Exchanging Links for Cash Is No Way to Save Journalism

Timothy Karr is the senior director of strategy and communications at Free Press. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in an executive business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, June 15, 2023 in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) advanced on a roll call vote 14-7. Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the controversial Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA). Identical legislation, which moved through this same committee last year, failed to advance to the Senate floor or receive any consideration in the House due in part to widespread opposition from digital rights advocates and small publishers.Its primary sponsor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sees the JCPA as a way, in her words, “to make sure that news organizations are able to negotiate on a level playing field” for compensation from tech companies like Google and Facebook that feature links to news sites. Bargaining code legislation like the JCPA is being adopted worldwide. These laws are built on the premise that only big tech platforms benefit from featuring these links. The JCPA was drafted to balance what Sen. Klobuchar and others see as a disparity in this exchange. The reality, though, is that the benefits of linking are mutual — a tradeoff that the JCPA explicitly forbids from being considered when outlets negotiate for payment. Lobbyists for the large news media firms that will gain the most from this legislation claim that their news outlets are “being forced to give content…Exchanging Links for Cash Is No Way to Save Journalism