Invoice would enable newspapers, broadcast shops to barter with social media giants | Information

A bill sponsored by US Senator Rand Paul would help smaller media outlets negotiate the use of their news content by social media giants like Facebook.

Paul’s bill, passed on December 21, would exempt newspapers from federal antitrust laws. Paul said this would allow news organizations to negotiate as a unit about fees that organizations like Facebook would pay when a person on Facebook shares the original content of a newspaper or broadcaster.

“You could negotiate … and say,” You can’t use our content without paying us, “Paul said in a recent interview.

But that’s currently banned because newspapers that band together to negotiate fees would be considered collusion under the law, he said.

Antitrust laws were created to protect small businesses from large organizations. But antitrust laws that prevent newspaper chains from negotiating as a unit protect big companies like Facebook, Paul said.

“In that case, I’d say the newspaper is the little guy compared to Facebook,” he said.

The bill would also allow broadcasters to join forces to negotiate with social media companies without government interference. The bill would limit the number of television and radio stations that a single company could own.

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A similar bill with democratic sponsors only affected the newspaper industry. Paul said he supported this bill.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we combine print and broadcast to expand our coalition?’ ”

Paul said merged or affiliated companies could negotiate a fee if their work was shared on a social media site. When a person shares articles or stories, “they go to people who aren’t subscribers” and don’t pay for the content, he said.

Being able to negotiate as a unit would generate revenue for difficult media, he said. “I don’t want to see the decline of our local media either.”

When asked if allowing a company to own multiple broadcasters would reduce the flow of ideas by restricting editorial considerations, Paul said that technology has given people access to sources of information outside of their immediate vicinity.

Local broadcasters “also compete with all types of national entities,” he said.

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