Skip to main content

Bill Would Allow Joint Negotiations with Edge Over News Content

A bipartisan bill has been introduced that would allow news outlets to collectively negotiate with "large online platforms"--like news aggregator Google--over how their content is used without running afoul of antitrust laws.

It is only the Hill's latest effort to address the market power of edge giants.

The bill, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, was introduced by Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee.

“The free press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Journalists keep the public informed, root out corruption and hold the powerful accountable,” said Rep. Cicilline. “This bill will provide a much-needed lifeline to local publishers who have been crushed by Google and Facebook. It’s about time we take a stand on this issue.”

The bill creates a "four-year safe harbor, which allows publications to negotiate without risking a fine for violating antitrust laws. During this period, newspapers can negotiate arrangements that give them more control over the content they produce and the revenue it delivers."

The bill comes only days after the the European Union adopted a new Copyright Directive that gives news outlets and other content producers more muscle in enforcing their rights over the content they create.

The News Media Alliance has been pushing for giving its members greater control over--and compensation for--the use of their content online.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.