I groan anytime I see someone from the Australian government claim their battle against the tech giants about media royalty payments is to ‘protect local news.’ The largest beneficiary of this action is News Corporation, who demolished local news during its global expansion in the last century. Big tech did not kill local media, they just picked the cadaver’s pockets at the scene of the crime.
Facebook verses the Australian Government is a proxy for Facebook verses News Corporation. Google, hoping for one less regulatory problem, signed a global licensing deal with News Corporation earlier this week. This will be Google’s last deal of substance on this matter in English speaking countries. Any other companies hoping for a payment are now out of luck.
Facebook is going to be a tougher nut for News Corporation to crack as Mark Zuckerberg sees Rupert Murdoch as a relic. What remains of the Murdoch empire, after the sale of its content assets to Disney, is a collection of red ink bleeding newspapers and TV stations propped up by the river of money generated by Fox News.
Rupert was smart to sell off the important parts of Fox at a time he could get a premium for the assets. This tilt at Big Tech to collect fees is just an attempt to squeeze the last of the juice from his old media lemon. Zuckerberg knows that and he would rather go to war with Murdoch’s Australian government proxy rather than make a payment to what he sees as an irrelevant company.
Zuckerberg is just looking to do to Murdoch what Murdoch did to local news.