Australian lawmakers are expected to hold a final vote on Tuesday on whether to endorse legislation that would force Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay news outlets for content.
The proposed laws are being closely watched by other countries, which are considering whether to follow Australia’s lead in challenging big technology firms’ dominance in the news content market.
WHERE THE LEGISLATION STANDS
The legislation has already been approved by the House of Representatives, the lower house of Parliament. It has now moved to the Senate, the upper house.
Australian senators began debating the legislation on Monday, with several opposition and independent lawmakers proposing amendments. So far, no amendments have been approved.
Australia’s government does not have a majority in the Senate so the legislation could be amended.
If the Senate approves amendments, the legislation will need to return to the lower house, where the government holds a majority.
If the Senate does not amend the legislation, it will hold a further two votes in order to pass the bill.
The Senate is scheduled to resume debating the legislation in the early afternoon on Tuesday. Without amendments, it could pass quickly, but a prolonged debate could see a final vote delayed until the early evening.
Should the Senate vote in favour of the legislation after the third reading, it must go to Australia’s Governor General for royal ascent before it becomes law, a formality.
Australia is poised to become the first country to impose a regulatory requirement on Facebook and Google to pay media companies for news content.
Others are expected to follow. Canada said last week it would adopt similar legislation proposed by Australia. Britain is also expected to unveil new rules that the government said would “try and help rebalance the relationship between publishers and online platforms.”
France’s copyright rules require large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content.