News Antitrust Bill Fails to Make Omnibus Spending Package

U.S. Capitol Dome
(Image credit:

It appears that Big Tech’s lobbying blitz against including the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act and the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) in the omnibus must-pass bill has succeeded.

"The JCPA is a highly-controversial piece of legislation that did not belong in any end-of-year spending packages, and we are thankful Congressional leaders recognized this basic fact and successfully kept the JCPA out of the omnibus and all other lame duck legislation," Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel said. "The JCPA continues to threaten local journalism while rewarding Big Media and censor free speech while hurting a free press, but we will remain vigilant against subsequent attempts to ram this contentious legislation through. We urge Congressional leaders to reject the JCPA."

Big Tech backers had been playing to conservatives' fears of Silicon Valley censorship in calling on everyone within earshot in Washington to oppose the bill, which would give online news content providers, notably broadcasters, an antitrust exemption to collectively negotiate with online platforms for compensation for the aggregation and retransmission over the internet of their valuable content.

KOSA, which passed unanimously in the Senate Commerce Committee last July, would attempt to protect children's online mental health, including addressing issues like body image, eating disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.

One Big Tech-targeted bill that did make it onto the spending measure was the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act. The bill, backed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), directs the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct research on technology and the media's effects on children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development."

But Markey's bill updating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act to include teens did not make it. Markey said that development works against stemming the harmful effects of a lack of online privacy protections on "cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development." 

The spending bill needs to pass to to prevent a government shutdown by week's end.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told CNN's Jake Tapper he had no idea why the Big TEch regulating legislation was excluded from the final bill. ■

John Eggerton

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.