to adapt to regulators, not the other way around,” he said, adding that what’s happening in Australia “highlights an attitude that must change.” Breton is main the EU’s sweeping overhaul of digital laws geared toward taming the ability of the large tech firms, amid rising considerations their algorithms are eroding democracy.

Microsoft is becoming a member of forces with two lobbying teams, the European Publishers Council and News Media Europe, together with two teams representing European newspaper and journal publishers, which account for hundreds of titles. The firm has expressed help for Australia’s plans, which may assist improve market share of its Bing search engine.

European Union international locations are engaged on adopting by June revamped copyright guidelines set out by the EU govt that enable information firms and publishers to barter funds from digital platforms for on-line use of their content material.

But there are worries about an imbalance of bargaining energy between the 2 sides and the group known as for brand new measures to be added to the upcoming overhaul of digital laws to handle the issue.

Publishers “might not have the economic strength to negotiate fair and balanced agreements with these gatekeeper tech companies, who might otherwise threaten to walk away from negotiations or exit markets entirely,” the group mentioned in a joint assertion. Google and Facebook have resisted arbitration as a result of it will give them much less management over fee talks.

Facebook didn’t reply to a request for remark. Google mentioned it already has signed lots of of partnerships with information publishers throughout Europe, making it one in all journalism’s largest funders and famous on Twitter that it is working with publishers and policymakers throughout the EU as member international locations undertake the copyright guidelines into nationwide laws.

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