The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would allow news organizations to jointly negotiate fair terms for access to their content by Google, Facebook, and other dominant platforms.
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, issued the statement below after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Journalism Competition Preservation Act by a 15-7 vote. Klobuchar and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) lead this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address dominant online platforms’ power over news organizations.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee has once again stood up to monopoly tech companies on a bipartisan basis. 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 , 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,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation ensures media outlets will be able to 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 of keeping communities informed. Now that this bill has advanced through the Judiciary Committee with a strong bipartisan vote, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it passed by the full Senate and signed into law.”
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which Klobuchar and Kennedy introduced alongside Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO), 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 six years.