(Pocket-lint) – Google has threatened to pull its service from Australia if a new law is passed. The new law would be designed to potentially demand that social media and providers like Google pay news outlets for access to news content via services like Google News or Apple News. 

News publishers rely on Google and other services to push readers their way – Pocket-lint is no different from this – but the argument has long raged as to how much content it is OK for Google and others to reproduce since the search giant derives a benefit from people being on their sites, too. 

This case could well be a test for how a similar law would work in markets like the US and Europe. Is it really possible to hold back the might of Google? 

The Australian rules would mean that officially mediated negotiations would have to take place between search engines and news publishers should no other agreement be reached. 

Today, Google Australia managing director Mel Silva told a Senate hearing that the code was “unworkable”.

According to the BBC, Silva said: “If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.”

That’s an unlikely threat – even if Google had to sign some of its profit away, it would almost certainly still be able to make money in the Australian market. However, Google could try and make an example of Australia as a warning to other, more profitable territories.

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Clearly, Google is concerned about the potential effect of such legislation on its bottom line and other areas would want to follow suit if Australia passed such legislation and it worked. The EU, for example, is no fan of Google’s dominance

Australian PM Scott Morrison retorted that Google’s threat would fall on deaf ears and said the Australian parliament still intended to pass the legislation. “Let me be clear: Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament.”

Writing by Dan Grabham.





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