U.S. lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to help news media negotiate with Big Tech

FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outs a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave//File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers reintroduced a bill to allow news organizations to join together to negotiate ad rates with tech giants such as Alphabet Inc's Google.

The measure would allow news broadcasters and publishers with fewer than 1,500 full-time workers to jointly negotiate ad rates -- many of which face financial struggles. One of the biggest of the companies placing online ads for advertisers is Google.

News organizations have complained for years they are not sufficiently compensated for readers that their content attracts.

The bill was also introduced in the last Congress but failed to become law.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, along with Senator John Kennedy, a Republican.

The News/Media Alliance, a media trade association, praised the bill it says will protect and sustain local journalism. "Emerging technologies such as AI are making it even more clear the need for compensation when content creators may soon see even less return than what they receive today," the group said.

Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the proposal.

Previously, Google said that its ad revenue and licensing fees provides needed revenue to news organizations, and that its search engine sends readers to publishers' websites billions of times per month.

While in December, Facebook parent Meta Platforms threatened to remove news if Congress had approved the journalism competition measure.

Other co-sponsors include Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, Joe Manchin and Cory Booker along with Republican Senators Steve Daines, Bill Cassidy, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Cynthia Lummis, and Roger Wicker.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; additional reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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