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    YouTuber must pay $40K in attorneys’ fees for daft “reverse censorship” suit / ArsTechnica · Friday, 10 March, 2023 - 20:24

YouTuber must pay $40K in attorneys’ fees for daft “reverse censorship” suit

Enlarge (credit: picture alliance / Contributor | picture alliance )

A YouTuber, Marshall Daniels—who has posted far-right-leaning videos under the name “Young Pharaoh” since 2015—tried to argue that YouTube violated his First Amendment rights by removing two videos discussing George Floyd and COVID-19. Years later, Daniels now owes YouTube nearly $40,000 in attorney fees for filing a frivolous lawsuit against YouTube owner Alphabet, Inc.

A United States magistrate judge in California, Virginia K. DeMarchi, ordered Daniels to pay YouTube $38,576 for asserting a First Amendment claim that “clearly lacked merit and was frivolous from the outset.” YouTube said this represents a conservative estimate and likely an underestimate of fees paid defending against the meritless claim.

In his defense, Daniels never argued that the fees Alphabet was seeking were excessive or could be burdensome. In making this rare decision in favor of the defendant Alphabet, DeMarchi had to consider Daniels’ financial circumstances. In his court filings, Daniels described himself as “a fledgling individual consumer,” but also told the court that he made more than $180,000 in the year before he filed his complaint. DeMarchi ruled that the fees would not be a burden to Daniels.

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    Google, Facebook reportedly agreed to work together to fight antitrust probes / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 22 December, 2020 - 21:02

A traffic signal in front of Google HQ indicates that pedestrians should not walk.

Enlarge / Signage in front of a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (credit: David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images )

More than three dozen state attorneys general last week filed an antitrust suit against Google , accusing the tech behemoth of a slew of anticompetitive behaviors. Among those behaviors, a new report finds, is an explicit agreement from Google to work with Facebook not only to divide the online advertising marketplace, but also to fend off antitrust investigations.

Facebook and Google agreed in a contract to "cooperate and assist each other in responding to any Antitrust Action" and "promptly and fully inform the Other Party of any Governmental Communication Related to the Agreement," according to an unredacted draft copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Wall Street Journal .

The final version of the suit made public last week ( PDF ) alleged that Google and Facebook signed a secret agreement in 2018 that "fixes prices and allocates markets between Google and Facebook as competing bidders in the auctions for publishers' Web display and in-app advertising inventory."

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    New suits accuse Google of “antitrust evils,” collusion with Facebook / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 17 December, 2020 - 22:00 · 1 minute

A large Google logo is displayed amidst foliage.

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup | Getty Images )

Two separate coalitions of states have filed massive antitrust lawsuits against Google in the past 24 hours, alleging the company abuses its extensive power to force would-be competitors out of the marketplace and harms consumers in the process.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spearheaded the first suit, which nine other states also signed onto. The second suit is led by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, and an additional 36 states and territories signed on.

Antitrust law isn't just about being an illegal monopoly or even about being the dominant firm in your market sector. Although being a literal monopoly, with no available competition of any kind, can put you on the fast track to investigation, the law has broader concerns. Primarily, antitrust investigations are about anticompetitive behavior —in short, how a company uses its power. If you're a big company because everyone likes your stuff best, well, you're a big company, congratulations. But if you got to be the dominant company by cheating somehow—strong-arming other firms in the supply chain; targeted anticompetitive acquisitions; colluding with other firms to manipulate market conditions, and so on—that's a problem.

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    Alphabet CEO: Plan to target EU commissioner was not “sanctioned” by me / ArsTechnica · Friday, 13 November, 2020 - 14:21

EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton talks to media during a press conference in June.

Enlarge / EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton talks to media during a press conference in June. (credit: Thierry Monasse | Getty Images)

The chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet has apologized to Thierry Breton after an internal document laid out a plan to attack the EU commissioner and promised that such tactics were “not the way we operate.”

In a virtual meeting on Thursday, Sundar Pichai told Mr. Breton, the internal market commissioner, that Google was a very large company and that the document “was never shown to me.” He added that he had not “sanctioned” the plan, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The document set out Google’s response to landmark new legislation from the EU as the bloc reshapes how it regulates Internet companies.

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    Here’s what we learned from that massive House antitrust report / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 7 October, 2020 - 20:16 · 1 minute

The United States Capitol Building, the seat of Congress, on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / The United States Capitol Building, the seat of Congress, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. (credit: Omar Chatriwala | Getty Images )

Last June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law began an in-depth investigation into four major firms—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The subcommittee wanted to answer one key question: did Big Tech get big playing by the rules, or do it cheat to stay at the top? After 16 months of hearings, research, and analysis, the panel's findings are out... and the results look really bad for every company involved.

The tech sector does indeed suffer from abuses of "monopoly power," the subcommittee concluded in the mammoth 450-page report ( PDF ) published late yesterday afternoon.

"As they exist today, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy. In recent years, each company has expanded and exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and antitrust subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a joint statement. "Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation, and safeguards our democracy."

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    Google settles shareholder lawsuit over handling of harassment claims / ArsTechnica · Friday, 25 September, 2020 - 20:08


Enlarge / Google's corporate headquarters. (credit: Alex Tai | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images )

Alphabet, Google's parent company, said today it has settled a set of shareholder lawsuits related to the company's handling of sexual harassment claims. Alphabet will commit $310 million to corporate diversity programs over the next decade, and the company agreed to allow its board to take on a greater oversight role in misconduct cases.

As part of the new agreement, Alphabet will expand on its current policy of "prohibiting severance for anyone terminated for any form of misconduct," to include anyone who is currently under investigation for "sexual misconduct or retaliation," Google VP of People Operations Eileen Naughton said in a company blog post .

The settlement is the outcome of a consolidated set of lawsuits investor groups filed against Alphabet in California in 2018, alleging that the company breached its fiduciary duty to shareholders when it retained, and handsomely paid off, male executives credibly accused of sexual harassment. (Other shareholder suits, in federal court and in Delaware, are still in progress, according to the New York Times .)

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    States, DOJ reportedly meeting this week to plan Google antitrust suit / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 22 September, 2020 - 16:27


Enlarge / Google's in everything. Perhaps too much everything, regulators now worry. (credit: Omar Marques | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images )

Multiple investigations into Google parent Alphabet's competition practices may finally be reaching a head, as state and federal regulators meet today to plan next steps for one or more lawsuits against the company.

Attorneys from the Department of Justice are meeting today with attorneys general from several different states about imminent plans to file an antitrust suit against Google, the Washington Post and Bloomberg report.

The DOJ began its antitrust probe of "market-leading online platforms" a little more than a year ago, without naming names. Google was widely assumed to be one of the targets, and the company confirmed last September that it was indeed under investigation.

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    Google faces $3.2B lawsuit over claims it violated children’s privacy / ArsTechnica · Monday, 14 September, 2020 - 17:51

A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019.

Enlarge / A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019. (credit: Olly Curtis | Future | Getty Images )

A new lawsuit filed in a United Kingdom court alleges that YouTube knowingly violated children's privacy laws in that country and seeks damages in excess of £2.5 billion (about $3.2 billion).

A tech researcher named Duncan McCann filed the lawsuit in the UK's High Court and is serving as representative claimant in the case—a similar, though not identical, process to a US class-action suit. Foxglove, a UK tech advocacy group, is backing the claim , it said today.

"YouTube, and its parent company Google, are ignoring laws designed to protect children," Foxglove wrote in a press release. "They know full well that millions of children watch YouTube. They’re making money from unlawfully harvesting data about these young children as they watch YouTube videos—and then running highly targeted adverts, designed to influence vulnerable young minds."

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