Google and Facebook are on the verge of making deals with Australian media to compensate them for their content, said Josh Frydenberg, the country’s treasury secretary.
Frydenberg said on Monday that negotiations with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google Sundar Pichai had made great strides in resolving the discrepancies.
The Australian government is developing a binding code of conduct to regulate the relationship between mainstream media and big tech, including Google and Facebook, which are highly profitable from ad revenue.
This code of conduct obliges major technologies to negotiate with each press vehicle a fee for the use of its content. If there is no agreement, the decision will be made by a judge.
Facebook and Google have threatened to suspend their services if the bill, which is being considered by parliament, is implemented as is.
Frydenberg told Australian broadcaster ABC on Monday that negotiations with the two groups “had progressed a lot this weekend.”
“I think we are very close to some very important trade deals,” the secretary said, adding that the law “will transform the Australian media landscape”.
The main Australian news groups, News Corp and Nine Entertainment, have estimated that these compensations will reach hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
Google and Facebook, backed by the US government, say the project would undermine their business model and the very functioning of the Internet.