JCPA Failed Last Congress, This Congress Will Be No Different
Last Congress, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) ultimately failed due to numerous problems with the legislation, including content moderation concerns and competition issues. Despite members of Congress reintroducing JCPA, this time will likely be no different as the text is identical and all these concerns remain.
Similarly, the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), introduced in March, is set to create several of the same issues as the JCPA, if not more.
Here is what you need to know:
1) Public Knowledge again urges Congress to reject JCPA, as Senior Policy Analyst Lisa Macpherson labels the bill a “misguided proposal.”
— “The JCPA expands the rights of content owners beyond the traditional bounds of copyright law in ways that would prove detrimental to the public interest. We urge Congress to again reject this misguided proposal and instead focus on policies that support independent journalism and foster a diverse and competitive media landscape.”
2) CCIA’s Krisztian Katona, VP of Global Competition and Regulatory Policy, discusses JCPA’s “numerous problems that must be addressed before considering future legislation.”
— “The JCPA would also affect content moderation practices by inhibiting platforms’ ability to take down hate speech and fight misinformation. This would only hamper online services’ ability to protect their users and create a platform they feel comfortable using.”
— “In addition, the JCPA would have granted a partial antitrust exemption in a government-guided effort to make prices subjectively ‘fair,’ which would instead permit favored businesses to form cartels, contrary to established U.S. antitrust principles.”
3) Josh Withrow of R Street Institute writes how last-minute changes to JCPA “actually made the bill worse.”
— “[L]ast-minute revisions to the JCPA in 2022 actually made the bill worse for local journalism while placing extra government pressure on the side of media cartels to force companies to accede to the dangerous ‘link tax.'”
4) In a joint letter to California lawmakers, 12 civil society and industry organizations warn the CJPA would “start the Internet down a slippery slope” and primarily benefit publications outside of California, including those under hedge fund ownership.
— “Putting these serious legal and economic problems aside, this bill would start the Internet down a slippery slope. The Internet depends on linking, and once California starts taxing links, there would be no end to California (and other states) taxing all kinds of links to other industries favored by legislatures.”
— “The bill also would provide little help to local newspapers or reporters in California. Most of the money would go to large out-of-state publications, or out-of-state publications owned by hedge funds or broadcasting conglomerates. At the same time, it would provide financial incentives for clickbait rather than quality journalism, and it would require the subsidization of all kinds of potentially problematic publications that could fit under the bill’s broad definitions.”
5) Chamber of Progress sent a letter to California lawmakers explaining that the CJPA would have unintended consequences, such as “threatening the open access to information that our internet ecosystem currently provides.”
— “The CJPA bill is a version of a federal bill that languished in Congress last year after being opposed by a large coalition of civil society, industry, and library association members.”
— “The CJPA would go even further by bypassing negotiations altogether and mandating a fee structure for online platforms that share links to news content. In response to the federal legislation, a coalition of civil society organizations, librarians, creators, antitrust experts, and industry groups voiced their opposition to fees for links, or ‘link taxes,’ as well as requirements that platforms treat all news outlets equally.”
6) NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo argues the California proposal (CJPA) copies the “failed proposals from the federal government” and would “harm free speech.”
— “It’s unfortunate but unsurprising to see California copying failed proposals from the federal government and enacting them in their own state.”
— Further, the bill would “harm free speech online by creating a special class of government-preferred media.”