Committee votes 9-0 to support California Journalism Preservation Act
The California State Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection voted 9-0 in favor of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA, AB 886) at an important hearing this week in Sacramento.
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. The bill’s proponents say journalism creators are not currently being adequately compensated for the use of their content. It “takes a tremendous investment to produce, and therefore, cannot reinvest enough in journalists and newsrooms,” according to a News/Media Alliance press release.
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 and General Counsel, Danielle Coffey, testified at the hearing, alongside Assemblymember Wicks and Matt Pearce, representing labor unions.
“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,” Coffey said. “We are very happy with the outcome of the hearing in California, and we look forward to next steps as the bill moves forward.”
News/Media Alliance has been advocating for such legislation at the federal level since 2018. The Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, which was reintroduced in the 117th Congress (S. 673 and H.R. 1735), passed through Senate Judiciary Committee markup in September 2021 and nearly passed into law in December of that year 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.
“The dominant tech platforms reap the vast majority of the online revenue at news publishers’ expense,” Coffey added. “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.”
For more information on the federal JCPA, visit JCPABill.com.