EU May Require Big Tech to Pay for New Content

The European Parliament Discusses Options

Lawmakers in the EU are considering ways to require tech companies like Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) to pay news outlets for their content. Australia has led the way in pushing for this type of legislation, and now Europe may follow suit.

Members of the European Parliament are currently putting together two important digital regulations for the bloc. One is called the Digital Services Act (DSA) and another is called the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Either of these bills could be amended to include some of the reforms Australia is working to pass or, separate legislation could be drafted later. EU parliament members are currently in discussions about the best way forward.

Following Australia’s Lead

If the proposed actions become law, they could cause strain for social media platforms and search engines, as well as tensions between these companies and the EU government. In Australia, Google has threatened to pull its services from the country if it is forced to pay for news. Facebook has said that it will block Australian users from sharing news if proposed laws in the country come to fruition.

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Google CEO Sundar Pichai had what Morrison described as a “constructive meeting,” signaling that the tech giant and the Australian government may be headed toward some form of an agreement. Details about a potential deal have not yet been released.

Looking Ahead

The EU made sweeping changes to its copyright laws in 2019. These laws made it so platforms are required to compensate media outlets for snippets of their content under certain circumstances. Google has promised to spend $1 billion on news licensing over the next three years and has reached agreements with news publishers in France.

But many EU lawmakers feel this is not enough and more changes could be coming. Investors in the tech industry and the media landscape will be eager to see how negotiations progress.

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