200+ Local Newspapers Sue Google and Facebook

More than 200 newspapers across the U.S. have reportedly joined antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook over the past year. The lawsuits claim that Facebook and Google have monopolized the digital ads market, taking revenue that should have gone to local news outlets.

Axios reports that newspapers across the United States have been joining antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, claiming that the tech giants monopolized the online digital ads market and took revenue that would otherwise have gone to local news.

Freshly printed copies of the San Francisco Chronicle move on an overhead conveyor belt November 8, 2009 in Fremont, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The situation began as an effort by small-town local newspapers to take a stand against the tech giants, but has since turned into a national movement with over 200 newspapers across dozens of states joining the cause.

Doug Reynolds, the managing partner of HD Media, a holding company that owns multiple newspapers across West Virginia including the Charleston Gazette-Mail, stated: “The intellectual framework for this developed over the last 3-4 years.”

Reynolds filed the first newspaper lawsuit in January in West Virginia. He worked with a coalition of lawyers to file the first lawsuit; the coalition has since agreed to represent newspapers all over the country that are interested in filing similar lawsuits.

The lawyers include antitrust litigation experts and those with a personal interest in newspapers, such as Farrell and Fuller, Fitzsimmons Law Firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Herman Jones LLP. The law firms are working on contingency, meaning that they will only get paid if the newspapers win settlements or verdicts against the Masters of the Universe.
The coalition of lawyers has been retained by over 30 newspaper ownership groups on the behalf of more than 200 publications. Antitrust complaints have been filed by 17 different ownership groups on behalf of around 150 newspapers.

News Media Alliance General Counsel Danielle Coffey said in a statement: “We fully support this litigation.” Clayton Fitzsimmons, one of the lawyers involved in the coalition, stated that the goal of the litigation is “to recover past damages to newspapers” caused by Big Tech firms.

The other aim is to “establish a new system going forward in which newspapers aren’t just competitive again, but can thrive.”

Read more at Axios here.

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