Briefing

Microsoft, EU publishers align on plan to compel Big Tech to pay for news

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Hatched by the Seattle company and four EU news-industry lobby groups, the plan could force the likes of Google and Facebook into arbitrage with content producers should they not come up with a fair price for news posted to their sites. (The Associated Press)

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Talking point: The move suggests a likely showdown between Microsoft-EU and Big Tech. The coalition said it will “take inspiration” from Australia’s proposed legislation forcing the platforms to pay for news content on their sites. Facebook last week restricted publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing news content as a result of the proposed law, while Google struck a series of syndication deals with the country’s publishers. (Meanwhile, Google’s parent company Alphabet is in talks to bring Google News back to Spain, which it exited in 2014 over the country’s licensing fees.) While Microsoft lauded Australia’s news producers as being “vital to the country’s democracy,” the company also has an ulterior motive: to get news publishers to switch over from Google to its Bing search engine.