The local newspaper industry in the US is backing the proposed Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to force Big Tech to pay publishers for aggregating their news stories online.

The legislation aims to provide news publications a level-playing field, letting them negotiate collectively for an annual content fee from Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) that dominate the digital advertising market, reports Chicago Tribune.

Newspaper ad revenue has fallen by more than 80 per cent since reaching $49.4 billion in 2005, dropping to $9.6 billion in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.

"Our bipartisan legislation ensures media outlets will be able to engage in good faith negotiations to receive fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work of keeping communities informed," Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the bill's lead co-sponsors, said in a statement.

Both Meta and Google did not respond to the proposed legislation.

The bipartisan legislation would cover thousands of local and regional newspapers.

"The bill also includes local TV and radio broadcasters that publish original digital news content and meet other eligibility requirements," said the report.

It excludes national publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Google and Meta/Facebook account for about half of the nearly $250 billion US digital advertising market, according to Insider Intelligence.

Eligible news publishers must update their content at least weekly, have fewer than 1,500 full-time workers and give at least 25 per cent of their content to matters of current public interest, the report mentioned.

In 2019, Facebook agreed to pay licensing fees to The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, among others, to run their content.

However, after posting its first-ever revenue decline in the second quarter this year, Meta said it would no longer pay news publishers to aggregate curated stories.