Google Australia is pitting YouTubers against traditional media in reaction to new draft news media bargaining code law.
Taking to the Google Australia blog earlier this week Gautam Anand, Head of YouTube APAC posted:
“I’m writing today to make you aware of a proposed new law, known as the News Media Bargaining Code, that could have a significant, negative impact on the creator ecosystem in Australia”.
Mr Anand said the new law would hit content creators hard in their pockets where they “could receive fewer views and earn less”. He emphasised that the law would “create an uneven playing field when it comes to who makes money on YouTube.”
Pitting social media influencers against mainstream media Mr Anand said the new law would result in big news businesses demanding large amounts of money above and beyond what they earn on YouTube. He warned this would leave fewer funds to invest in social media influencers, and the programmes to help these creators develop audiences in Australia and around the globe.
Mr Anand’s impassioned blog post followed the same-day publication of an open letter to Australians from Mel Silva, Managing Director, Google Australia. Whereas Mr Arnaud focused on content creators, Ms Silva appealed to all Australians with an internet connection.
“The News Media Bargaining Code” wrote Ms Silva, “would force [Google] to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.”
“You’ve always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and helpful to you. We could no longer guarantee that under this law” continued Ms Silva adding: “the proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you.”
Last month the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission published the draft News Media Bargaining Code law intended to force Google and Facebook to pay media groups in exchange for carrying their content.
The drafting was timely coming in the same month as US antitrust congressional subcommittee quizzed tech-giant CEOs about the dominance of their companies.
Google also plans to pause a news licensing programme as a result of the law, according to the Financial Times. The scheme, which was introduced to much fanfare in June, involves Google paying Australian publishers, including InQueensland and InDaily, for news content.
By speaking directly to content creators and Australians Google seems poised to spark debate about the level of power exerted in the country by traditional media monolith Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp. This will be Google’s opening salvo and a bid to gauge the mood music of Australians ahead of the law being debated in parliament later this year.