AUSTRALIA is being hailed as the next Silicon Valley, but many Australians are not getting a free ride.
The Federal Government is giving Google a $25 million boost to help it crack down on piracy.
The move comes as the search giant is facing a raft of legal action from its online rivals and other tech companies.
The funding comes as Google is facing allegations that its new BTV-like streaming service infringes copyright.
It has also been accused of stealing data from content owners, and has been embroiled in a massive legal battle with rival video streaming site Netflix.
But Google has been fighting back, arguing that the money is just for licensing deals, not for building new services.
“We have seen significant growth in the US, and are committed to growing this globally,” Google Australia’s head of media, Chris Buck, said.
“The $25m funding will go towards expanding our partnerships, partnering with content providers, helping us identify new opportunities and delivering more value for Australians.”
The Government says the funding is in recognition of the success of the Binge on service.
“It will allow us to continue to build on our partnerships and support our users to innovate in the digital future,” Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.
But a number of internet companies have already launched Binge-on services, and many Australians have expressed concerns about the new system.
“There is a very good argument to be made for Binge in terms of the ease with which content is available to Australians, and that it would have a significant impact on consumers’ consumption,” Consumer Action MP David Leyonhjelm told the ABC.
“But in reality, Australians are paying $40 per month for a TV package that they could easily rent for a couple of dollars.”
The Federal Competition and Consumer Commission has said it has received complaints about BingeOn from consumers, with one of the biggest being that it interfered with Netflix’s business model.
It is now investigating claims the system was interfering with video streaming services.