Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has held “constructive” discussions with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, but the federal government won’t walk away from its media laws that would compel tech platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay media companies for using their content.
“My job now is to ensure that we get on with those discussions and we bring them to a successful conclusion,” Mr Morrison said.
“People would know the strong support that has been provided internationally for Australia’s position … I’m also pleased that Facebook has decided, it would seem, to tentatively ‘friend’ us again and get those discussions going again.”
Media industry sources, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing commercial negotiations, said one of the key sticking points in discussions between Facebook and Australian media companies was a so-called “poison pill” in deals being discussed.
This is a clause that would see any deal between the companies cancelled if, as expected, the proposed laws are passed by Federal Parliament with the support of the Labor opposition.
Media companies believe that without the laws being passed, Facebook could sign a one-off deal but then walk away from renewing the deal in the future, leaving them in the lurch. Google had initially insisted on a similar clause but later dropped its objections to the bill becoming law.
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