ACCC green lights CPA members to bargain with Google & Facebook

Members of Country Press Australia (CPA) can now begin collectively bargaining with Google and Facebook over payments for their news content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation for negotiations to begin over news that is published on Google and Facebook from the 81 members and 160 regional newspapers the CPA represents.

Members can not only collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook respectively, but also engage in discussions with each other and exchange information about those negotiations.

CPA Members Yorke Peninsula Country Times & The Gilgandra Weekly

Without authorisation from the ACCC, any bargaining arrangements may have breached competition laws.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said allowing CPA members to bargain collectively is in the interest of the public the future of sustainable regional news production.

“The ACCC considers that allowing CPA members to bargain collectively is likely to result in public benefits by enhancing negotiations between regional publishers and digital platforms, and thereby assisting the sustainability of regional news production,” he said.

“These public benefits align with the purpose of the news media bargaining code, which was intended to allow and encourage collective bargaining.”

“We welcome the fact that both Facebook and Google appear to be successfully reaching voluntary deals with Australian news businesses, including a number of smaller publishers, following the passage of the bargaining code.

“The onus now remains on Facebook and Google to continue to negotiate in good faith with news businesses of all sizes.”

ACCC chair Rod Sims

While CPA members can begin negotiations, the ACCC is still seeking feedback on its application for final authorisation.

Multiple large and small news organisations have already struck deals with Google and Facebook following the introduction of the News Media and Digital Platforms Bargaining Code in February.

Facebook has inked payment deals with News Corp, Seven West Media as well as independent news companies Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

Meanwhile, organisations including The Guardian Australia, News Corp, and Seven have signed up for Google News Showcase, and while Nine is yet to formalise its deals with either platform, outgoing CEO Hugh Marks has said those deals could last as long as 100 years.


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