Publisher’s letter: Fighting for what is right

Dear Reader,

There are times when one must take a stand. This is one of them.

Patrick Wood
Patrick Wood

Multi Media Channels, the company that owns the newspaper you are reading, together with newspaper publishers in 11 other states, filed a federal lawsuit against Google and Facebook on Monday alleging their business practices violate federal antitrust laws governing competition, and that they unjustly benefited from the use of our original content.

This is a very important lawsuit not just for our company, but for the newspaper industry as a whole. As alleged in our Complaint, Google and Facebook have unlawfully monopolized the digital advertising market which has had a profound effect upon our country’s free and diverse press, particularly the newspaper industry. Local news and journalism is vital to our democracy and we are committed to fighting for what we believe is right as our company has always done.

We believe in the importance of local news and journalism. Our newspapers are locally owned, operated, and written and for well over 50 years have told the stories of people, places, challenges, and victories in our communities. Our newspapers, like so many others across the country, often serve as the primary, if not sole, source of local news – the town square, where one can get information about the school board, the city and county government, what happened at Friday night’s game, who got married, or who passed away. Google and Facebook’s unfortunate practices are threatening the existence of community newspapers across the country.

There is a long history of legal action to address competitive imbalances. The breakups of Standard Oil over a century ago and the AT&T telephone monopoly in the 1980s provide examples of these principles in action. There is a similarly long history of requiring those who benefit from a creator’s efforts to pay licensing fees to the creator. The royalties that musicians receive anytime their music is played in a public venue are an example of fair compensation for creative effort.

Our intent is to win this suit so that newspapers such as ours can compete on a level playing field. Stay tuned.

Patrick J. Wood


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