Australian legislative update: digital platforms proposed to pay news media for content

Sophie Dawson and Jarrad Parker provide a legislative update on the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in Australia.

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The Australian government will this week introduce legislation to implement its News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code (Mandatory Code).

Developed over an almost three-year public consultation process, the Mandatory Code seeks to require Google and Facebook (with other digital platforms able to be added in future) to pay for content created by traditional news media businesses.

The Mandatory Code is proposed to include provisions that:

  1. encourage digital platforms and traditional news media businesses to undertake commercial negotiations in a prescribed framework to try and reach agreement regarding the amount to be paid for content;
  2. enable digital platforms to publish standard offers, which may allow for efficient negotiations (particularly with smaller news media organisations);
  3. allow for an independent arbiter to determine the amount that should be paid should the parties be unable to reach agreement; and
  4. set certain minimum standards for digital platforms, including requiring them to provide 14 days’ notice of deliberate algorithm changes that impact news media businesses.

It is proposed that the Mandatory Code will be reviewed by Treasury one year after it commences operation, to ensure it is achieving its objectives.

We will provide further updates once the legislation is released later this week.

Sophie is a partner in Bird & Bird's Sydney office, and head of the Disputes practice in Australia. She specialises in media and technology advice and disputes, including data protection and publication laws.
I'm a senior associate in the Sydney Dispute Resolution Group, with diverse experience in dispute resolution and prevention, and compliance and investigations. While I have a special interest in the media and entertainment and technology sectors, I work with clients in a range of industries to manage critical incidents and strategic disputes. In my role, I work with our clients to manage and resolve existing disputes, as well as to create compliance systems that proactively manage risk.

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