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Australia passes law to make Google and Facebook pay to news companies

Australia’s law forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news is ready to take effect, though the laws’ architect says it will take time for the digital giants to strike media deals.

The Parliament on Thursday passed the final amendments to the so-called News Media Bargaining Code agreed between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday.

In return for the changes, Facebook agreed to lift a ban on Australians accessing and sharing news.

Rod Sims, the competition regulator who drafted the code, said he was satisfied the amended legislation would address the market imbalance between Australian news publishers and the two gateways to the internet.

“All signs are good,” Sims said.

“The purpose of the code is to address the market power that clearly Google and Facebook have. Google and Facebook need media, but they don’t need any particular media company, and that meant media companies couldn’t do commercial deals,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair added.

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