Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill To Preserve Strong, Independent Journalism And News Organizations

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA), to the full Senate on a bipartisan vote of 14-7. The bill would allow news organizations to jointly negotiate fair compensation by Big Tech companies that profit from their news content.

“We all know the vital role that local newspapers and broadcasters play in informing the public, ensuring accountability, and promoting civic engagement. Yet, we’ve seen a massive decline in local news over the past few decades driven, in part, by large online gatekeepers like Google and Facebook siphoning away more and more of the advertising revenue that news organizations have traditionally relied upon to fund their work. The JCPA…will help reverse this trend by allowing news publishers…to band together and enter into structured negotiations with the biggest online platforms over access to news content. I am proud to support this legislation,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Daines (R-MT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Cassidy (R-LA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Graham (R-SC), Collins (R-ME), Manchin (D-WV), Lummis (R-WY), Booker (D-NJ), Wicker (R-MS), Hirono (D-HI), King (I-ME), and Feinstein (D-CA).

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 platforms access 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-broadcast 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.

An archived video of today’s hearing can be found here.