US lawmakers propose law to get Google, Facebook to pay news outlets for using their content

A group of US lawmakers have released a revised version of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which makes it easier for news organisations in America to collectively negotiate with platforms like Google and Facebook. The bill, the lawmakers said, “removes legal obstacles to news organisations’ ability to negotiate collectively and secure fair terms from gatekeeper platforms that regularly access news content without paying for its value”, .

A previous version of the bill was introduced in March 2021 and it was opposed by tech industry trade groups of which Facebook and Google are part of.

The revised bill covers news organisations with fewer than 1,500 full-time employees and non-network news broadcasters.

The bill comes over a year after Australia , which made Google and Facebook pay news organisations for using their content.

Could India enact such a law to help the country’s struggling media organisations? “Facebook has stopped paying and is slowly moving out of news,” said Dhanya Rajendran, editor-in-chief of the News Minute and chairperson of Digipub News India Foundation, which represents independent digital news organisations. “As far as Google is concerned, while it is imperative that media organisations are paid by the platform, the reality is that these companies get into agreements only with big publishers who put out lots of content. Therefore if any such rule is brought in, it should benefit both big and small publishers.”

She added, “Digipub is an association of independent media websites. We will have to wait and see how Google and Facebook implement this. India is a country with over 350 websites in English and other languages. The scale of implementation and identification on who to give money to and who not to will be a major struggle.”

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