We were due to have our fourth case management hearing in our Crypto Class Action Law Suit against Facebook and Google in Australia’s Federal Court last night. It didn’t happen because it’s been postponed. But as I explain in the podcast, this is just the normal workings of the legal system and doesn’t harm our case.
Google is eating everybody else’s lunch. The share of Advertising revenue that Google passes back to the content owners whose content their entire business is built on the back of, has steadily gone down. This was deliberate and they knew what they were doing.
In Google’s annual 10-K SEC filings, Google breaks down its advertising revenue as going to “Google properties” or “web sites of Google Network members.” The term “Google Network members” refers to non-Google websites on which Google places advertising. In its 2017 10-K, Google explains that it generally accounts for third-party revenue on a gross basis: “For ads placed on Google Network Members’ properties, we evaluate whether we are the principal (i.e., report revenues on a gross basis) or agent (i.e., report revenues on a net ba- sis). Generally, we report advertising revenues for ads placed on Google Net- work Members’ properties on a gross basis, that is, the amounts billed to our customers are recorded as revenues, and amounts paid to Google Network Members are recorded as cost of revenues. Where we are the principal, we control the advertising inventory before it is transferred to our customers. Our control is evidenced by our sole ability to monetize the advertising inventory before it is transferred to our customers, and is further supported by us being primarily responsible to our customers and having a level of discretion in establishing pricing.” In 2004, Google buying tools allocated approximately 50% of advertising revenue to Google’s proprietary properties, such as Search, and the other 50% to non-Google websites selling their ads through Google’s buying tools and advertising exchange. Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Mar. 30, 2005), https://perma.cc/5A4Y-8EY4. It was in 2006 that Google acquired YouTube. An- drew Ross Sorkin & Jeremy W. Peters, Google to Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion, N.Y. TIMES (Oct. 9, 2006), https://perma.cc/5TG8-8BVE. In 2005, Google’s share of advertising revenue increased to, approximately, 55%; 2006, 60%; 2007, 65%; 2008, 68%; 2009, 68%; 2010, 68%; 2011, 71%; 2012, 71%; 2013, 73%; 2014, 75%; 2015, 77%; 2016, 80%; 2017, 81%, 2018, 82%; 2019, 84%. Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Mar. 16, 2006), https://perma.cc/Y272-BRAP; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Mar. 1, 2007), https://perma.cc/H4ZJ-FL7B; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 15, 2008), https://perma.cc/W6FU-AA2T; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 13, 2009), https://perma.cc/5PZY-UZS5; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 12, 2010), https://perma.cc/7B6E- REEV; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 12, 2011), https://perma.cc/9ZKX-XPKL; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Apr. 23, 2012), https://perma.cc/YS3R-TLE4; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Jan. 29, 2013), https://perma.cc/3W45-M9R9; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 11, 2014), https://perma.cc/79A2-6TCT; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 6, 2015), https://perma.cc/7DJZ-FD8S; Google Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 11, 2016) https://perma.cc/EU2M-T6QC; Alphabet Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 2, 2017), https://perma.cc/4QKP-UUZJ; Alphabet Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 5, 2018), https://perma.cc/22HL-SSSP; Alphabet Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 4, 2019), https://perma.cc/ELZ2-AC93; Alphabet Inc., Annual Report (Form 10-K) (Feb. 3, 2020), https://perma.cc/RWE8- 27PB.
Some news broke today in Australia concerning how class action cases can be funded. This concerns a part of Australian law related to “common fund orders”. The short answer is, this is positive for our case because we were never going to rely on a common fund order, while other cases competing for funding were.
Here’s the report:
The High Court has queried the legality of court orders requiring members of class actions to pay litigation funders even if they aren’t part of a funding agreement.
The key issue in the cases brought by Westpac and BMW is whether the Federal Court of Australia and NSW Supreme Court were empowered to make what is known as a “common fund order”.
BMW challenged an order by the NSW Supreme Court requiring anyone receiving a payout from a class action over faulty airbags to provide 25 per cent of the money to litigation funder Regency Funding for bankrolling the court case.
The High Court found by a majority neither the laws relating to the Federal Court nor the NSW Civil Procedures Act empower a court to make a common fund order.
“It is not appropriate or necessary to ensure that justice is done in a representative proceeding for a court to promote the prosecution of the proceeding by the making of a CFO,” the judgment said.
Norton Rose Fulbright disputes practice leader Cameron Harvey said the decision was a significant setback for the business of litigation funding and plaintiff law firms operating in Australia.
For our case, we quickly decided not to look for a common fund order because it was unneccessary and less economic than signing up claimaints directly given the scale of damages available. Also our libertarian outlook didn’t like the idea of forcing people who hadn’t signed up for a case to contribute to it.
Instead JPBLiberty went down the far harder path of gathering signatures on a real funding agreement (which many of my readers have signed) rather than relying on taking 25% after the settlement from people who did not consciously join the suit before we fought it.
If anything this is good for us because it means OUR case is stronger in comparison to other Aussie cases that were relying on Common Fund orders.
Beyond that, the news is that we are working on some very comprehensive legal opinions and work to bolster the case and secure the funding necessary. It’s hard to give more details about these steps right now as this needs to be carried out confidentially at this stage.
As ever, we’re always looking for more people to join our suit so if you had any kind of crypto currency holding or a stake in any related blockchain business, please check out the website and see if you can sign up. If you want to talk about a significant contribution to funding the case, we are open to any new approaches.