Statement: Ad Tech Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Should Stay in Texas

Today, the News Media Alliance submitted a Declaration with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to strongly advocate to keep the ad tech antitrust lawsuit against Google – filed by the State of Texas and nine other states in December – in Texas instead of moving it to California, per Google’s request.

This lawsuit has major implications for news publishers, particularly local news publishers that have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact. Google has leveraged its dominance to commandeer the majority of all digital ad revenue, profiting from sharing news publishers’ content, while failing to consistently compensate news publishers for use of that content.

According to the Alliance’s Declaration, Texas is the right place to decide this case, as it represents the more convenient location for calling potential witnesses, and offers the most expedient option, given California’s requirements to adhere to Google’s adhesive forum selection clauses, and Texas’ ability to hear cases more promptly. The wait for a case to be heard in Texas is just 18 months, versus 44.5 months, or nearly four years, in California.

Alliance President & CEO, David Chavern, stated, “Google’s flatly anticompetitive dominance of the digital advertising ecosystem has stripped news publishers of important advertising revenue, which is critical for them to be able to continue to provide the high-quality journalism Americans depend on. Moving the lawsuit from Texas to California will unnecessarily delay the lawsuit – Google knows this and will want to put it off; however, news publishers don’t have that kind of time. We need action now.”

News publisher ad revenues have plummeted dramatically over the last two decades; between 2005 and 2018, news organizations saw their ad revenue fall by 70 percent. During that same period, Google’s ad revenue increased from approximately $6 billion to $116 billion, and Google’s market capitalization increased from approximately $100 billion to $1 trillion.

A copy of the News Media Alliance Declaration can be found here.

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