Australian Official Admits That Of Course Murdoch Came Up With Link Tax, But Insists The Bill Is Not A Favor To News Corp.

from the did-he-just-say-that-out-loud? dept

Earlier this year, we wrote a lot about the ridiculous anti-open internet Australian link tax that is now being pushed elsewhere around the globe. Anyone paying attention to the details knew that it was extreme crony capitalism at work, with the government forcing one set of massive companies (namely, Facebook and Google) to pay another set of massive companies, led by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Nine. For all the talk of how big tech companies are "monopolies," if you look at Australia's news companies, it's considered among the most concentrated in the world, and has been quite profitable for the likes of Murodch.

And while defenders of the bill insist (incorrectly) that the bill is not a link tax, but is merely a "competition bill" to help those few giant newspaper companies "better negotiate" with the giant internet companies, that's bullshit for two reasons. First, it's a "negotiation" to pay for links, and no one should ever have to pay to link to some other site. That's just fundamentally against the concept of an open internet. Second, it's no real negotiation because if Facebook and Google fail to agree to a deal that satisfies the Aussie media bosses, the government can step in and force an agreement on them.

Lots of people -- including those in Australia -- noted that this all seemed like a scheme to make Rupert Murdoch richer. And now the Australian competition official, Rod Sims, who "oversaw drafting of the law" has flat out admitted that the whole thing was Murdoch's idea in the first place, though he insists it's "extremely strange" that anyone thinks it's a favor to Murdoch.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims, who oversaw drafting of the law, acknowledged the negotiating system was proposed by the Rupert Murdoch-controlled publisher but said all major media operators in the country supported it.

I mean, yeah, of course they supported it. Because it's the government forcing other companies to give them free money in response to their own failures to innovate. Why wouldn't they support it?

It is true that Google and Facebook are bigger than News Corp., which is the point that Sims really really wants to focus on. But that doesn't even touch on whether or not it's appropriate to force one set of companies to pay for something that should be free (linking), to another set of companies that are still making a shit ton of money on their own.

"News Corp is 1% the size of Google. News Corp is one of four main media companies (in Australia). It's very likely not the one with the biggest reach. I just think this is a line put out by Google," Sims added.

"There were many people giving us ideas. News Corp was but one. This whole notion that this is about News Corp is extremely strange."

You literally just admitted that the idea came from News Corp! It wasn't "a line put out by Google." It was you, who just admitted what was obvious to anyone who's been paying attention to Murdoch for years. After all, Murdoch has been publishing op-eds (in his own company's publications, of course), demanding Facebook and Google pay him for years. It's not like he made it a secret.

Can you make an argument that Google and Facebook are too powerful? Sure, absolutely. But, can you then make the argument that these companies which found a way to build internet services billions of people like... should be forced to pay for Murdoch's brand of propaganda, despite there being no fundamental reason that he deserves any of that money? Not unless you want people to think you're in Murdoch's pocket.

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Filed Under: australia, competition, link tax, news organizations, rod sims, rupert murdoch
Companies: facebook, google, news corp., nine


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  • icon
    freakanatcha (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:02am

    Link tax

    One could argue that Google & Facebook drive a lot of traffic to news sites. Google should just omit News corp. websites from search results and watch Rupert's website traffic dwindle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:08am

      Re: Link tax

      Assuming it wasn't changed since then they saw that coming from when other countries tried this little extortion trick and Google just delisted them by making it so that if the companies include any links to news sources they are required to include and pay for links to australian sources.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:18am

      Re: Link tax

      Facebook tried that and the idiots decried it as Zuckerberg censorship. It's a lose lose situation either fighting it or going with it. Our tech policy debate have been hijacked by idiots.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:03am

    '... I don't see it'

    'Sure it was proposed by him, and will result in a whole bunch of money being funneled to him with no effort on his part, and it's set up so that if his demands aren't met the government will step in and bring the hammer down and force the other side to pay him, but that doesn't mean it's the government favoring him or anything!'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Robert Freetard (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:06am

    The answer has already been found.

    The last time this happened google just stopped linking to the companies.
    This SHOULD be the standard response.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:18am

      Re: The answer has already been found.

      Should be but wasn't, as both companies were stupid enough to fold and as a result are sure to see a lot more countries/companies demanding their cut in the coming years.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:21am

    English as a second language

    "but is merely a "competition bill" to help those few giant newspaper companies "better negotiate" with the giant internet companies,"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_News_Corp

    Negotiation, is generally based on 2 agencies with the same thing OR Both sides giving Something to have Both advance/improve.
    Competition? Where? Google and others are GIVING this away FREE of charge.
    He owns TONS in Australia. And this person doesnt understand that??

    Anyone get the idea that Murdoch, is abit upset, and Cant buy up the Internet service in Australia.
    Or is it the idea that Anyone using A ISP/net service in Australia, would have a way to COMMENT AGAINST HIM?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:31am

      Re: English as a second language

      Found something:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knewz

      Knewz.com is a news aggregator[1] owned by News Corporation.[2] The content is produced by in-house human editors and IT specialists working alongside News Corp's Storyful subsidiary. The site also makes use of artificial intelligence algorithms.[3]

      News Corp says the site will include news "from the widest variety of sources, free of filter bubbles and narrow-minded nonsense." The launch day press release indicates that Knewz sources its stories from over 400 publishers, mostly in the United States.


      He dont want the competition.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 17 Jun 2021 @ 11:27am

    They can't get elected without Rupert's support, and Rupert was in danger of losing the ability to influence elections on their behalf as his old media empire shrinks and becomes less profitable, so one hand washed the other. Look for this being repeated in the UK and the US, next time america suffers a stroke and fills the hall of power with republicans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 2:12pm

    A shame Google & Facebook didn't have the balls to pull the plug on Australia like they said they would. This nonsense would've been repealed in days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 2:15pm

    The Liberal National coalition here lives and dies by the whims and rule of The Rupert so it's no surprise to find out that they jumped at the chance to get their faces between the liver spotted wrinkled bum cheeks and kiss the royal ring and give him what he wanted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 17 Jun 2021 @ 2:48pm

    In other News

    Murdoch Horse and Buggy Company sues Tesla, Demands a Man with a Red Flag Walk in front of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 3:52pm

    Caveman using drum to send messages is sued by Uggpert Rarrdock's Hitting Rock with Club Network.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 4:38pm

    Google should have a Google news site with just a list of random news website with no story's but I think the law is designed to force them to make a deal with news orgs
    So it worked
    Australia also has extreme laws eg all apps must provide data
    to the police to enable full acess to messages and users private info
    This includes business data not just private users
    So there's no guarantee of privacy for any company or user of the Internet in Australia no matter what service they usr

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2021 @ 6:55pm

    this video explores the issues in a clear concise and respectful fashion :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=uqj2z3QaRyU&feature=youtu.be

    apologies if it has been linked to previously

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 18 Jun 2021 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      he is no longer considered an Aussie Cit.
      HE MOVE and joined the USA..
      Pass that around the island.

      He is now part of the USA, and has all the Loopholes we can give, as well as the Aussie ones.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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