By forcing digital platforms to pay news organizations for driving traffic to their content, the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) would line the pockets of predatory hedge funds and organizations like Fox News at the expense of small outlets. Going even further, CJPA also prevents online platforms from removing disinformation, encouraging clickbait over accurate reporting – ultimately undermining faith in the very industry the bill intends to help.




Access Humboldt
Alameda Post
edhat Santa Barbara
El Tímpano
The Ingleside Light
Lion Publishers
Local Independent Online News Publishers INC.
Lost Coast Outpost
Lookout Santa Cruz
National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)
Shasta Scout
Times of San Diego

Public Interest

ACLU California Action
Authors Alliance
Creative Commons
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Free Press Action
Library Futures


California Chamber of Commerce
California Taxpayers Association
Chamber of Progress
Computer and Communications Industry Association
Software & Information Industry Association


James Madison Institute
R Street Institute


CJPA would be a windfall for national organizations at the expense of small outlets

In an editorial published earlier this year, Editor and Publisher of the Times of San Diego, Chris Jennewein, highlighted how CJPA benefits large, national organizations – hurting local outlets in the process.

But the problem for digital newcomers is that most of the revenue will go to newspapers and TV stations. They’ve been around the longest, and have the most indexed articles. So every month, the effect of the California Journalism Preservation Act would be to help preserve legacy media.

Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego

This fear has been echoed by a coalition of locals news outlets opposed to the CJPA who have shared their concerns that the bill would consolidate power among corporate media gatekeepers and hurt small publishers.

Analysis by Free Press Action, reiterates that point, while arguing the CJPA fails to understand and address the causes of local journalism’s decline: “namely, a lack of market incentive to produce public-interest journalism, runaway media consolidation, mismanagement, new technologies and changing consumer habits.”

Right-wing news, hate, and misinformation will thrive under CJPA

The CJPA states that organizations “shall not retaliate against an eligible digital journalism provider for asserting its rights under this title by refusing to index content or changing the ranking, identification, modification, branding, or placement of the content of the eligible digital journalism provider on the covered platform.”

Writing for TechDirt, Mike Masnick explains how content from participating news organizations — regardless of accuracy — could thus not be downranked by online platforms.

All of the disinfo peddlers are totally going to participate just to make sure that if they’re downranked for other reasons they can totally play martyr and use this law to force themselves back up in the rankings

Mike Masnick, TechDirt

Even after the sponsors’ amendments, CJPA still forces platforms to link to and pay for extremist right-wing news. Section 3273.65(a) prevents platforms from “changing the ranking, identification, modification, branding, or placement of the content of the eligible digital journalism provider” in retaliation for asserting its rights.

This provision forces Google and Meta to carry stories from even the most disreputable journalism providers – like Breitbart, InfoWars, and The Daily Caller. Even worse, CJPA forces platforms to pay these sites for their hate and misinformation.

This is supported by analysis from Chamber of Progress Senior Economist Kaitlyn Harger that shows how misinformation outlets including Fox News and the New York Post would profit the most from CJPA.

CJPA funds Hedge Fund News Vultures like Alden Global Capital

By allowing publishers to use up to 30% of the funds to pad their own bottom lines, the CJPA fills the pockets of hedge fund vultures and corporate conglomerates.

As chronicled in The Atlantic
, predatory hedge funds like Alden Global Capital “secretive hedge fund gutting newsrooms.”often buy up local papers like the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register, East Bay Times, and Monterey Herald. They then gut newsrooms – Alden Global Capital fired 20 people in East Bay alone – and make off with profits.

CJPA gives Alden and other hedge fund owners carte blanche to decimate local outlets in order to bolster their profits through predatory acquisitions.

Publications owned by Alden Global Capital:

  • Chico Enterprise Record, Chico
  • The Daily Breeze, Torrance
  • Daily Democrat, Woodland
  • The Daily News, Palo Alto
  • Daily Review, Hayward
  • East Bay Times, Walnut Creek
  • Ft. Bragg Advocate-News, Fort Bragg
  • Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Rancho Cucamonga
  • Lake County Record-Bee, Lakeport
  • Long Beach Press-Telegram, Long Beach
  • Los Angeles Daily News, Woodland hills
  • Marin Independent Journal, San Rafael
  • Milpitas Post, Milpitas
  • Monterey County Herald, Monterey
  • Orange County Register, Anaheim
  • Oroville Mercury Register, Oroville
  • Pacifica Tribune, Pacifica
  • Paradise Post, Paradise
  • Pasadena Star-News, Pasadena
  • The Press-Enterprise, Riverside
  • Red Bluff Daily News, Red Bluff
  • Redlands Daily Facts, Redlands
  • The Reporter, Vacaville
  • San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Monrovia
  • San Jose Mercury News, San Jose
  • San Mateo County Times, San Mateo
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz
  • The Sun, San Bernardino
  • Times-Herald, Vallejo
  • Times-Standard, Eureka
  • Tri-Valley Herald, Pleasanton
  • Ukiah Daily Journal, Ukiah
  • Whittier Daily News, Whittier
  • Willits News, Willits

  • CJPA would encourage clickbait and fund “news”— not quality journalism

    As written, CJPA would force digital platforms to pay large national news outlets peddling disinformation, rewarding organizations based on their number of page views rather than the quality of their content.

    By incentivizing clickbait and sensationalism over unbiased reporting, CJPA would line the pockets of news organizations more concerned with revenue than accuracy, undermining the integrity of the very institution the legislation claims to help.

    CJPA Violates First Amendment and Federal Copyright Law

    In their letter of opposition, ACLU California Action also criticized the bill as a violation of the First Amendment. By forcibly compelling platforms to carry content, the bill will “have the perverse impact of protecting clickbait articles, even articles spreading misinformation that are going viral on social media, from being removed by platforms.”

    In further analysis, the Computer & Communications Industry Association noted the broad coalition of groups from across the political spectrum that have come together in opposition to the bill.

    Joining 11 other civil society and industry organizations in a letter to the California State Assembly earlier this year, CCIA emphasized the unconstitutional elements of CJPA .

    Not only does CJPA interfere with interstate commerce and violate the First Amendment with its “must carry” clause, but the bill is also “in conflict with the Supremacy Clause because it requires payment for the display of headlines, ledes, facts, and other elements of copyrightable works that the Copyright Act provides are freely accessible.”

    The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Tech Freedom also wrote the California Assembly to warn that CJPA would have dire consequences, noting how the bill “violates the First Amendment rights that make a free press possible in the first place and threatens to undermine content moderation in a way that may ultimately help those media outlets weakening our democracy.”