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Minderoo Foundation bargains with Big Tech on behalf of small publishers

The Minderoo Foundation, a federation owned by Australia's richest man, aims to help 18 small publishers agree a collective bargaining arrangement to secure licensing deals with Google and Facebook.

Minderoo Foundation bargains with Big Tech on behalf of small publishers
Photograph: Joshua Sortino on Unsplash.

Andrew Forrest's philanthropic organisation will apply to regulator the ACCC on their behalf, a move welcomed by publishers who did not get a deal with one or both of the US tech giants.

It is a move which has precedent: the ACCC allowed a body representing 261 Australian radio stations to negotiate a content agreement last month.

Since March this year Australian law has required tech giants such as Facebook and Google to negotiate with Australian publishers for content which they wish to post on their respective websites. A move that was prompted by concerns that the two tech giants were not compensating publishers appropriately for the use of their content.

Smaller publishers have been left out of deals, however, with Facebook facing criticism from some for having been reluctant to take their calls, whereas most of the larger news outlets have already secured deals.

Some publications, such as TV broadcaster SBS (a source of foreign language news) and the Conversation (which publishes articles by academics on public affairs), have secured deals with Google but not with Facebook. This has prompted ACCC chair Rod Sims to query whether Facebook is approaching the law in the right spirit.

Google stated that “talks are continuing with publishers of all sizes” and Facebook said it “has long supported smaller independent publishers.”

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