Top tech giants including Google (GOOG) have been in a battle with the Australian government, which wants to pass laws that will allow it to appoint an arbitrator to set Google’s content fees if it can’t strike a deal privately with media firms.
The country’s parliament is looking to introduce draft laws to force digital giants to pay for news.
Google has described the legislation as “unworkable” and even threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia.
What is the latest update?
Media companies in Australia are signing deals with Google that are reportedly a lot more lucrative for them than the ones the search giant has with firms in other nations.
Top media companies including Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment are making the most of the situation and lining up to sign deals with Google.
Both have struck deals that will allow them to feature their news in Google products.
The deals are collectively worth A$60m (£34m, $47m) a year, based on media reports, although the companies did not disclose financial details.
The $76m Google will split between 121 publishers in France over three years, as reported by Reuters, pales in comparison.
A smaller media company, Junkee Media, has also signed a letter of intent to curate news content for Google’s News Showcase product.
The deals are said to have been made under Google’s model, News Showcase, launched in October.
It describes this as a product that benefits both publishers and readers: “It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences.”
Google has reached pay deals with some 450 publications globally through this model.
Why is Google doing this?
The agreements with Australian firms will mean Google does not need a government-appointed arbitrator with them. However, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg still intends to press ahead with the law.
What does the Australian government want?
Media companies have argued that Google makes money from news and analysis that they provide and so they should be compensated and the government wants to protect them.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission held an 18-month inquiry and proposed a "bargaining code" to ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated.
“None of these deals would be happening if we didn’t have the legislation before the Parliament,” Frydenberg told reporters recently.
“There are negotiations going on with all the major players and the minor players at the moment... This will help sustain public interest journalism in this country for years to come," he added.
Meanwhile Facebook (FB) has also said it will stop Australians from sharing news if it was forced to pay for news.