Like JCPA, California’s CJPA Harms Competition And Threatens The Open Internet
For the past several years, a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum have come together to oppose the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) at the federal level. Now, after the deeply flawed JCPA failed yet again last year, California has moved to introduce its own version of the bill, the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), which is set to create several of the same issues as the JCPA—if not more.
Already, a wide range of prominent groups and organizations are speaking out against this problematic new proposal:
A joint letter to California lawmakers warns the CJPA would “start the Internet down a slippery slope” and primarily benefit publications outside of California, including those owned by large corporations. The letter is signed by 12 major stakeholders including the Authors Alliance, California Chamber of Commerce, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), James Madison Institute, Library Futures, Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, NetChoice, R Street Institute, Re:Create, Software & Information Industry Association, TechFreedom, and TechNet.
— “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.”
Additionally, TechFreedom, a non-profit, non-partisan technology think tank, joined by several leading Internet law scholars, separately expressed their concern that CJPA “threatens to undermine content moderation” and is unconstitutional.
— “TechFreedom agrees that a diverse and functional press is crucial to our system of democratic self-government. But, like a similar bill that stalled in the last Congress, the CJPA violates the First Amendment rights that make a free press possible in the first place and threatens to undermine content moderation in a way that may ultimately help those media outlets weakening our democracy.”
— “A vibrant and functioning press is undoubtedly important, and it is clear that many publications are struggling to adapt to the digital age. But the solution cannot come in the form of the government’s heavy hand on the scales of speech. Such intervention will at best inadvertently harm some sectors of the press, and at worst it will violate the First Amendment.”
Chamber of Progress also 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.”
— “Chamber of Progress, a tech industry coalition, respectfully opposes AB 886, which could have the unintended consequence of 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.”
This opposition to the CJPA comes as a broad coalition of public interest and industry groups—including organizations such as the Association of Research Libraries, Authors Alliance, Center for Democracy & Technology, Coalition for Creativity (C4C), Common Cause, Consumer Reports, Creative Commons, EFF, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action, Internet Archive, Library Futures, Local Independent Online News Publishers, Patreon, Public Knowledge, R Street Institute, Re:Create, Techdirt, Wikimedia Foundation, and more—have expressed their continued concerns with the federal JCPA bill.
See more from Springboard on concerns with the JCPA and CJPA here