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MS Chief Urges US To Follow Aust. In Pay For News

REDMOND, USA: On the eve of legislation to be tabled into the Australian Parliament over online media laws, Microsoft president Brad Smith has urged the USA to adopt Australia’s plan to rein the market power of big tech companies such as Google and compensate genuine publishers for the material they currently steal.

This comes after Microsoft proposed the use of its Bing engine to replace services such as Google, should that company pull out of Australia.

Brad Smith, Microsoft.

Said Smith: “The cure will likely require multiple medicines. But part of an innovative prescription has emerged from halfway around the world.

“In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press.

“The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, explaining how they display news content and providing advance notice of algorithmic or advertising changes that are likely to have a significant effect on their sites’ referral traffic to news content.”

A report handed down by the Australian Senate committee has recommended that the bill be passed after extensive consultation with the ACCC, Google, Facebook, News Corp, Guardian Australia and Nine.

Says Smith: “Even more important, the legislation will redress the economic imbalance between technology and journalism by mandating negotiations between these tech gatekeepers and independent news organisations.”

With bipartisan support, the legislation could come into law this month despite the misgivings of Google.

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