Google Australia boss Melanie Silva has claimed newly proposed laws to make the tech giant pay news outlets for use of content would “break” the search engine and change the experience for its users.
Ms Silva has rejected a final version of the federal government’s news media bargaining code, which was tabled in parliament last week, arguing it remains unworkable and fails to understand how the search engine operates.
“Unfortunately, while the Government has made some changes, the legislation still falls far short of a workable Code,” Ms Silva said in a blog post posted on Friday morning. “As the legislation goes to a Senate committee for inquiry, it has serious problems that need to be worked through.”
Under the proposed laws, if the tech giants cannot reach commercial agreements with news businesses within three months, the parties must enter a “final offer” arbitration process. A panel will be given the power to pick one of the parties’ respective offers for payment or find a more reasonable offer. The panel will take into account a range of factors including the value Google and Facebook given to news outlets through referral traffic. Inclusion of this value in arbitration was considered a major concession for the tech giants by the government.