A revised and expanded version of the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to address dominant online platforms’ power over news organizations has been announced.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Reps. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) and Ken Buck (R-Colorado); and Senate and House Judiciary Committee chairs Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) released a revised and expanded version of the bipartisan JCPA to address dominant online platforms’ power over news organizations.
The bill removes legal obstacles to news organizations’ ability to negotiate collectively and secure fair terms from gatekeeper platforms that regularly access news content without paying for its value. The legislation also allows news publishers to demand arbitration if they reach an impasse in those negotiations. The revised bill can be found here.
“As the daughter of a newspaperman, I understand firsthand the vital role that a free press plays in strengthening our democracy," said Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights. “But local news is facing an existential crisis in our country, with ad revenues plummeting, newspapers closing, and many rural communities becoming ‘news deserts’ without access to local reporting
"To preserve strong, independent journalism, we have to make sure news organizations are able to negotiate on a level playing field with the online platforms that have come to dominate news distribution and digital advertising.
"Our bipartisan legislation ensures media outlets will be able to engage in good faith negotiations to receive fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work of keeping communities informed.”
“Local papers are the heart and soul of journalism, and they break the news that millions of Americans rely on every day,” said Kennedy, Senate Judiciary Committee member and original sponsor of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. “However, tech giants like Facebook and Google are hammering local publications by keeping them from making a profit on Big Tech platforms — and it’s killing local journalism. This bill supports the little guy by allowing local news providers to better negotiate with tech companies for the earnings they deserve.As revised, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would:
• Empower eligible digital journalism providers — that is, news publishers with fewer than 1,500 exclusive full-time employees and non-network news broadcasters that engage in standard newsgathering practices — to form joint negotiation entities to collectively negotiate with a covered platform over the terms and conditions of the covered platform’s access to digital news content.
• Require covered platforms — which are online platforms that have at least 50 million U.S.-based users or subscribers and are owned or controlled by a person that has either net annual sales or market capitalization greater than $550 billion or at least 1 billion worldwide monthly active users — to negotiate in good faith with the eligible news organizations.
• Enable non-broadcaster news publishers to demand final-offer arbitration if their joint negotiation with a covered platform fails to result in an agreement after six months.
• Create a limited safe harbor from federal and state antitrust laws for eligible digital journalism providers that allows them to participate in joint negotiations and arbitration and, as part of those negotiations, to jointly withhold their content from a covered platform.
• Prohibit discrimination by a joint negotiation entity or a covered platform against an eligible digital journalism provider based on its size or the view expressed in its content and provide a private right of action for violations of this prohibition.
• Prohibit retaliation by a covered platform against eligible digital journalism providers for participating in joint negotiations or arbitration and provide a private right of action for violations of this prohibition.
• Sunset within eight years.