Attack on Google AdSense Called ‘Legal Jujitsu’

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Slamming a class action as “legal jujitsu,” Google urged a federal judge to nix claims that it routinely cancels AdSense accounts to avoid paying revenues.
     Google AdSense pays website owners and publishers a percentage of revenues from ads that appear while people are browsing their sites. When visitors view the ads or click on them, Google is supposed to pay the website owners a portion of revenues from those ads.
     Free Range Content claimed in a May 2014 federal complaint, however, that Google purposely runs the program in way that website owners are paid nothing.
     Hoping to represent a class, the company said Google intentionally closes AdSense accounts to deny full payment to website owners. Account terminations can cost website owners and publishers anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars each year in lost revenues, according to the complaint.
     In a motion to dismiss filed Wednesday, Google said it had every right to close Free Range’s AdSense account and that the company’s complaint would “turn contract law on its head.”
     “After enjoying the benefits of participating in the AdSense program for a year-and-a-half, plaintiff, by its own admission, breached several explicit terms of that contract,” Google said through its attorney Jeffrey Gutkin with Cooley LLP. “Google then did exactly what it said it would do in the contract – it: closed plaintiff’s AdSense account, did not make a payment to plaintiff that, pursuant to numerous contract provisions, plaintiff had no right to receive, and refunded the withheld payment (along with Google’s revenue share) to advertisers.” (Parentheses in original.)
     Google urged U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman to throw out the lawsuit.
     “This attempt legal jujitsu, in which a breaching party brings a suit for breach against the party that followed their agreement to the letter, must fail as a matter of law,” attorney Gutkin wrote.
     Judge Freeman will hear the motion on or after Dec. 11 in San Jose.
     Free Range is represented by Jeff Friedman with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro of Berkeley.

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