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What you need to know about Google’s open letter update to Australians

If you’ve googled anything in the past month or tuned into YouTube, you’ve likely run across Google’s open letter. Here’s the update
The post What you need to know about Google’s open letter update to Australians appeared first on Motley Fool Australia. –

If you’ve googled anything in the past month or tuned into YouTube, you’ve likely run across Google’s open letter.

It first appeared on 17 August, addressing the Australian government’s proposed new Media Bargaining Code legislation. And Google was less than pleased, stating it will hurt Australians that make use of its search engine and YouTube.

Now Mel Silva, Google’s managing director in Australia, has released an update to that open letter, saying it puts Australians’ Google services at risk.

What did Google’s open letter update say?

In the letter, Silva made it clear that Google isn’t against a fair code of conduct to help manage the relationships between digital platforms like Google and traditional news media. Silva stressed Google was already working to help train thousands of Aussie journalists, and worked with more than 1 million businesses, helping support almost 100,000 jobs.

Silva also highlighted that Google pays tens of millions of dollars in tax to the Australian government in accordance to law.

Additionally, Silva took exception to the accusations the company ‘uses’ or ‘steals’ news content. Instead, she says Google simply links people to what they’re looking for, which includes news. As for the decline in traditional news revenues, she points to the loss of print classified advertising to online forums.

What changes does Google want in the proposed legislation?

Silva suggests three key changes in the proposed law which she says will “prevent news businesses getting even more special treatment at the expense of other Australians”.

First, Google says the law as it stands would force the company to give “news publishers advance notice of significant changes to search and other products and tell them how to minimise the effect on them”.

Stating that this disadvantages bloggers and small businesses, Silva instead wants to see that amended to require only “reasonable notice about significant actionable changes”.

Second, Google is concerned about the safety of the data it holds. Silva warns the current law would force them to inform news businesses on how they can “gain access” to data about how Australians use Google services.

Silva writes that a workable amendment Google would support would clarify that the company does not need to share any more information that what it already supplies to publishers under current law.

And third, Silva says that the current draft law inhibits fair negotiation, handing too much power to the news businesses “to make claims about the value they say they offer Google, while ignoring the more than $200 million in value that Google provides to publishers each year by sending people to their websites”.

Google want this changed to acknowledge the value that both sides are offering.

The Alphabet Inc Class C (NASDAQ: GOOG) share price — or Google’s share price in plain English — is up 11% year-to-date.

That gives Google a market cap north of US$1 trillion (AU$1.37 trillion). Plenty of fire power to wage a legal battle.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (C shares). We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The post What you need to know about Google’s open letter update to Australians appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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