World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners Lee Opposes Australia's News Payment Plan
World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Opposes Australia's News Payment Plan
The digital giants have also made submissions to the inquiry, with Facebook urging a return to the voluntary code of conduct.
By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 20 January 2021 12:17 IST
Berners-Lee said he is concerned that the code risks breaching a fundamental principle of the Web
Berners-Lee created the Web in 1989
He said he supports need for publishers to be properly rewarded
Office of the US Trade Representative urged Australia to abandon its plan
World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee says Australia's plan to force digital giants to pay media outlets for news content is "unworkable" and undermines a "fundamental principle" of the Internet.
Canberra is pursuing world-first laws that would require Google and Facebook to compensate Australian news organisations, or pay millions of dollars in fines.
The aggressive move to check the tech giants' power has prompted blowback from the US firms, with Facebook warning Australians could be blocked from sharing articles on its "News Feed", while Google has been experimenting with hiding local news in searches.
Berners-Lee, a computer scientist who created the Web in 1989, said in a submission to an Australian Senate inquiry he is "concerned that the code risks breaching a fundamental principle of the Web by requiring payment for linking between certain content online".
"The ability to link freely - meaning without limitations regarding the content of the linked site and without monetary fees - is fundamental to how the Web operates, how it has flourished till present, and how it will continue to grow in decades to come," he wrote.
In the submission dated January 18, Berners-Lee said he supports the need for publishers to be "properly rewarded" for their work but "constraints on the use of hypertext links are not the correct way to achieve this goal".