US Senate Panel Approves Bill to Let News Companies Negotiate With Big Tech

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The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a bill intended to allow news organizations to work together to negotiate with Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook and generate more revenue.

According to a congressman, the bill passed by 15 to 7 votes by the committee. It now has to go to the Senate for their approval. A similar bill is before the US House of Representatives.

The bill aims to empower news and broadcasters after years of criticism that major tech companies are using their content to drive traffic and ad revenue without fairly compensating publishers, many of whom are struggling financially.

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The bill, led by Democrat Amy Klobuchar, drew some Republican support, with Senators John Kennedy and Lindsey Graham sponsoring it. Other Democrats, such as Senator Alex Padilla, have expressed reservations about it.

The bill hit a speed bump earlier this month when Senator Ted Cruz gained support for a plan to include provisions to address what he sees as the platforms stifling conservative votes.

On Thursday, Klobuchar won support for an amendment claiming prizes for the use of content.

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“The purpose of the bill is to allow local news organizations to receive compensation when major titans, monopolies such as Facebook and Google, gain access to their content,” she said during a committee session to vote on the bill.

Unlike other bills aimed at curbing big technology, some progressive groups are opposing this move, including Public Knowledge, because it favors major broadcasters such as News Corp, Sinclair and Comcast/NBCU.

Also opposed to the bill are two tech industry trade groups that Facebook and Google belong to: the Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice.

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© Thomson Reuters 2022


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