Australia is pushing ahead with landmark legislation that will force tech giants to pay publishers for news, despite Google’s threat to pull out of the country.
The government will introduce new draft laws next week and they could come into effect this month.
If passed, the legislation would make Australia the first country to force Facebook and Google reimburse publishers for use of their content.
The crackdown, which has bipartisan support, comes despite Google’s threat that it could withdraw its search engine if the laws are pushed through.
Facebook has warned it may block users in Australia from sharing news if the laws are passed.
The row has sparked a race among competitors vying to fill the whole left by Google if it chooses to pull out of the country.
Microsoft has said it is confident its Bing search engine could fill the gap in Australia.
Google said it had proposed amendments to a Senate enquiry, but they had been rejected. However, the company said it still hoped to discuss the law with MPs.
“We look forward to engaging with policymakers through the parliamentary process to address our concerns and achieve a code that works for everyone — publishers, digital platforms, and Australian businesses and users,” Lucinda Longcroft, director of government affairs and public policy for Google in Australia, told Reuters.
Google and Facebook have begun striking licensing deals with publishers in a bid to stave off looming legislation.
But MEPs last week hinted that the EU could expand its upcoming tech laws to include measures that would force platforms to pay for news.