Microsoft wants 'Australian-style' laws on news content, allies with EU against Facebook and Google
- Microsoft has allied with four publisher lobbying groups in Europe to push for new legislation targeting tech giants.
- The Alliance wants to ensure Big Tech pays news publishers to host news content.
- It comes as Australia prepares to force tech giants to pay publishers for hosting their content.
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As Facebook and Google brace themselves to start paying news publishers in Australia, rival Microsoft is pressing its advantage internationally.
Microsoft announced Monday it had struck an alliance with four major European publishers' lobbying groups to push for an "Australian-style arbitration mechanism" that would force it to pay news publishers for hosting their content.
"Europe's press publishers and Microsoft today agreed to work together on a solution to ensure that Europe's press publishers get paid for the use of their content by gatekeepers that have dominant market power," Microsoft said in a blog post.
Specifically, Microsoft says it will be pushing for arbitration provisions in law, meaning lawmakers could decide what they think a digital giant, such as Google or Facebook, should be paying publishers.
Australia is getting ready to pass its new News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, a law that would force digital media platforms to pay news publishers for hosting their content, and mandate that they give publishers forewarning about any changes to their algorithms.
In preparation for the law, Google struck deals with major publishers including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Facebook reacted by temporarily booting all news content off its Australian site, a move which resulted in a significant drop in traffic to news sites. Facebook reversed its decision on Monday following amendments to the proposed law.
The EU has already shown some appetite for adopting a similar law to Australia's, and could potentially weave one into its recently proposed and wide-ranging Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act.
Microsoft operates Bing, a rival search engine to Google's, and has already been vocal in its support for the Australian law.
"I'm hopeful that the Biden administration will support and embrace this kind of policy to redress the imbalance between something like a search service by Google and the position of the news publishers," Microsoft President Brad Smith told Insider last week.
Canada's government has also said it will introduce a bill to make tech companies pay publishers for news content.
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