Google responds to Microsoft’s call for the US to implement Media Code laws

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• “The issue isn’t whether companies pay to support quality content; the issue is how”

Tech giant Google has released a statement responding to a blog post by Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, calling for the US to follow in Australia’s footsteps by implementing a similar law to our proposed Media Code, and criticising Google for their threat to leave Australia if the laws passed.

“Microsoft’s take on Australia’s proposed law is unsurprising — of course they’d be eager to impose an unworkable levy on a rival and increase their market share,” says Google.

“But in its eagerness, Microsoft makes numerous claims that have been thoroughly and independently debunked.

“We have long been committed to supporting high-quality content on the web. Our issue is absolutely not with paying news organizations — we’ve done this for many years. Today Google News Showcase is paying publishers, and supporting local journalism, in Australia and over a dozen countries. Through these partnerships, we are paying significant amounts to support news organizations large and small — with more to come.”

Google News Showcase, which was launched in Australia earlier this month, has been Google’s proposed solution to operate under amended Media Code laws. Through News Showcase, Google will pay participating news organisations to give its users access to some paywalled articles. Users will still need to subscribe directly to the news organisations in order to access all of an outlet’s content. 

The statement continues: 

“We and others have pointed to significant concerns with the proposed Australian law, while proposing reasonable amendments to make it work. The issue isn’t whether companies pay to support quality content; the issue is how. The law would unfairly require unknown payments for simply showing links to news businesses, while giving, to a favored few, special previews of search ranking. Those aren’t workable solutions and would fundamentally change the Internet, hurting the people and businesses who use it.”

The full statement can be read here.

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