A proposed state law that would force tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay a “journalism usage fee” to publishers for use of local news content, was approved Tuesday night by the California State Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection by a vote of 9-0.
The bill, AB 886, was introduced in March by Rep. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). It requires that big tech platforms pay each time they use local news content and sell advertising alongside it, and that publishers invest 70% of the profits from those payments in journalism jobs.
Also in March, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John N. Kennedy (R-LA) reintroduced a national JCPA.
It was not clear at deadline what the chances of passage are of either the national or California bills. However, the California vote was applauded by the News/Media Alliance.
“We applaud Assemblymember Wicks and the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee for recognizing the value of high-quality journalism and the need for journalism providers to be compensated fairly for the use of their content by the tech platforms,” says Danielle Coffey, executive vice president and general counsel of the News/Media Alliance.
But a group called the Chamber of Progress opposes the measure.
“We shouldn’t be forcing Google to pay for links to election misinformation or to media outlets that harm our local community,” said Tepring Piquado,” State and Local Policy Director for the Chamber of Progress. “If this law passes, the biggest winners won’t be Californians or even journalists, it will be national media outlets that demand payment for viral content.”
When introducing the bill in March, Wicks said, “ “The CJPA provides a lifeline for news outlets – large, small, and ethnic – by directing a portion of the ad dollars back to the print, digital, and broadcast media that bear the entire cost of gathering and reporting local news while Big Tech bears none.”