Local News Support: California’s Proposed Law Targets Tech Giants
The objective of a proposed law in California is to mandate internet giants to compensate for news stories, offering crucial assistance to local news organizations that have faced financial challenges due to the overwhelming presence of industry leaders such as Google and Facebook.
The California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) has cleared the state assembly and now awaits consideration in the state senate.
Meta’s Opposition: Threats and Concerns
Meta, the owner of Facebook, has voiced opposition to the CJPA, threatening to remove news content from its platform if the bill becomes law. They argue against contributing to what they refer to as a “slush fund” that primarily benefits large, out-of-state media companies. However, proponents of the bill argue that it is essential for the sustainability of local journalism.
CJPA Progress: Approval and Legislative Path
Following its approval by the state assembly, the CJPA now moves to the state senate for further evaluation and potential amendments. Ultimately, it would require the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom to become law. The bill seeks to establish a monthly “journalism usage fee” that large online platforms would pay to news providers for featuring their content.
Global Precedents: Similar Laws and Tech Giants’ Responses
The CJPA reflects a global trend of holding tech giants accountable for their impact on the news industry. In Australia, a similar law prompted Facebook to briefly block news articles, while Google faced pressure to pay media groups. The European Union has also implemented copyright fee requirements for tech companies regarding links shared in search results.
Criticisms and Concerns: Chamber of Progress and Misinformation Claims
The Chamber of Progress, representing tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta, criticizes the CJPA, claiming that it primarily benefits national media outlets known for spreading misinformation. Critics argue that the bill needs further refinement to address potential flaws and ensure fair distribution of funds to support quality journalism.
Funding and Impact: Payment Structure and Meta’s Opposition
Under the CJPA, online platforms would pay fees based on the number of views, providing a potential revenue stream for news providers. Meta, however, points out that the bill does not guarantee that the funds will be allocated to news reporters.
As the debate continues, the bill awaits further discussions and potential voting in the state senate committee, with the outcome expected to have significant implications for the future of local news.