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The EPC welcomes the ACCC's move to ensure platforms negotiate with publishers

On 31 July the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched their latest endeavour to ensure through a code that major platforms fairly remunerate news media companies through negotiated payments, also known as the Draft Mandatory Code Bargaining Process.


The adopted draft mandatory code is aimed at addressing acute bargaining power imbalances between news business and big tech like Google and Facebook. The draft code even includes a binding “final offer” arbitration process.


One of the biggest benefits of the approach in the code is that it would help Australian news groups resolve disputes quickly.


The ACCC Chair Rod Sims commented, noting: “There is a fundamental bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and the major digital platforms, partly because news businesses have no option but to deal with the platforms, and have had little ability to negotiate over payment for their content or other issues.”


The release of the draft code comes after a lengthy consultation process, where more than 40 submissions were received. The code will also set aside standards to help govern non-payment related issues, like ensuring algorithm codes are agreed upon by both parties.


Meanwhile, Google has expressed its disappointment and concern with the draft mandatory coand the draft legislation and explanatory material are foundd on the decision: “Our hope was that the code would be forward thinking and the process would create incentives for both publishers and digital platforms to negotiate and innovate for a better future - so we are deeply disappointed and concerned the draft Code does not achieve this. Instead, the government's heavy handed intervention threatens to impede Australia's digital economy and impacts the services we can deliver to Australians." While she criticised the governments decision by stating: "It sets up a perverse disincentive to innovate in the media sector and does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model fit for the digital age."


For more detailed information, have a look at the ACCC’s website and their press release, and the draft legislation and explantory material are found here. Meanwhile, the published public submissions to the Concepts Paper, which can be accessed through here.


The consultation period is until 28 August, wherein the authority aims to enact the draft code later this year.

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