> Mr Sims said if Google took a similar approach to its actions in Spain when it was asked to pay for news on its Google News tab, it would be irrelevant because the code covered news content in Google's primary function, search.
So it seems like the ultimatum is: pay Australia media companies ~$1b or don't list any news media (including international news) on Google Search for Australian users. Interesting dilemma.
> pay Australia media companies ~$1b
This is Rupert Murdoch, isn't it.
> Media companies including News Corp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O), lobbied hard for the government to force the U.S. companies to the negotiating table amid a long decline in advertising revenue.
Not so easy, since if you do that, you've just given an opening to a competitor that people will start using when they want to search for a news article.
Maybe, but Google's interest is in maintaining its search monopoly, not creating opportunities for its destruction in fits of pique.
I'm also skeptical about how much of a hurdle this would actually be, since businesses typically have to pay suppliers (e.g. by licensing content). These rules probably only seems like a big thing because SV tech businesses have been weirdly allowed to opt out of paying in situations like this for a long time. It's not like the necessity of paying royalties prevented Netflix from taking off.
"Fits of pique" like being extorted for $1 billion dollars per year? That's something like 4% of their global profit that they're being asked to fork over for the privilege of continuing to provide a just one search functionality in a small and isolated market. They'll just disable news searches in Australia lol.
Seems cheaper and more fruitful than simply forking over $1B. Then again, the risk to doing so might be scarier than a billion-dollar fine, especially if you factor in that the move (if discovered) would piss off legislators.
If this is being done on purpose to make a case, it's a goddamn genius move - next level chess.
Google could be in a tight spot.
"You say we are unfairly dominating? Fine we'll leave and let competitors take our place." Not competing at all in a market (barring reciprocial cartel territory divisuon) is the exact opposite of anti-competive behavior. They aren't even existing there to harm them!
At worst it would be monosopy and again they provided the remedy, reducing their "buying share" of the market to 0%.
It is essentially the ultimate calling of a bluff by not sticking around to be their scapegoat.
The searches don't need to convert themselves in order to be valuable; if they affect user behavior enough, they'll affect it for commercial queries too. Ie, if someone switches to Bing because they never get good results on Google, they'll probably just switch to Bing period, instead of jumping back to Google for their commercial queries.
Aka: show and pay News Corp or GTFO out of Australia. Sad.
Have you seen what Murdoch-owned media publish these days? It's biased clickbait and gossip, there is nothing quality about News Corp content. Look at the front-page of news.com.au and you'll see what alleged News Corp quality news looks like.
There are much better news sources out there not crying about Google (and writing quality investigative journalism) like; crikey.com.au, abc.net.au, theguardian.com.au, theconversation.com/au, independentaustralia.net, michaelwest.com.au.
We talk about Google and Facebook being these influential corporate conglomerates (and they are), how bad monopolies are and all the while, News Corp continues to get favours from the Australian government, if it's not millions in no strings attached money, it's laws like these which should not even exist in their current form. And the kicker here is: News Corp doesn't even pay tax in Australia. Thanks to some clever accounting (which others are also guilty of), they pay no tax on their profits and they are expecting us to feel sorry for them? Shouldn't the fact they don't even pay tax be good enough.
There are a lot of clickbait/low-quality news sites, but the ones not owned by Rupert Murdoch or big media companies aren't complaining to the Australian government about how unfair it is Google is linking to their news and providing free snippets. Things get even crazier when you realise that many news sites in Australia (especially News Corp) are already paywalled, many of the links from Google to the news stories results in a paywall notice asking you to pay. You essentially get a headline and an opening paragraph. Sometimes the headlines are clever, but they're not worth paying for. So, are they asking Facebook and Google to pay for the privilege of being able to link to their own site for free, which they are subsequently monetising through ads and subscriptions? None of this makes sense.
I agree that good quality journalism is worth paying for, which is why I personally have both a Crikey subscription as well as a Guardian subscription. I would never pay for the Courier Mail or Australian, the content is subpar and often republished news from other sources. Even former Fairfix news which Nine Entertainment purchased have gone downhill since the purchase.
The state of news media in Australia is utterly dire and I cannot wait for Newscorp to collapse.
The quality of these properties is categorically just worse than the independents, and there are a lot of them.
There's certainly some bias showing here, but it's not in the parent post.
Now I scrape this text (as summary) and display it on my own "Latest news" blog and the original author does often not even get a click-through. I do not think that is fair towards the original author.
So bringig traffic to the blog is a big value, so she should pay for this service. But she doesn't, because search engines are free.
News sites can block google and other bots any time on their sites with robots.txt, but they don't because they want the traffic for free, while they even demand money from those who bring the traffic.
I was feeling different about this topic until you brought this up. I think this is a really good argument. Yes, google scrapes and gets value from what they scrape without paying, however you can block this as a publisher if you don't want this.
You do have a choice though. You can choose not to use google ads and stop performing SEO and drive business in alternative ways. Further, there are more search engines than just google. If your business model depends on google it may be time to rethink that strategy. Any competent marketing strategy would rely on diversified channels anyway.
A comparable scenario would be something like the phone book or yelp where these directories have value to users but they simply refer users to the businesses advertising in the directory.
(Note this guy eventually got paid by chasing)
To some degree it's also how aggregator sites like Reddit and Hacker News work. Maybe even with anti paywall methods, archivers, etc getting the story in plain text format.
Exercise your consumer choice.
Called out by name as the only two companies the law applies to.
However, that is just complete speculation as I haven't seen the actual law, and the afr.com article is behind paywall for me.
Sent from my faulty HFC NBN (gone down 4 times in the last 2 days)
Australian news media: No, come back!
I don't see how their demand work out well for them.
All of these countries need to unify on this requirement at the same time. Google can cut Australia off, but can they cut off Australia, France, and Spain off? What about Australia and the entire European Union?
Every single year, Google's ad business shifts more revenue from the "shares with third party sites" segment over to the "keeps all of it" segment. So while Google Search used to heavily fund news, every year, Google's cut gets bigger, and news orgs' cut gets smaller.
The second graph here is what was shown in the hearing, and shows the numbers pulled from Alphabet's reports: https://medium.com/beyond-devices/googles-increasing-relianc... "Google Network Members" effectively refers to website owners like news publishers which display ads.
I don't think that's a fair characterization. Would you say that Ford bled blacksmiths and carriage makers dry? Technology moves on. Newspapers are dying because their business model blows in the current infoscape. People spend most of their attention on things other than news, and news is the ultimate information commodity.
> Every single year, Google's ad business shifts more revenue from the "shares with third party sites" segment over to the "keeps all of it" segment.
The linked article shows that the "keeps all of it" portion has been growing faster than the "shares with third party sites" portion. I don't think it's fair to say that they shift revenue from one to the other.
> So while Google Search used to heavily fund news, every year, Google's cut gets bigger, and news orgs' cut gets smaller.
This is not shown by the data in the linked article. Clicks and CPC are slightly down for "shares with third party sites" but that does not say anything about news sites in particular.
Do you have a link to the graph? My understanding was that Google's original business model was "provide a search engine, and show ads on it", and showing ads on third-party sites is newer?
(Disclosure: I work at Google, speaking only for myself)
This explains why journalism is running out of money while Google is worth over a trillion. By lifting their content and keeping users (and ad views) directly on Google, Google profits at content producers' expense.
Re: "originally", I was probably wrong there. DoubleClick in 2008 was where Google absorbed this side of the ad business, I believe. But it was the side that was fundamental to journalism.
There was a time when Google could argue it's ad platforms was sponsoring the free web and all, but that's increasingly no longer the case.
They are losing money not because of Google, but because they are in a Twitter echo chamber feeding off each other and aliening large parts of their audience
How would that be different than 1 country at a time?
If Google refused to list news that they had to pay to list... across the board... Seems like it's simply making the process easier for Google as it'll be a one time fight.
Brexit seems to have less repercussions than initially thought because it hasn't happened yet! The UK is still in the single market and the customs union till end end of the year.
There are still agreements. Let's see in 2021. The question if the UK requires quarantine of its tourists coming back from Spain will be overshadowed by the question if the tourists get there in the first place.
> you have Germany strong arming France into giving weak nations billions
Rather the other way around.
They want google to pay for re-hosting /lifting any content (previews, headlines, etc.). Linking is just caught in the crossfire, if it's even mentioned.
If we are being honest, the majority of people read headlines and don't bother with more than the first paragraph or summary of the article. This is all displayed on Google properties where users don't even leave the Google infrastructure.
Is Google providing a service? Definitely. Does online news depend on Google? Definitely. Is Google's relationship with them abusive? Definitely.
That's odd, usually companies pay Google to host their content via GCP
Block it by a paywall. But they wouldn't do that because they would stop showing up in search engines. Google is providing a free service by directing traffic to these companies.
Reminds me of the LinkedIn case about bots crawling their website.
For google this will be a pure economics game, and when they passed the other laws Google looked at the numbers and noped out.
The same will be true for Australia.
I do not see the UK, US, or any of the emerging economies pulling this, so the EU and Australia will alone in this battle and the amount of money being demanded it seems to me most likely exceeds google profit, so they will just end the service to the nations, and blacklist the sites from search
Search will be fine because 3rd party sites will be indexed so it will be a 2 hope, and given the incestuous nature of "news" today where every story is written more or less than same on 100+ sites all over the globe I am sure people will find the news they are looking for just fine with out those sites in the index
The Eu and Australia are massively overplaying their hand
They can unite and tantrum all they want but it won't change the underlying reality any more than fervent demands for a "good people only" backdoor encryption won't exist.
There's something interesting in there that nobody in this discussion has yet mentioned, nor does the original news article, section 52S:
Subsection (2) applies if the registered news
business corporation for the registered news
business makes a request, in writing, to the
responsible digital platform corporation for
the digital platform service to do any of the
(a) ensure that the registered news business
corporation is provided with flexible
content moderation tools that allow
the registered news business corporation
to remove or filter comments on the registered
news business’ covered news content that:
(i) are made using the digital platform service; and
(ii) are made on a part of the digital platform
service that is set up and able to be edited
by the registered news business;
(b) ensure that the registered news business
corporation can disable the making of such
(c) ensure that the registered news business
corporation can block the making of such comments:
(i) by particular persons; or
(ii) in particular circumstances.
So if the newspaper leans X, they can shut down all the comments from people who lean the other way, or people who disagree with the article, or anything they like (possibly subject to other laws, but certainly no restrictions are placed here).
That's... full of implications, to say the least.
1.88 seems to indicate that pretty clearly, providing this example:
“In the case of a social media service such as Facebook, this rule deals with the situation where the news business has posted its covered news content on the news business’ own social media page. Comments on the news business’ articles posted by somebody else on another Facebook page are not covered by this law ”
Even that is pretty amazing on its own terms, essentially carving out the new's site on those platforms. Interestingly, I don't see it taking away control from the host, either, so either of them ought to be able to censor. It would be interesting to see a vigorously anti-Facebook article get posted on Facebook, with Facebook nuking everyone supportive of the article and the news site nuking everyone arguing against it. (And both of the nuking the "where are all the comments?" comments.)
Is there someone knowledgeable about Australian law that can explain how the "clarification" stands in relation to the actual law? In the US system, where AFAIK such clarifications would have low priority vs. the actual text of the law, I'd be nervous as a "digital platform provider" relying on the clarification to save me from the text of the law, which to my eyes do not contain that carveout, but under a different system these may be given higher priority.
(& with all due respect to the many fine Internet Lawyers (TM) on HN, International Internet Lawyers (TM) even, I am asking for people who actually know. I can provide myself with all the knowledge-free speculation I need already.)
It remains to be seen where they end up.
Using Google search, I don't know if I found the canonical draft but using this pdf as the source, the excerpt says:
>Which digital platforms must participate in the code?
1.29 A digital platform must participate in the code if the Treasurer has made a determination specifying a designated digital platform corporation. The Treasurer may also specify one or more designated digital platform services. [Schedule 1, item 1, section 52C]
1.30 The Government has announced that the code will apply to Facebook and Google. Accordingly, the Treasurer is expected to make an instrument specifying Facebook Inc. and Google LLC as designated digital platform corporations.
1.31 ‘Digital platform’ is not defined in the Bill, but is intended to capture platforms that deliver a wide variety of services such as social media services, search engines and other digital content aggregators.
1.32 A ‘digital platform service’ is a service that is provided by the designated digital platform corporation, either by itself or together with one or more related corporations. A given digital platform will normally
provide multiple digital services, such as messaging, search, content curation and other content sharing services.[Schedule 1, item 1, section 52B]
The way I as a layman read it is... "the law is targeted at giants like Google & Facebook and not Hacker News".
So, HN is spared not because it doesn't meet some strict criteria of what "digital platform is". Instead, HN won't be a target because it's too small to bother with.
This draft law allows the relevant government minister (in this case the Treasurer) to designate certain corporations as subject to this law. The corporations have access to the courts to challenge the designation and requirements of "natural justice" have been applied to ministerial actions by the courts.
And I'm not going to look, because secondly, even if Australia did somehow get its hooks in to HN to some significant degree, and there was no escape, Y Combinator would simply shut down HN. It's nice enough of them to run it as it is, but expecting them to play by these rules to do it is unreasonable. If they were feeling particularly friendly they might spin it off or something. (Turning it into a subscription service is probably feasible at this point, for instance.) Unlike Google or Facebook, HN is not their core business, and shutting off at this point could even be a net gain for quite a few years. The rep gain that HN afforded them is mostly realized now.
There's no way for Australia to squeeze Y Combinator through HN.
This part says that who the bill applies to will be defined later, by the Executive power.
And make no mistake about it - ALL the media in Australia owned by essentially one person, so there is a lot of leaning.
> 1.89 In the case of a social media service such as Facebook, this rule deals with the situation where the news business has posted its covered news content on the news business’ own social media page. Comments on the news business’ articles posted by somebody else on another Facebook page are not covered by this law.
If I read this right, they don't need a way to filter comments on a link to their article that someone else posts, just comments underneath one of their own posts. Still not great, but less intrusive than that text you quoted seemed to imply (I couldn't find in that exact wording in your link).
Which is nuts. And which this legislation is trying to, rather ham-handedly, fix. Also, it puts pressure on Facebook, which may actually be the secondary purpose.
I rarely google to find a serious publication. Perhaps it would be a good thing if Google stops indexing news sites.
This decision is crony capitalism at its worst.
(1) They had teams of people producing regular fresh content, to a high quality.
(2) They had existing subscriber bases, which could have been converted to other purposes (consider the online dating services offered by some of the UK newspapers.)
(3) They had existing economies of scale from business lines which were not dependent on the internet, buffering them against dot com downturns and the like.
(4) Several of them had other divisions producing other good content. e.g. motion picture rights.
(5) They had international presence, and internal connectivity.
(6) Many had existing consumer-connectivity through cable relationships.
Yet. None created geek-friendly workplaces, they were too tied to their cash cows, and they have done badly.
Google&friends are not making money and competing "like any other business".
I don't understand this. Can you explain, please?
Take the billions of dollars that you've saved from BEPS and use it to subsidize your local products, or run ads attacking the competition, or taking them to court, or hire salespeople, or build new content. Simple.
This is not specific to big tech though, it's a single point of failure of having a centralised government that is easily corrupted by rich corporations.
That's plain wrong. Every company only pays income tax in its country of residence. The only difference is that there might be a sales tax for physical goods.
That is not correct. Taxes are payable wherever the profits are made.
It is usually the case that the country where the company is headquartered will have a far greater proportion of profits compared to revenue because a lot of the things that add value happen there, but in the case of large tech companies, this is taken to the extreme, where not just profits, but even revenue itself is shifted from where the business actually happens.
For example, Google reported £1.6bn (US$2.1bn) in revenue and paid £44m ($58m) in corporation taxes (on profits of £231m ($303m) based on a 19% tax rate) in the UK for the 2019-20 financial year, but its actual UK revenue is estimated to be around £5.7b ($7.5b) for the same period.
Whereas car companies have consumers as their customers and have to pay sales tax, AdWords expenditure by businesses is considered a business expense and is not taxed (in the UK). If they played by the same rules, they would have paid around £1.14b ($1.5b; based on 20% VAT) in tax in 2019-20, instead of £44m.
No, with regard to income tax that's simply wrong.
That said, public companies typically have subsidiaries in other countries and these subsidiaries have to pay corporate income tax in their country of residence (but also regardless of where the profits are actually made). This is often used to avoid (or delay) tax payments, especially if the subsidiaries are in low-tax countries.
But if the parent company Apple Inc. sold an iPhone in Germany, they wouldn't have to pay income tax in Germany, just like BMW AG doesn't have to pay income tax in the US.
This is not true for the media. A functioning, critical, and trustworthy media is very important to society.
Profit ≈ importance is just flat out wrong in general.
(Not saying I agree with this govt intervention)
Even the "fair and unbiased" govt funded ABC is a total toothless joke.
> Even the "fair and unbiased" govt funded ABC is a total toothless joke.
I don't know much about the Australian media, but I do know a citation to a random youtube comedian does not convincingly support such a statement.
Australia's problem is that our news orgs are corrupt to the core, every journo is afraid to go against Murdoch in any way shape or form their careers are ended if they do.
So here we are, with this "comedian," doing a better reporting job than pretty much every single outlet in the country. With very few exceptions.
Climate change protests
Darling river fuck up
Fatty mc fuck face
My 2p guess is it's all about snippets and any other displayed information which would stop the user proceeding to an external result. Some % of total revenue distributed to owners of the snippet content, though it would be hard to determine the breakdown even for a single result page.
There won't be any revenue. Ever since France implemented their version of the "meme tax", where a tax would be charged when websites would want to use news snippets, what search engines did was simply drop the snippets. Example:
Google doesn't seem to do this. It's unclear to me if they are paying this fee or just don't care.
It doesn't permit digital service corporations from discriminating against protected news sources on account of their participation in the system. It does seem to permit actions that affect all news sources equally.
However, more frustrating and worrisome to me is that the exposure draft doesn't seem to define what conduct by Google/etc triggers these provisions. Some clauses apply to news content "made available" by the platform, but there's no definition in this bill of what "made available" means.
That could be read to require some sort of hosting of the content (e.g., rehosting an article or using a long extract), or it could be read to include mere linking. That's a huge difference: Hacker News could be a 'digital platform service' under the latter definition, but not the former.
The text of the law does not seem to cover this option.
> in comparison to other news content
They can stop showing news as such.
the same way that they decide who to pay.
> Responsible digital platform corporations may not discriminate between the news businesses participating in the code, or between participants and non-participants, because of their participation in the code.
Thus they would not be in violation of the law as all Australia news sources would be blacklists, not just those participating
You can't just use the list of "businesses participating in the code" because that's considered discriminatory and illegal under the new law. And if you decide using any other method, you risk accidentally classifying one of the "businesses participating in the code" as "not news" and showing it in search results anyway, which is also illegal under this law.
The best solution I can think of would be to use the list of businesses participating in the code as a starting point, and then add other non-participants through some other method. But then you run into a similar problem: what happens if you accidentally classify a non-participant as "not news" and they see a surge of traffic because they're one of the only news organizations in Australia that shows up in Google search results? Wouldn't that also be considered discriminatory and illegal under the new law, since that organization wouldn't have shown up in the results if they were a participant?
I mean, that's like the government saying that not only do you have to pay a toll when you use CityLink (okay, user pays) but it is mandatory to use that road as the only option, and that you must use it every day.
I really don't see how that can stop Google from dropping news from the search results completely. Or coming to an arrangement with Fairfax, where they pay a tiny amount, and nothing to NewsCorp.
PDF with draft policy here.
And the blacklisting is easy. A click of the button and it's off my list
The internet made people believe everything is free. But free news is either propaganda or a disguised ad.
I don't know if it technically falls afoul of existing legislation but clearly the old laws aren't really up to the job of regulating that. They weren't designed for it.
Wouldn't that imply that they simply have to pay to be displayed as it would be advertisement? Ergo they will get removed and not get any advertisement anymore as a result.
I mean, if you can't go to google news to get your news, maybe you do go directly to the website of some major news company (and get a monoculture).
With services like Google News, people can get exposed to news from various media outlets, but by killing it through lobbying for absurd regulatory burdens on aggregators the well known larger outlets can choke out access to their competition. This of course is hampered to some extent by the reality that many will just rely on other users posting on social media for news updates, and if that too is choked out through regulation on platforms, many will probably just skip the news or reduce their consumption in favor of other things like entertainment.
I now just spend a little time on Apple News+ to skim what is happening. While I am locking myself more into a mono culture just looking at US news, I decided that I needed to greatly decrease the amount of time I spent on the news every day.
The world situation is what it is. I try to accept the world as-is, invest as little time as possible understanding the world and concentrate on my own productivity, fellowship with friends and family, and generally appreciating culture and nature.
News watching is an addiction that too many of my friends have.
We're still able to find Danish news by Google search though, it's only the aggregation that Danish media is afraid of, as they are afraid to loose out on a lot of income on the ads they show while people browse their websites.
The weird part is, I am not Dutch, do not speak Dutch, and have never been to the Netherlands.
Because you can't actually change your country on your Google payment profile. You need to create a new one and then switch the new one.
I had to do this to switch my US account to an EU account with the EU GDPR user consent options. Your Google account is tied to the payment profile country AFAIK.
-- Andy Warhol
-- George Orwell (possibly wrongly attributed)
...or maybe they have figured it out.
At least the product supporter ;)
Yes. We the users of HN are product - both individually, and also as a market segment, and also as a smart crowd.
Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups.
That is not to detract from the (very probable) angle of pg & team wishing to render a public service for the public good :-)
 the occasional bad thread notwithstanding ;-)
 aka HN hug of death