News Media Bargaining Code Will Hurt Small Business

As many of you will be aware by now, the Australian government, and disgracefully, the opposition are now pushing for a news media bargaining code that would force search engines like google to pay publishers for showing their links. These changes harm the open and free internet and will reduce the ability of small publishers like us to compete with large publishers, like The Australian.

News Media Bargaining Code To Maim Small Businesses

Explicitly, this law only allows large publishers to be paid. In order to get a seat at the table, publishing organisations must have $150k in revenue and have the resources to negotiate with companies like google and facebook. In reality, there are only a handful of large publishers who have any ability to negotiate with google. The are owned by Murdoch, or large media conglomerates with political power and dedicated legal teams.

Small organisations like us have no prospect, nor desire, to enter into negotiations to be paid for google showing our links. We have nothing to gain from this disgraceful law.

But we have everything to lose.

The Australian Financial Review is a bastion of financial news coverage in Australia. In terms of brand power and reach, we cannot compete with them. And if this was 1995, we wouldn’t have a chance to exist, because there was no way for audiences to find our content. And established dominant players like it like that.

But google changed all that. By surfacing our links when they are most relevant, google has introduced our website to many new readers, alongside, not instead of, other publications. The majority of our paying subscribers have found us in this way. This has allowed a small family business to flourish and, believing that google was a search engine to be relied upon, we as a family relied on this income to put food on the table, pay for childcare, and invest for the future.

News Media Bargaining Code Helps Big Business, Google Helps Small Business

In their perfidy, the Australian government (who scarcely demand tax from these tech giants) have decided to throw small publishers like us to the wolves, so as to benefit the big media players. This law is not for ordinary Australians but for large media organisations only. Ordinary Australians will suffer from losing access to google search. Small businesses will lose out. Some will go bankrupt. Jobs will be lost.

The fact that the Australian government is more motivated to get google to pay The Australian than it is to get it to pay taxes shows the profane stoogery of the architects of this law. Most Australians like small business; but it is big business who make donations to the Liberal and Labor parties. And that is who they are representing with the News Media Bargaining Code.

The Australian government should listen to google’s proposal, which will still allow the government to unfairly force google to pay millions of dollars to their big media mates. That way, the government can still pay their media buddies, without actively ruining small businesses like ours.

Google’s proposal allows our politicians to return something to their donors, without maiming small business.

If you would like to express your disapproval of this new law, please consider signing this petition to save Australia’s small publishers and stop the regressive News Media Bargaining Code.

If you would like to share the petition, the link is here:

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