Before I start talking about the incredible turn-around in what the mainstream media want from Google, I’d just like to point out the current government’s latest trick to move your money into their own pockets.
You probably heard about their trick with superannuation access where, if you accessed $10,000 from your account, you had to spend that before you became eligible for JobSeeker. Anyway, there’s a new proposal on the table where – instead of rises to your super – you can take the money as a wage increase. This is, according to Tim “Trust Me” Wilson, a way of helping you to afford a house so you won’t be homeless in your old age. For the sake of argument let’s presume that you’re on $100,000 and you forgo the 0.5% super rise. Now, if you’re thinking the this will give you an extra $500 per annum and should greatly increase your chances of owning your own home, I have some bad news for you: You’ll need to pay tax on the money which will mean that instead of the fifteen percent you’d pay if it went into your super, it’ll be thirty percent plus the Medicare Levy. Yep, that’s right. If the government can talk you into taking your super increase as a wage rise, then you’ll be paying twice as much tax, but you probably won’t even notice because who looks at their super and hey, there’s more money in my pay cheque… at least enough for an extra coffee a week.
Brilliant way of paying off their enormous debt, eh?
Anyway, before I begin to ask just what the government thinks it’s doing with the proposal to make Google and others pay for content, I’d like to put on record that I think that there is a case to be made that some of the big technology companies are getting a little too big for anybody’s comfort and we need to have a good hard look at them and how we can regulate to ensure that they don’t abuse their power.
HOWEVER when it comes to the recent events, I’d like to explain it in terms of a little analogy.
Imagine I see a YouTube clip that someone has posted online. (Actually in this case, it’s me but that’s not the point. You’ll need to pretend that I’m two different people for a mom.) I decide to share it with this link. Clip from YouTube Rossleigh.
Now, suddenly an extra five or five thousand go to that clip and YouTube Rossleigh is really annoyed because he’s not making any money from the clip so he wants me to pay him for writing about it and sending people to the site. I don’t want to pay him because I’m a greedy capitalist who wants to keep all my money and I tell him that it’s his business model that needs fixing and if he can’t make money from the way he’s set up his YouTube channel then that’s not my problem. He gets his local member, Josh Frydenberg to change legislation to make me pay him for directing traffic to his site. At this point, I remove the link and this outrages Joshie and YouTube Rossleigh who both think that I should be compelled to mention provide links because, well, how will he get traffic to his site otherwise?
This loosely is how the Google/Australian media controversy has gone. If I use Google to look up Scott Morrison to see whether he’s announced that he’s taking another break and I’m directed to an article by newspaper that doesn’t have a paywall, then they’ll be relying on advertising from the traffic that goes to their site in order to make money. Why they’d argue that Google should be forced to pay, I can’t work out. It would be different if Google was plagiarising the articles or breaching their copyright, but if the media companies aren’t happy with this arrangement, then they can put all their articles behind a paywall.
But it does seem odd to me, that Josh Frydenberg and the media companies are now crying foul because it seems that Google is experimenting with ways of excluding them from searches.
You can’t have it both ways, even if you’re a friend of the current government. Although I guess they’ve grown used to the idea that you can support the free market because it’s supposedly the most efficient thing that there is, while demanding government intervention and subsidies every time the market doesn’t do what you’d like.
After call, government MPs have no problem calling for a boycott of the ANZ because they don’t want to risk money lending to coal companies, then becoming outraged about “cancel culture” when someone calls for a boycott of one of their owners… Whoops, that was meant to be “donors” but perhaps autocorrect knows best!
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