News: U.S. lawmakers discuss antitrust exemption for media.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Legislators heard testimony on Friday as to whether a bill to help news agencies negotiate with technology platforms is an appropriate way to help the struggling industry, including discussing whether it should be restricted to smaller news organizations .
Representative David Cicilline, chairman of the antitrust committee of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, said his bill should allow a wide range of news organizations to negotiate with Google and Alphabet by Alphabet Facebook hoping to recoup advertising revenue, this would be a “temporary solution to an urgent problem”.
His bill and a Senate attendant were unveiled on Wednesday.
Republican representative Jim Jordan criticized the big ones TechPlatforms, but also seemed skeptical of the bill. “Maybe this is the right course, but I have real questions about it,” he said.
Representative Val Demings asked for assurances that smaller publications would really benefit from the legislation. Critics expressed concern that joint negotiations with the platforms would empower the richest and most powerful media outlets, leaving smaller publications behind.
However, David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, argued that removing larger organizations like the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post from legislation would reduce the likelihood of successful joint negotiations.
“The collective action primarily benefits those who are unable to maintain their worth,” said Chavern. “Without the big publishers, the small ones have no hope.”
When it becomes law, the legislation provides for a four-year antitrust exemption that will benefit any print, radio, or digital news organization with a dedicated editorial team that publishes at least weekly. At least 25% of their production should be original.
In addition to this move, Cicilline has announced that it will introduce a series of bills to tighten anti-trust laws.
Reporting by Diane Bartz. Editing by Mark Potter
Original Source © Reuters