California's ‘Journalism Usage Fee’ Bill Put On Hold Until 2024

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Last week, the California Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would require Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech platforms to pay publishers a “journalism usage fee” for content, was put on hold and made a two-year-bill to “ensure the strongest legislation possible,” according to Assemblymember and bill co-sponsor Buffy Wicks.

“Getting this policy right is more important than getting it quick,” Wicks said, adding that holding the bill until 2024 will allow for further development and an easier legislative process. “My priority is making sure this bill does exactly, and only, what it intends: to support our free press and the democracy sustained by it, to make sure publications get paid what they are owed, and to hold our nation’s largest and wealthiest tech companies accountable for repurposing content that’s not theirs.”

Just before the California State Assembly was to vote on the bill last month, Meta threatened to remove all news from its Facebook and Instagram platforms if it passed (much like it had threatened to do if Congress considered the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act late last year). If its protest in Canada over the similar Online News Act is any indication, Meta might actually now be following through on threats. 

If the results weren’t so consequential, I might recommend getting your popcorn ready.


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