Journalism Competition and Preservation Act Introduced
|RADIO ONLINE | Friday, March 31, 2023|
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, and John Kennedy (R-LA) reintroduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, their bipartisan legislation to address dominant online platforms' power over news organizations. Last Congress, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 15-7.
"As the daughter of a newspaperman, I understand firsthand the vital role that a free press plays in strengthening our democracy. But local news is facing an existential crisis, from ad revenues plummeting and newsrooms across the country closing to artificial intelligence tools taking content. To preserve strong, independent journalism, news organizations must be able to negotiate on a level playing field with the online platforms that dominate news distribution and digital advertising," said Klobuchar. "Our bipartisan legislation ensures that media outlets can band together and negotiate for fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work."
"Local papers -- especially the independent papers in Louisiana -- are the heart and soul of journalism, and they break the news that millions of Americans rely on every day. 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," said Kennedy.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
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 news broadcasters that engage in standard newsgathering practices -- to form joint negotiation entities to collectively negotiate with a covered platform over the pricing, terms, and conditions under which 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 views 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.
NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said, "NAB commends the ongoing leadership of Sens. Klobuchar, Kennedy and their bipartisan cosponsors with the reintroduction of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. In the current media landscape, local news outlets - including local television and radio stations - are at the mercy of a handful of Big Tech gatekeepers whose anticompetitive terms devalue our content when it is increasingly accessed online. This legislation would level the playing field by enabling fair negotiations and increased investment in local newsrooms."
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