The Nine Entertainment newspapers reported on Monday that the government was looking at making this concession, with the outcome being that the two services that were to be designated for inclusion by name — Google Search and Facebook NewsFeed — would not be specified in the law.
The law, in its current form, does not include Instagram and YouTube. The Nine report said Seven News, one of the three commercial free-to-air TV channels in Australia, was expected to announced a deal with Google soon.
Google launched something called News Showcase in October, and introduced it in Australia on 5 February, a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a video chat with Alphabet and Google chief Sundar Pichai.
The government has already given ground on three major aspects of the code, among them (1) the time interval for informing publishers about algorithm changes (reduced from 28 days to 14); (2) that digital platforms can factor in the value of the service they provide to a news organisation in monetary terms before the quantum of payment is decided; and (3) that the law would only apply to Google Search and Facebook's NewsFeed. YouTube and Instagram are not covered.
But if the government does grant the two digital platforms this concession, then that would raise questions over the need for having a law at all.
Last week, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, which was holding consultations on the law, recommended to Parliament that it be passed without any changes.