On Monday, February 23, local time, Microsoft announced its cooperation with European media to develop arbitration system following the Australian model, forcing big technology companies to pay for news sources.
Microsoft's alliance with European media has taken advantage of the plight of its Silicon Valley competitors, deepened the troubles of Google and Facebook, and expanded its search engine Bing into a news search engine that is friendly to the media.
The informal alliance includes the European Publishers Council, news media Europe and associations for European magazine and newspaper publishers, representing thousands of news organizations in Europe. They propose to add the plan to EU legislation targeting large technology companies.
Microsoft and European media said on Monday that they would support some form of arbitration and pay close attention to the model expected to be implemented in Australia. It was this model that prompted Google to reach a series of licensing agreements to stop Facebook from sharing local Australian news on its services.
Microsoft publicly expressed its support for Australia's reform and urged other countries to follow suit, which disappointed its competitors.
Australia's proposed legislation system has attracted the attention of regulators all over the world. They have been looking for ways to give the media more say in licensing negotiations with Google and Facebook.
Canada is preparing to introduce Australian style laws, and the European Union and the United Kingdom are also seeking to introduce corresponding elements into the forthcoming laws. It is unclear whether Facebook's decision to boycott Australian news will change legislators' thinking.
EU governments are implementing a recently revised copyright law that highlights media claims that Google needs to pay for the use of its news digest.
But industry executives and some members of the European Parliament worry that the rules do not include any arbitration system for dispute resolution and that large technology groups can easily avoid them. Google recently reached a licensing agreement with French media, but the amount paid is far less than the settlement agreement with Australian media.
A British media has reached a business news agreement with Google and Facebook, but it is not a member of the association involved in Microsoft's actions.
Both Google and Facebook strongly criticized Australia's approach as infeasible and unfair. Facebook has yet to comment on Microsoft's actions in Europe.