Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedDecember 5, 2023

CCIA Provides Testimony in California State Hearing, Releases White Paper Detailing Harms of Laws Mandating Payment for Online News

Washington – The Computer & Communication Industry Association will testify in a California Senate informational hearing Tuesday on the topic of the “Importance of Journalism in the Digital Age.” The testimony focuses on how laws that require digital platforms to pay news businesses for hosting or indexing any news content such as links, snippets, and brief quotes have been  unsuccessful in other countries. The testimony comes as California considers the California Journalism Preservation Act, a bill that CCIA has opposed and highlighted the Constitutional concerns surrounding the legislation.

CCIA also released a whitepaper detailing the harms of these types of laws. The paper shows that little evidence exists that hyperlinks from digital services to news articles caused the local journalism crisis and that mandatory payments would benefit large media conglomerates at the expense of their smaller competitors and would incentivize high-volume, low-quality journalism.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for tech policy that advances innovation, including the reduction of digital trade barriers, for over 50 years. 

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President for Digital Trade Jonathan McHale: 

“Fostering a durable and sustainable future for quality journalism is a key responsibility for policymakers globally. However, the recent trend of laws forcing online services providers to pay news businesses for links and snippets to subsidize news will not achieve that goal. Past attempts to put in place such obligations have proven that it is a short-term bandaid to prop up legacy business models, exacerbating concentration and causing particular harm to the smaller and independent outlets. Further, the rise of such laws threatens to undermine the information-sharing backbone of the internet.

“The shifts in media, advertising, and news consumption over the past several decades have been complex, and involved a variety of innovations both on and offline. The solution to these complicated issues require a more nuanced approach than the blunt redistributive framework.”

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