The US Wants Facebook and Google to Pay Newspapers for Using Content

A bill submitted by both houses of Congress would provide American publishers with legal backing to demand technology giants pay for the use of their content; The proposal has garnered widespread support on both sides of the American political map, in a rare display of unity. Senator John F. Kennedy: “The press is in a life-and-death struggle against the tech giants, and this is not a decent battle.”

A bill submitted by both houses of Congress today (Thursday) will provide American publishers with legal backing to demand from technology companies, such as Facebook and Google, payment for the use of their content. The law, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act or JCCA for short, has garnered widespread support on both sides of the American political map – both Democrats and Republicans – for a rare display of unity.

The bill was first introduced about three years ago, and is based on the idea of allowing media companies to incorporate for a defined period of up to 48 months to negotiate with the technology giants. The need for the law is required because such an association may be considered coordination between competing entities and a violation of antitrust and U.S. competition laws.

Such conversations can give newspapers and other media an opportunity to demand payment for the use of headlines, article summaries, archival materials or other content. In addition, it will allow them to gain leverage that will force technology companies to promote authenticated content sourced from reputable media, rather than pushing conspiracy theories just because it is viral content. For the media, it is a recognition of the quality of the content they produce – while social networks and Internet companies will be required to present verified content, not Pike News or extreme content that promotes problematic agendas such as QAnon.

So far, two failed attempts have been made to move the proposal, in 2018 and 2019. In both cases it failed to overcome the obstacles in Congress, and now it is a third attempt. However, unlike previous attempts – made against the backdrop of Trump’s tenure and before the events of the Capitol attack – now, with the experience and lesson learned, it may be possible to advance the proposal until it becomes law.

 

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