Washington, D.C. (06/13/2023) – Last year, senators from both sides of the aisle voiced wide-ranging concerns about the unintended consequences of the Journalism Competition and Protection Act (JCPA). The bill ultimately failed to receive a vote on the Senate floor.
Ahead of an anticipated markup of the JCPA in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, the bill’s sponsors have failed to address the serious issues that crippled the JCPA last year. In their own words, here are five senators explaining five major problems facing the JCPA:
1. “The bill’s prohibitions on the ability of platforms to take viewpoints into consideration and its overbroad retaliation provision, coupled with compelled arbitration and the ambiguous definition of access, invite a world where platforms will have to pay for content and subsidize outlets they fundamentally disagree with.” – Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)
2. “I do have some concerns about this legislation and how its implementation could impact journalism and publishing. Whether or not in the detailed construction of this bill there may be some unintended consequences in terms of the market consolidation in the publishing sector, what the long-term ramifications are for First Amendment applications online, fair use, for information that is posted publicly.” – Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA)
3. “This bill troubles me because it…ends up favoring large conglomerate publishers over smaller, local publishers. It allows big guys to take revenue away from the little guys. So I urge all of you to oppose this well-intentioned but highly, highly-problematic and ill-considered legislation. The bill has the fundamental flaw of trying to improve competition by sanctioning the formation of cartels, something our antitrust laws go out of their way to prohibit…” – Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
4. “I’m going to vote against this bill because I don’t think it’s an antitrust bill. I think it is a pro-trust bill. It creates an exemption to our antitrust laws. I fully appreciate and understand the rationale behind it, and I appreciate Senator Klobuchar’s remarks in that regard…but because it is an exemption to our antitrust laws, because I think it will weaken our antitrust laws, and as Senator Lee quite accurately said, it promotes a cartel, I simply cannot support it.” – Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)
5. “In the case of the collective bargaining, it sounds interesting, except…some of these newspapers that are locally owned, are actually owned by a conglomerate. They’ll cut their own deal, and they’ll say ‘we’re a credible, reputable website. Collectively bargain with us for our content, but everyone who challenges our narrative or our views, they get a different deal…’ The intent is good, but in practice, it opens the door for greater collusion.” – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
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