Australian billionaire to help publishers with Google, Facebook deal.
Sydney: The philanthropic organization of Australian billionaire miner Andrew Forrest will help 18 small news publishers across the country collectively bargain with Google and Facebook to secure licensing agreements for the provision of news content.
Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation said Monday it would submit a request to the country’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC), which will allow publishers to negotiate without violating competition laws.
Forrest, the richest man in Australia, is the president and the largest shareholder of the iron miner Fortescue Metals Group. He has a net worth of around AU $ 27.2 billion ($ 19.7 billion), according to the Australian Financial Review.
Since March, Alphabet Inc’s Facebook and Google have been required to negotiate content that drives traffic and advertising to their websites with Australian media. If they don’t, the government can take over the bargaining.
Since then, both companies have entered into licensing agreements with most of Australia’s major media companies, but have not entered into agreements with many small companies. The federal government is scheduled to begin a review of the effectiveness of the law in March.
Frontier Technology, a Minderoo initiative, said it would help publishers.
“Small Australian publishers producing journalism in the public interest for their communities should have the same opportunity as large publishers to negotiate the use of their content for public benefit,” Emma McDonald, Frontier Technology’s policy director, said in a statement.
A Google spokesperson responded to the initiative by forwarding an earlier statement that said: “conversations with publishers of all sizes continue.” Facebook said it “has long supported smaller independent publishers.”
The 18 small publishers include online publications that appeal to multicultural audiences and focus on issues at the local or regional level, McDonald said.
The move comes after the ACCC late last month allowed a body representing 261 radio stations to negotiate a content agreement.
News organizations, which have been losing ad revenue to online aggregators, have complained for years that big tech companies use content in search results or other functions without payment.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by OkeyNews staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)