In Hopeful Moment for Future of Local & Independent Journalism, JCPA Advances in Senate

September 22, 2022 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote today to advance the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a bill that would allow journalism providers to bargain with digital platforms for compensation for content, the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.

“Today’s vote is a win for democracy and a blow against Facebook and Google’s extraordinary power over it. A diverse, decentralized news media is essential for protecting American democracy, and the bipartisan JCPA offers a desperately-needed lifeline to news outlets that are being eaten alive by Big Tech’s business model,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “We’re grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Kennedy for their leadership in advancing this critically important piece of legislation and will continue to work with partners to ensure the JCPA passes the full Senate.”

The JCPA rebalances the unequal relationship between tech platforms and news organizations by creating a time-limited, 8-year “safe harbor” exemption to our antitrust laws, allowing smaller publishers and news organizations to coordinate together to bargain with tech platforms without running afoul of the law. An amendment added today bars newspapers and platforms from negotiating over content moderation terms.

The JCPA also has provisions that ensure the stability and fairness of the negotiation process itself. Tech platforms and news media providers are held to the same standards: they must both make reasonable, good-faith proposals that must be responded to in a timely manner to prevent stalling. A neutral arbitration board is designated to resolve any standstills in the process and is tasked with providing a fair and final judgement if news organizations and tech platforms can’t come to an agreement. To protect the integrity of the process, the JCPA also explicitly protects journalism providers from any form of retaliation by tech platforms.

To learn more, read “Should Congress save newspapers from Google,” in Fast Company and “Minority-Owned Media and the Digital Duopoly.”

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.