S. 1094 would authorize digital journalism providers to collectively negotiate with large online platforms over the terms and conditions of the platforms’ use of content. The bill would ensure that providers do not violate federal antitrust laws when they negotiate with or withhold content from large online platforms. S. 1094 also would prohibit platforms from retaliating against providers for participating in collective negotiations or arbitration authorized under the bill. In addition, the bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the effect of those negotiations and report to the Congress within five years. The provisions in S. 1094 would sunset six years after enactment.
Under the bill, providers and platforms could bring civil actions in federal courts to enforce the terms of arbitration agreements, and providers could sue collective entities formed for the purpose of joint negotiations if they are unlawfully excluded from membership. Federal courts charge fees to those who file civil cases. Those fees are recorded as federal revenues and can be spent without further appropriation to cover courts’ administrative costs. Because CBO expects that the number of additional cases would be small, we estimate that enacting S. 1094 would increase revenues and the consequent direct spending by insignificant amounts over the 2023-2033 period.