LONDON () – Microsoft has teamed up with European publishers to push for a system to make big technology platforms pay for news, increasing Australia’s battle in battle to get Google and Facebook to pay for journalism.
Seattle’s technology giant and four large intelligence groups in the European Union on Monday unveiled their plan to work together to “order payments” using online intelligence content from “gatekeepers.”
They said they were “inspired” by proposed legislation in Australia that will force technology platforms to share revenue with intelligence companies and that include an arbitration system to resolve disputes over the fair price of news.
Facebook last week blocked Australians from accessing and sharing messages on its platform in response to government proposals, but a surprising move sparked great public opposition and intensified the debate about the power of the social network. Google, meanwhile, has taken a different direction by restricting payment agreements with intelligence organizations after withdrawing from its original threat and shutting down its search engine for Australians.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has expressed support for Australia, the latest sign that Facebook’s move has failed.
“I think it is very unfortunate that the platform is taking such decisions in protest of the country’s laws,” Breton told EU lawmakers. “It is up to the platforms to follow regulators, not the other way around,” he said, adding that what is happening in Australia is “emphasizing an approach that needs to change.” Breton is conducting a major overhaul of digital regulations in the EU aimed at curbing the power of large technology companies, thanks to growing fears that their algorithms are undermining democracy.
Microsoft is joining forces with two lobby groups, the European Publishers Council and News Media Europe, along with two groups representing European publishers of newspapers and magazines, representing thousands of titles. The company has expressed support for Australian plans that could help increase the market share of its Bing search engine.
European Union countries are working to adopt revised copyright rules set by the EU executive by June, which will allow news companies and publishers to negotiate payments from digital platforms for online use of their content.
However, there are concerns about the imbalance of bargaining power between the two parties and the group called for new measures to be added to the forthcoming overhaul of digital legislation to address the problem.
Publishers “may not have the economic power to negotiate fair and balanced agreements with these technology companies that might otherwise risk leaving or leaving the markets,” the group said in a joint statement. Google and Facebook opposed the arbitrage because it would give them less control over payment conversations.
Facebook did not respond to the request for comment. Google has said it has already signed hundreds of partnerships with news publishers across Europe, making it one of the largest providers of journalistic services, and noted on Twitter that it works with publishers and policy makers across the EU as member states adopt copyright rules legislation.
Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.
All technology coverage can be found at https://news.com/f-technology
Follow Kelvin Chan at www.twitter.com/chanman