The NewsMedia Alliance has reacted strongly to criticism that the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act (JCPA) will cost journalists their jobs.
“There have been claims made that the JCPA will lead to job losses based on the notion that newspapers will “cut them to under 1,500 employees” to be eligible, said Danielle Coffey, executive vice president and general counsel, News/Media Alliance, on Wednesday. “Except The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, no newspaper in America comes close to 1,500 employees.”
Coffey continues that, in fact,
“the opposite will happen, as it did in Australia where newsrooms in some cases doubled because of the infusion of cash. Moreover, the JCPA on page 22 requires payments be tied to how many journalists you have. The more journalists you hire, the more compensation you will receive."
The bill at page 17 also requires public disclosure and transparency. Each publication and broadcaster must publicly disclose how much is received and how it is used.
Going further, Coffey states that the bill “does not impose a 'link tax' and the internet is not going to break. Payments in Australia and Europe have resulted in no changes to the internet or links.”
She adds that the bill on page 24 “only allows payment for the dominant platforms to access the news content by crawling publishers’ websites; linking is and will remain voluntary
and free to platforms and consumers. News content creators already have separate, existing rights to prohibit unauthorized access to their content today. They do not do that because the platforms can
live without access to any one given publisher, but publishers cannot independently live without access to Big Tech’s billions of users."
Finally, Coffey argues that the JCPA “does not dictate what is news; the bill defines eligibility broadly at page 5 for publishers and page 3 for broadcasters, and is subject to challenge by the platforms, who currently decide what is news in the platforms today.”
The bipartisan bill, which would allow small publishers to negotiate collectively with the big tech giants like Facebook and Google for fair compensation for their content, is scheduled for markup next week.
A recent poll by Schoen Cooperman Research found that 70% support passage. Only 12% oppose it, and 18% had no opinion when they heard the description.
Senator Amy Klobochar, a sponsor of the bill, urged passage when the markup and release of the text were announced last week.
“To preserve strong, independent journalism, we have to make sure news organizations are able to negotiate on a level playing field with the online platforms that have come to dominate news distribution and digital advertising,” Klobochar said.