Google inks landmark agreements with Australian media giants

From CNET: Google has been in a highly publicized spat with the Australian government in recent months over a bill -- the News Media Bargaining Code -- that would force the company to pay news publishers for stories that surface in Google Search inquiries. The conflict almost turned into a confrontation, with Google at one point threatening to pull search out of Australia entirely if it was forced to pay for news links and snippets that Google Search provides.

Now, after a Senate committee last week recommended the bill pass through Parliament and become law, Google appears to be taking a more conciliatory approach. On Tuesday it signed a deal worth over AU$30 million (US$23 million) per year with Nine Entertainment, a media giant and one of the biggest lobbyists for the Media Code. The deal was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, one of many news properties owned by Nine.

It comes days after a similar deal with Seven West -- another Australian media behemoth which, like Nine, owns properties across TV, radio and print -- signed a deal with Google, said to also be worth around AU$30 million.

This is big news for Australia's large publishers, which stand to cut lucrative deals with both Google and Facebook. But it's arguably bigger news for Google, which could be forced to ink similar licensing agreements with media companies around the world. A member of European Parliament told CNET last week he hopes to integrate measures similar to those in Australia's Media Code into upcoming legislation, and a Canadian minister has cited Australia's example as reason to push Google and Facebook into paying publishers in his country.

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