Lawmakers Introduce Revised Bill To Boost News Outlets In Negotiations With Tech Giants

Lawmakers from both parties have introduced revised legislation that would allow news publishers and broadcasters to jointly negotiate with major tach platforms for access to their content.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would create a “safe harbor” from antitrust laws for a period of eight years for newspapers, broadcast stations and digital journalism outlets. The legislation has been proposed multiple times in recent years, but so far has failed to move forward. It’s intended to boost local news outlets, which have withered in the face of online competition.

The latest version places limits on the size of news outlets that can collectively negotiate, prohibiting news outlets with more than 1,500 full-time employees. It would require so-called “gatekeeper platforms” — i.e. Google and Facebook — to negotiate in “good faith” with the news organizations. The platforms are defined as those with at least 50 million U.S.-based users or subscribers, or those owned or controlled by entities with a market cap of greater than $550 billion or at least one billion monthly active users worldwide.

In their negotiations, the news outlets could collectively withhold their content during negotiations or arbitration. The tech giants also are prohibited from discrimination or retaliation against the digital journalism outlets. The bill also allows for the entities and platforms to file suit for alleged violations.

The main sponsors of the legislation are Rep. David Cicilline, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Rep, Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in the House and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate.

The text of the revised bill is here.

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