Publishers Say Proposed Bill Would Hurt Small Newspapers

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A proposed California law stands to impact community newspapers across the state.

“Assembly Bill 642, authored by Anthony Rendon (D-Bell), proposes to permit the online publishing of public notices by allowing Internet-only entities to become ‘newspapers of general circulation.’ Affected would be the publishing of notices of public meetings and bids, fictitious business statements, name changes, and trustee sales,” according to an editorial published in a small Southern California newspaper.

The revenue from publishing public notices would shift to online news sites, if the bill were to pass. Those online news sites include AOL’s Patch, which provides community-based news solely online. AOL is backing the bill.

Newspaper publishers fear blog sites could be considered “newspapers” under the bill.

Assemblymember Rendon sees the shift to offering services online. Hearing about the potential economic impact to the newspaper industry, though, he hopes to sit down with both sides and work out a compromise.

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