By Byron Kaye
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has told Australian publishers it has stopped negotiating licensing deals, an industry email seen by Reuters showed, a move just six months after the adoption of ‘a law to force tech giants to pay for news content. .
As Facebook announced deals with most of the country’s biggest media outlets, some media companies, including television broadcaster SBS, have been left out, raising questions about the scope and effectiveness of the law. .
The Special Broadcasting Service, or SBS, one of Australia’s five national free-to-air broadcasters and the country’s leading foreign-language news source, said Facebook had refused to enter into negotiations despite months of attempts and that he was surprised and disappointed. He noted that he had successfully struck a deal with Google.
“This result is at odds with the government’s intention to support public interest journalism, and in particular to include public service broadcasters under the Code with regard to remuneration,” a door said on Wednesday. – SBS spoke in a press release.
Facebook’s regional press partnerships manager Andrew Hunter said in an August email to editors that he had “now” made deals in which he would pay Australians for content on his channel “Facebook News “which has just been launched.
Hunter added that rejected publishers would continue to benefit from clicks from Facebook and recommended that they receive a new round of industry grants.
The email has not been made public.
Hunter did not comment on the email or the SBS remarks, but said in a statement to Reuters that content agreements were “just one of the ways in which Facebook provides support to publishers, and we have had ongoing discussions with publishers on the types of news content that can best deliver value to publishers and to Facebook. “
The US social media giant has signed deals with a range of major Australian media companies, including News Corp and Australian Broadcasting Corp, and has a collective bargaining deal with rural publishers. But only a handful of independent and smaller publishers have made deals.
As previously reported by Reuters, Facebook refused to negotiate a deal with Conversation, which posts public affairs commentaries by academics, prompting a reprimand from the regulator who drafted the law. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declined to comment on Wednesday.
Under the law, which led Facebook to briefly block third-party content on news feeds in the country this year, Facebook and Google must negotiate with the media for content that drives traffic to its website or causes in the face of possible government intervention.
But before there can be any government intervention, the federal treasurer must determine that Facebook or Google did not negotiate in good faith, a step known as “designation.” A representative of the treasurer was not immediately available for comment.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority, which will help enforce the law, declined to comment on the grounds that no tech company had been named, so the law did not technically apply.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)