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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

What is the JCPA “Link Tax” and why is it being proposed?

On March 10, 2021, House Resolution 1735 was introduced in the US Congress. Also, a similar bill, S. 673, was filed in the US Senate. The Journalism Competition and Protection Act 2021 (JCPA) bill has been going back and forth on Hill since then through several amendments and amendments.

But what exactly is the JCPA, why do we need it, and why is it causing controversy in digital media?

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Bringing together small news organizations

According to the summary of the US Congress on HR 1735:

The bill creates a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws for print, broadcast, or digital news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors (e.g., social media companies) on the terms on which news companies’ content online. can be distributed. Content Distributor.

If this turns into law, it allows for an antitrust law exemption for news organizations. This means they can band together and force online content platforms like Facebook and Google to pay for linking or sharing snippets from their published content.

Why is the JCPA being proposed?

One reason the bill was proposed in the US Congress and Senate is the negative social media platforms on news organizations. Published news is now easily read online for free, with many traditional news outlets losing their subscription and sales revenue.

This is further complicated by the fact that online sources, especially from major news organizations and top unbiased and independent global news organizations, can be easily shared, especially on social media.

According to the UNC Hasman School of Journalism and Media, the US has lost approximately 1,800 newspapers since 2004. This means that about 200 counties in the US are not covered by any media entity, thus leaving its residents in the dark, especially regarding local issues. , Even so, some local news apps still let you stream for free.


By allowing smaller news organizations to band together, Congress hopes they will have enough mass and clout to negotiate with tech giants like Google and Facebook for remuneration when linking to their content. Theoretically, this would allow these smaller media companies to survive and thrive by ensuring that they get paid when online platforms link to their content.

Furthermore, this is not the first time that issues surrounding link taxes for online journalism have come to the fore. In 2021, the Australian government passed a law with equal focus on the JCPA, leading to a dispute between Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Support for JCPA

The JCPA is supported by the News Media Alliance (NMA). He says that despite the increase in traffic on news sites, many people are struggling financially. The NMA claims that the platform takes in 70% of revenue in digital advertising and levies an “ad-tech tax” from publishers, thus providing little or no revenue to new publishers.

The NMA also published a whitepaper on how Google abuses its market-leading position to have a monopoly on News. The report recommends the JCPA as a way to “address this extreme market and legal failure.”

unintended consequences

While the spirit of the law seeks to revive the small newspaper industry in America, journalists are wary of unintended consequences. Their main concern is that this law would fundamentally change US copyright law—specifically, the ownership of links and snippets.

He says that if news organizations limit who can link to their content, it could affect the free flow of information. In addition, adding snippets from the linked article, which is generally found to be permissible under fair use considerations, may be prohibited under the new law.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also pointed to the following:

…a draft also requires companies to display certain links, whether they wish to or not, raising serious free speech concerns…

However, it is not clear whether this provision has been removed from the latest versions of HR 1735.

Other journalistic groups also point out that this new law could benefit the largest online platforms without substantial benefits for large news corporations and smaller news organizations. Thus, it would establish a monopoly in both the media and internet sectors.

The Free Press also pointed out several flaws in the JCPA in a letter, such as the law not focusing on what kinds of news organizations need communities, how news organizations and online platforms value news. , and the difficulty of enforcing it, should it become law.

JCPA is a double-edged sword

According to some surveys, many Americans believe that big tech companies take advantage of news organizations for their own benefit. As such, they welcome the JCPA to help keep the competition alive while helping news organizations survive and thrive.

However, other news organizations say that HR 1735 should be amended to ensure that it does not go beyond current copyright law and even surpass the First Amendment. They are also wary that the JCPA may obstruct the free flow of information to facilitate the Internet.

The Journalism Competition and Protection Act aims to help news organizations stand a chance against big tech companies. However, it may inadvertently create a news cartel with sole control of online news information. As such, the US Congress and Senate must tread carefully and ensure that the JCPA works for the betterment of the American people.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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