The Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) (S.1094) by a 14-7 vote. This is the same legislation that passed the Committee last year but did not pass the Senate. The legislation must be passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives before being sent to the President for his signature. So, there is a long way to go before this bill becomes law.
The legislation addresses the unfairness in the bargaining positions between Big Tech and local news originators such as broadcasters and newspapers. It gives local stations and newspapers a limited exemption from the antitrust laws and allows them to bargain collectively with Big Tech. The legislation would:
Allow 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 (i.e., Big Tech) over the pricing, terms, and conditions under which the covered platform’s access to digital news content.
Big Tech, 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, must 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.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D. MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) lead this bipartisan legislation to address dominant online platforms’ power over news organizations. Concerns over Big Techs' influence on news have increased with the development of AI.
Sen Amy Klobuchar’s statement on the legislation can be seen here.
You can see a video of the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the legislation here.