Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who might have just done enough to filch the title of Man of Steel from John Winston Howard, made it plain on Friday morning that the party was over and that Google and Facebook would have to fork out big fees to traditional news outlets, or face fines of up to 10% of their local turnover which could come to as much as $10 million.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has indicated that its draft code of conduct had been released and would be open for comment until the end of August.
The code is meant to govern the commercial dealings between these digital behemoths and Australian media organisations.
Frydenberg said the code would create that mythical entity, a "level playing field".
"We want Google and Facebook to continue to provide these services to the Australian community, which are so much loved and used by Australians," he said. "But we want it to be on our terms.
"We want it to be in accordance with our law and we want it to be fair."
Google and Facebook will be the first two digital platforms to be governed by the code; Frydenberg said he would decide later on which other digital platforms would come under the ambit of the code.
Platforms that are covered by the code will have to negotiate payments with media outlets in "good faith", something that Google and Facebook are not known for.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the code did not place a fixed value on content or attempt to limit the kind of agreement that the digital platforms worked out with media outlets.
"The code contemplates that it could be one of more possibilities, it could be a fixed annual sum or it could be a payment per item of content," he said.
And, if companies refused to negotiate, the Frydenberg indicated that he had a big stick in reserve, with penalties which could go as high as 10% of the company's Australian turnover (ouch!).
As to the eligibility of news organisations to benefit from these payments, judgment will be made by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.