The Senate Judiciary Committee has favorably voted 14-7 for the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act< (JCPA) (S. 1094), which would allow digital journalism providers to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook for fair compensation for use of their valuable content. The tech platforms are the dominant distributors of news content, reaping tremendous financial benefit without compensation to those who create the content. They also capture the majority of U.S. digital ad revenue, leaving local publishers with little to reinvest in the production of high-quality journalism.
“For too long, Big Tech has profited from using news content on their platforms, without paying the creators of that content. The JCPA will give small and local publishers a seat at the table and channel critical revenue to them to help sustain the high-quality journalism Americans need and depend on,” said News/Media Alliance President & CEO Danielle Coffey. “We applaud Chairwoman Klobuchar and Senator Kennedy for their enduring commitment to preserving journalism and their ongoing support of the JCPA. We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of this monumental legislation for journalism publishers across our country.”
The JCPA has broad support, not only in Congress in both the House and the Senate (16 co-sponsors in the 118th Congress to date, on both sides of the aisle, with 90 total co-sponsors in the previous Congress), but also from over 300 consumer interest groups, unions, conservatives, advocacy groups and third-party organizations that have sent letters of support for the JCPA to the bill sponsors.
In January, seven leading journalism, media, and pro-consumer antitrust advocacy organizations – including the News/Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association, America’s Newspapers, Authors Guild, American Economic Liberties Project, Inter American Press Association, and the Radio Television Digital News Association – sent a joint letter to President Biden urging him to call on Congress to advance the JCPA. The letter outlines the plight of local news, in which news publishers have been forced to play by Big Tech’s rules of the digital advertising playing field for years, resulting in the loss of more than a quarter of U.S. newspapers since 2005 and the spread of news deserts across the country. In their letter, the groups underscore the importance of passing the JCPA as the best solution to ensuring news publishers are compensated fairly for use of their content by the dominant tech platforms.
In addition, over 24,000 individuals have signed a Change.org petition for the bill and over 1,000 editorials and op-eds in support of the JCPA have been published in newspapers in 48 states across the country. In a poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted last spring by Schoen Cooperman Research for the News/Media Alliance, 70 percent of Americans said they support Congress passing the JCPA.
Claims made about the bill by the opposition are unfounded and not supported by the text of the legislation. Under the JCPA, jobs will be created; news outlets will publicly disclose funds received and how it is spent; payment will not be required for links; and platforms will not be forced to carry extreme content. The JCPA will lead to open and vetted compensation for digital journalism outlets for the fair market value the platforms receive. The Myths and Facts around these claims are important to honest and productive discourse.
The Alliance thanks Senator Klobuchar, Senator Kennedy, and all of the co-sponsors of this bill for their leadership in pursuing this legislation and for their commitment to a free press.
The markup proceedings can be viewed here.