FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arlington, VA – Last night, at a hearing of the California State Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, members voted 9-0 in favor of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA, AB 886).
The bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) in March, would require Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Google to pay news publishers a “journalism usage fee” to use local news content. Currently, creators of quality journalism are not adequately compensated for the use of their content that takes a tremendous investment to produce, and therefore, cannot reinvest enough in journalists and newsrooms.
The CJPA would also promote the hiring of more journalists, requiring news publishers to invest 70 percent of the profits from the usage fee into journalism jobs.
News/Media Alliance Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Danielle Coffey, testified at the hearing, alongside Assemblymember Wicks and Matt Pearce, representing labor unions.
Coffey stated, “We applaud Assemblymember Wicks and the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee for recognizing the value of high-quality journalism and the need for journalism providers to be compensated fairly for the use of their content by the tech platforms. We are very happy with the outcome of the hearing in California, and we look forward to next steps as the bill moves forward.”
The Alliance has been vocally advocating for such legislation at the federal level since 2018. The Journalism Competition & Preservation Act (JCPA), which was reintroduced in the 117th Congress (S. 673 and H.R. 1735), passed through Senate Judiciary Committee markup in September and nearly passed into law in December before the Congress ended. Senate Antitrust Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator John N. Kennedy (R-LA) reintroduced the JCPA, which has strong bipartisan support, in the Senate (S. 1094) on March 31.
Coffey added, “The dominant tech platforms reap the vast majority of the online revenue at news publishers’ expense. If balance isn’t restored to the marketplace, we will continue to see local newspapers closing at the same alarming rate, leaving bigger and bigger news deserts that encourage misinformation, confusion and corruption to dominate, threatening democracy and our constitutional right to a free press.”
The News/Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 news and magazine media organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print and digital publishers of original journalism. Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., the association focuses on ensuring the future of journalism through communication, research, advocacy, and innovation. Information about the News/Media Alliance can be found at www.newsmediaalliance.org.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.