Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

New Rule Threatens Free Google Search and YouTube in Australia

By Danny Vena – Aug 17, 2020 at 3:26PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

A landmark proposal could force big changes to the company's free services.

Alphabet's (GOOGL -0.68%) (GOOG -0.73%) Google published an open letter to Australians on Monday, warning that a proposed new law in the country -- which would require the company to pay for news content that appears via its search -- could derail the free search and YouTube video services Google offers in Australia.

The search leader has also suspended a licensing agreement it had reached with Australian publishers earlier this year that paid select news publishers for access to their content. 

The Google logo in front of plants.

The reception area in Google's campus in Sydney, Australia. Image source: Google.

"We need to let you know about new Government regulation that will hurt how Australians use Google Search and YouTube," the company said in an open letter to Aussies that was signed by Mel Silva, Google's managing director in the country. 

The letter went on to say that the proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, "would force [Google] to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses -- news media businesses -- over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business." As a result of the proposal, Google said it could no longer guarantee its free search and YouTube services in Australia.

Google also went on the offensive, publishing a blog to its YouTube creators and artists in the country, saying that it would be forced to "give large news publishers confidential information" that would give them an advantage in terms of search rankings on YouTube, meaning content creators would receive fewer views and therefore earn less money. 

Not only would the new legislation create an "uneven playing field" but would also grant the big news organizations access to viewer data.

Australian regulators hit back, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission saying Google's characterization "contains misinformation" about the proposed law. 

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$97.50 (-0.68%) $0.67
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$98.09 (-0.73%) $0.72

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.