Australia has passed a new law that will force tech companies to pay publishers for news content, setting the stage for potential, similar action in other countries.
The new code, which the Australian parliament approved Thursday, "will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate," Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.
The country's unprecedented new law had been hotly debated in recent months. Facebook
(FB) and Google (GOOGL) had opposed the initial version of the legislation, which would have allowed media outlets to bargain either individually or collectively with them — and to enter binding arbitration if the parties couldn't reach an agreement.
even shut down news pages in Australia last week in opposition to the legislation. But it restored them earlier this week after the country made some changes to the code, including a provision that "must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses."
Arbitration, meanwhile, will now only be used as a "last resort" following a period of "good faith" mediation.
said after those revisions were made that the new agreement would allow it to "support the publishers we choose to." It later revealed a deal with major Australian news company Seven West Media.
Google, meanwhile, had already been trying to get ahead of the new legislation by announcing partnerships with media organizations in Australia, including Seven and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWS).
The Australian government said that the code will be reviewed by the Treasury department after a year to "ensure it is delivering outcomes that are consistent with the Government's policy intent."