A group of U.S. legislators has reintroduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. This measure seeks to grant local media outlets a limited antitrust exemption, so increasing their negotiating leverage when dealing with large technology corporations.
If this bill is passed, it will create a limited exemption from antitrust rules. This would allow news publishers and broadcast news operations with less than 1,500 full-time employees to organize joint bargaining bodies in order to collectively negotiate with a covered platform regarding the terms and circumstances of the tech platform’s access to digital news material. Furthermore, the proposed legislation will require the major web platforms to negotiate in good faith with qualifying news organizations.
The bill establishes regulations for the establishment, governance, operation, and termination of the joint negotiation body. It also exempts from antitrust rules particular activities made by a joint bargaining organization, such as suppliers collectively refusing a platform access to their content.
The bill specifies conditions for discussions, such as the need to engage in good faith. Furthermore, it creates standards for arbitration in restricted cases and allows for private rights of action if the negotiating prerequisites are not satisfied.
The bill had previously been submitted in Congress, but it was never passed. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved it with a 15-7 bipartisan majority. Attempts to incorporate the idea in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act were thwarted owing to Republican opposition and increasing lobbying by the tech industry.
The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.