For the last few months, Google has been at loggerheads with the Australian government over legislation called the News Media Bargaining Code, that would force the internet giant to pay news media outlets for content they produce that it links to.
Google has been pretty bullish in its stance against the bill, at one point threatening to pull out of Australia should the bill become law. Facebook too, has taken a dim view of the proposed legislation, and said it would block Australians from sharing news on its platform, should the bill become law.
The Australian government, for its part, has ploughed ahead anyway, with its the Economics Legislation Committee last Friday publishing its report recommending no changes to the regulations and that it be passed into law.
Did Google just blink?
In light of these developments, Google seems to have realised that the Australian authorities aren’t going to budge, and so has made some arrangements.
According to a report on CNET, Google has signed a deal worth over AU$30 million ($23 million) per year with Nine Entertainment. The deal was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, which is owned by Nine.
Nine Entertainment, incidentally, is one of Australia’s biggest media conglomerates and also one of the News Media Bargaining Code’s biggest supporters. It’s also the second entity Google has signed a multi-million dollar deal with; CNET reports Google inked a similar deal with another Australian media group, Seven West, a few days ago.
If the News Media Bargaining Code becomes law, media houses Down Under could stand to make quite a bit of money out of the likes of Google and Facebook. The tech giants, however, are probably more concerned about whether or not other countries will take a look at the bill and decide that they need similar legislation, which would be great for journalists and media owners, less so for Google and Facebook and their profit margins.