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Klobuchar, Cruz Reach Deal To Advance Journalism Antitrust Bill

 |  September 22, 2022

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) struck a deal struck to advanced a bill out of a Senate committee that would let most news outlets collectively negotiate with dominant tech platforms for compensation to distribute their content.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act now specifically carves out any negotiations over content moderation, according to an amendment circulated Wednesday afternoon by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that was obtained by POLITICO. 

Thursday’s vote to advance the bill followed two weeks of negotiations between Klobuchar and Cruz after the Democrat pulled a vote on her bill at a markup earlier this month. No negotiations or pricing agreements “may address whether or how the covered platform or any such eligible digital journalism provider displays, ranks, distributes, suppresses, promotes, throttles, labels, filters, or curates the content,” according to the amendment.

The bill was pulled after an amendment from Cruz about content moderation was adopted when Democrats were down a member with Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) isolating in India with COVID-19.

“Platforms like Facebook and Google are counting on Republicans and Democrats being unable to put aside their differences to agree on meaningful legislation in the tech sector. This is our moment to prove them wrong,” Klobuchar said at Thursday’s vote, The Hill reported. 

The bill advanced in a 15-7 vote, with seven Republicans voting against the bipartisan amendment. 

The bill provides a limited safe harbor from federal and state antitrust laws for eligible digital journalism providers, including most newsrooms that employ fewer than 1,500 full-time employees, that would allow them to participate in joint negotiations. The employee cap is largely aimed at excluding the country’s three largest newspapers and national broadcasters.