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A jury trial in the US District Court for the Northern District of California last week found News America Marketing FSI, Inc., a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, guilty of antitrust violations and of engaging in unfair competition.

The sit had been brought against News America by San Francisco-based Theme Co-op Promotions, which charged that Murdoch’s $55 billion company was signing and enforcing exclusivity contracts for free standing inserts with consumer packaged companies, contracts that were designed essentially to put Theme out of business. The suit charged that these moves by Murdoch’s company were in violation of California antitrust and competition laws, and the jury agreed.

Published reports said that unspecified compensatory and punitive damages have been assessed against News America. Theme’s attorneys said they would be seeking a permanent injunction precluding News America's continued use of its unlawful exclusive dealing contracts.
KC's View:
Several years ago, we remember Inc magazine running a fascinating story detailing how News America engaged in bullying practices against small companies. One of the subjects of the piece was FloorGraphics, which was engaged in a similar struggle against what were described as News America’s highly predatory practices.

(Full disclosure: FloorGraphics was a sponsor of MNB, and used our site to draw attention to its battle against News America.)

It sounds like just maybe the justice system is working, and that smaller companies are being protected from the tactics of a professional bully who, among other things, has managed to screw up the LA Dodgers (a team he owns only because he needed content for his cable empire).

We suspect that News America hasn’t seen the last of these lawsuits, and we hope that the system continues to work in favor of the little guy.