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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Additional funding for antitrust enforcers to police Big Tech and copyright measures opposed by some in the tech industry are both included in Congress' big spending package unveiled Monday.

Why it matters: Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have been asking Congress for more money to conduct investigations and bring cases against phenomenally wealthy tech companies.

Driving the news:

  • The FTC is getting $351 million for salaries and expenses, a boost of $20 million from 2020, which will go toward the agency’s competition, privacy and consumer protection work.
  • The DOJ’s antitrust division is getting a boost of about $18 million, its biggest funding increase in years.
  • Litigation and retaining experts for antitrust cases is expensive, and while these budget boosts won't level the field with companies like Google and Facebook, the agencies will be at less of a disadvantage.

Meanwhile, the spending package also includes intellectual property measures that tech industry group the Internet Association lobbied against:

  • The creation of a small claims board within the Copyright Office to hear copyright infringement claims, which raises alarm bells for companies worried about increased litigation risks.
  • A proposal from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) that will make illegal streaming of copyright material a felony, a measure backed by content companies including Fox Corp.
  • The Trademark Modernization Act, which is meant to help fight trademark fraud by creating new procedures at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to cancel registrations for trademarks that have not been used.

Go deeper

Jan 20, 2021 - Technology

Why domestic terrorists are so hard to police online

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism.

The big picture: That's largely because the politics are harder. There's more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
45 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.