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Alliance releases new White Paper outlining Google’s dominant market behavior, harming of journalism

Submitted to Department of Justice to Inform Investigation of Google’s Anticompetitive Behavior

Arlington, VA – Today, the News Media Alliance released a White Paper, How Google Abuses Its Position as a Market Dominant Platform to Strong-Arm News Publishers and Hurt Journalism.” The Alliance has submitted the White Paper to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as they proceed with an investigation of Google’s anticompetitive behavior.

The White Paper, which is based on more than a year of interviews and consultations with many Alliance members about their experiences with Google products, outlines several of the ways in which Google uses news content to its advantage across its products and services. The use of news content through AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), Google Discover, and the Google News app, as well as Search becoming more of a “walled garden” in which publishers and consumers are increasingly forced or encouraged to stay, has been systematically making use of news content to enhance Google’s bottom line. In exchange, because there is little bargaining power, news publishers are not receiving fair value for quality content.

“The leading copyright cases concerning search engines and aggregators are over a decade old and the precedent they created no longer reflects the realities of the modern online ecosystem,” stated Alliance Senior Vice President and General Counsel Danielle Coffey. “Despite the fact that the digital marketplace has changed and many of Google’s uses of news content may not be fair use under the current circumstances, there remains little bargaining power with Google and, as a result, news publishers must consent to these practically unlimited uses by Google without compensation, regardless of the strength of our copyright protections.”

Based on the conclusions reached in the White Paper, recommendations from the Alliance include:

  • Antitrust scrutiny through the current investigations by the DOJ and state Attorneys General and remedies that address the abuses and impacts on news publishers.
  • Passage of the safe harbor bill, also known as the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, to allow news publishers to collectively negotiate for better business arrangements with the tech platforms.
  • Compensation mechanisms that properly account for the value that platforms receive through original news content provided by established news organizations.

The White Paper can be found on the Alliance website here.

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