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What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Europe's press publishers have jointly called for Australian-style arbitration to help publishers get paid.
  • The goal of Microsoft and the press publishers is to ensure that publishers get paid when their content is used by "gatekeepers that have dominant market power."
  • A similar push is occurring in Australia at the moment.

Microsoft continues its efforts to push for the payment of publishers. Today, Microsoft and Europe's press publishers jointly called for an "Australian-style arbitration mechanism in Europe to ensure tech gatekeepers remunerate press publishers fairly for use of content." This push from Microsoft and publishers aims to ensure that publishers of content are paid when content is used by websites like Facebook and Google.

The press release refers to "gatekeepers that have dominant market power" using content. In practice, this refers to organizations with a large footprint and market share, such as Facebook and Google. The release states:

The solution should mandate payments for the use of press publishers' content by these gatekeepers and should include arbitration provisions, to ensure that fair agreements are negotiated. Such provisions should consider the model established by the Australian law, which enables an arbitral panel to establish a fair price based on an assessment of the benefits derived by each side in having the news content included on these gatekeepers' platforms, the costs of producing this content, and any undue burden an amount would place on the platforms themselves.

The release calls for further regulatory measures through existing frameworks such as the Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, and other laws.

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Fernando de Yarza, president of News Media Europe says:

The experiences in France and Australia have shown us that there's a real need for a binding instrument to address inherent imbalances in bargaining power with gatekeepers, which undermine the potential of Europe's press sector. We look forward to working with Microsoft and others on a solution that allows for a healthy and diverse online news media ecosystem.

Microsoft has been vocal in its support of the Australia proposal that many countries are looking to imitate. In fact, Microsoft president Brad Smith called on the US to copy the proposal.

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