Google and other big tech companies may be facing another ruling requiring these companies to pay news publishers for their articles. 

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act was introduced in the house on March 10, 2021.

Australia introduced a similar legislation where it proposed the News Media Bargaining Code Law, which follows an inquiry from 2019 that found Google and Facebook have been taking a significantly large share of the revenue although the content came from local media organisations. 

The US is requesting Google, Facebook and other big tech companies to negotiate deals with US news publishers to pay for the use of their content. This bill is being led by two political parties, namely by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative David Cicilline who are both Democrats. The bill is being sponsored by Republicans, Senator John Kennedy and Representative Ken Buck. 

The difference between the legislation imposed by the US and Australia is the US will not be passing this bill with such a heavy hand, rather the US will embrace a hands-off approach during the negotiations to allow tech companies and news publishers to come to an agreement. 

What does this new legislation mean?

If this bill passes, the legislation will allow news publishers to enter into negotiations with Google and Facebook. The different types of news publishers including print, broadcast and digital news companies will be able to work together to negotiate with the various tech companies over a four-year period. During this time, those companies that wish to negotiate will not be subject to antitrust laws. 

During these unprecedented times, this new bill is aimed at helping the various news publishers as a whole rather than helping only a small number of large publishers. This means, if a deal is struck with one publisher, the same deal will apply to all other news publishers. In layman terms, publisher revenues have the potential to increase if the bill is passed. 

Senator Klobuchar emphasized that the bill will allow news publishers to negotiate on everything, including and not limited to advertising revenue and access to subscriber information. 

“This bill will give hardworking local reporters and publishers the helping hand they need right now, so they can continue to do their important work.” –  Representative Cicilline 

As the bill was introduced on March 10, Klobuchar has kicked off a series of antitrust hearings from March 11, as she is the chairwoman of the antitrust subcommittee. This committee aims to put pressure on the various tech companies to change antitrust laws in a digital world. 

(Image reference: Search Engine Journal)

Why should you care?

This announcement is following soon after Australia made a similar announcement. The general consensus is that, if Google can make an exception for one country, then it can do the same for another. 

If the bill is passed, US news publishers will be able to strike deals with Google and other big tech companies and boost their revenue saving the country from a fallen economy. Whether the bill will be passed or not is dependent on the lawmakers. Not long back the US had filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, read about it here.

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