Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s philanthropic organization will help 18 small news publishers across the country collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook to secure licensing deals for the delivery of news content.
Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation on Monday announced it would submit a request to the country’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), allowing publishers to negotiate without breaking laws on competition.
Forrest, Australia’s richest man, is the chairman and largest shareholder of iron miner Fortescue Metals Group. He has a net worth of around A $ 27.2 billion ($ 19.7 billion), according to the Australian Financial Review.
Alphabet Inc’s Facebook and Google have been required since March to negotiate with Australian outlets for content that drives traffic and advertises to their websites. If they don’t, the government can resume bargaining.
The two companies have since entered into licensing deals with most of Australia’s major media companies, but they have not entered into deals with many smaller companies. The federal government is expected to begin a review of the law’s effectiveness in March.
Frontier Technology, an initiative of Minderoo, said it would help publishers.
“Small Australian publishers who produce public interest journalism for their communities should have the same opportunity as large publishers to negotiate the use of their content in the public interest,” said Emma McDonald, Policy Director at Frontier. Technology, in a press release.
A Google spokesperson responded to the initiative by returning an earlier statement saying “discussions are continuing with publishers of all sizes.” Facebook said it “has a long history of supporting small independent publishers.”
The 18 small publishers include online publications that attract a multicultural audience and focus on issues at the local or regional level, McDonald said.
The move comes after the ACCC authorized a body representing 261 radio stations late last month to negotiate a content deal.
News agencies, which have lost ad revenue to online aggregators, have complained for years that big tech companies are using content in search results or other features without payment.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)