Big Tech's Free Ride Ends: Journalism Usage Bill Is Introduced In Illinois

Local news outlets would receive a  journalism usage fee from tech companies like Meta and Google under a bill now being mulled by The Illinois General Assembly.

The Journalism Preservation Act (SB 3591) was introduced in the Illinois Senate by Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford).

It would also provide tax incentives and a journalism scholarship program. Moreover, it would require news publishers to invest 70% of the profits from the usage fee into journalism jobs.



“The future of local journalism is in danger – which is why I have sponsored the Journalism Preservation Act,” Stadelman says. “Local journalism is an essential part of our lives, and Illinois residents deserve access to accurate and important information.”

Stadelman is being hailed by the News/Media Alliance.

“We applaud Senator Stadelman for introducing this legislation and for recognizing the critical need to protect high-quality journalism and ensure that important, accurate information continues to be available to Illinois communities,” said Danielle Coffey, president & CEO of the News/Media Alliance.

Coffey adds, “States across the country are increasingly recognizing the need for legislation that corrects the current marketplace imbalance by requiring the tech platforms to fairly compensate publishers for the use of their valuable content.”

The bill is similar to the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA, AB 886), the measure introduced in California last year by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). It has passed the Assembly and will probably be voted on by the California Senate during this session. 

One complicating factor is that Meta has threatened to remove news from Facebook when such laws are passed, as it has done in Canada. Google, however, made an arrangement and has agreed to pay a sum said to be around $100 million per year for use of its news content on the Google search platform. 

The Canadian law was inspired by Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code, which passed in 2021. 

Coffey urges the Illinois legislature to pass Stadelman’s law. 

“These laws are working in other countries to channel much-needed revenue back to providers of quality journalism,” Coffey says. “With that revenue, publishers are staying in business and hiring journalists again.”



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