On January 30, the News/Media Alliance filed comments with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to inform their annual Special 301 Review. The Review, required by Congress pursuant to the Trade Act of 1975, highlights foreign countries, laws, policies, and practices that fail to protect and enforce intellectual property rights adequately and effectively. The Alliance’s comments were in response to and addressed arguments made by big tech stakeholders in previous years in response to various USTR proceedings, including Special 301, criticizing global efforts to level the playing field between publishers and the dominant online platforms and to require platforms to compensate publishers for the use of news content. The comments argued that not only were these policies – such as Canada’s proposed Online News Bill or Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code – outside the remit of the Special 301 Review, they are not discriminatory or in violation of international law. Instead, they are informed by an important public policy objective, shared by the United States, of protecting the sustainability of and our communities’ continued access to high-quality journalism. The comments urged the USTR to remain neutral on these policies in the Special 301 Report. Read the full comments here.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.