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On August 9, the News Media Alliance released a statement following reports that Facebook is planning to license content from news publishers, including headlines and previews. In the statement, Alliance President and CEO David Chavern welcomes the news but notes the need for more details about the plans. In particular, the statement calls for more details about the scope, terms, and effects of the plans on news publishers. The statement also emphasizes the need to level the playing field between news publishers and the dominant online platforms by passing the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act in Congress. According to news reports, Facebook would pay publishers up to $3 million a year for licensing content for their news tab, planned to be launched in the fall. Read more about Facebook’s reported plans here and the Alliance statement here.
On August 6, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, expressing concerns about the inclusion of broad immunities for online platforms in the newly negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA). Article 19.17 of the USMCA enshrines Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for the first time in an international agreement. Section 230 has recently come under intense scrutiny in the United States as Congress is actively considering various issues, ranging from illegal opioid sales to hate speech, that may require changes to the online liability provisions. In their letter, Reps. Pallone and Walden note that including the provision in a trade agreement at this time is “inappropriate.” Read the letter here.
On August 6, the News Media Alliance and the California News Publishers Association asked news publishers to support amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to protect access to high-quality journalism in California. While the law, set to go into effect on January 1, 2020, offers clear benefits to Californians for protection of their personal information online, it would severely restrict news publishers’ ability to benefit from the online advertising ecosystem. Digital advertising provides vital means for publishers to survive in today’s increasingly digital news environment. The Alliance and the CNPA are therefore asking California publishers to contact their state legislators to express support for high-quality journalism funded through responsible advertising without undermining the overall goals of the CCPA. You can contact your state legislator by clicking here.