SPS Proposal - Class Action Lawsuit against Facebook, Google & Twitter's Crypto Ad Ban

in steemproposals •  3 months ago  (edited)

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SPS Proposal - Class Action Lawsuit against Facebook, Google & Twitter's Crypto Ad Ban

Proposer: JPB Liberty Pty Ltd, an Australian company with offices in Sydney & Tel Aviv (@jpbliberty)
Authors: Andrew Hamilton (@apshamilton) & Dr Brian Bishko (@brianoflondon)
Token: Steem-Engine token: SUFB
Start Date: 27 August 2019
End Date: 31 December 2021
Daily Funding Request: 200 SBD

Executive Summary

The almost absolute power of Facebook, Google & Twitter is a huge threat to freedom and liberty. Extensive abuse of this power, including censorship, anti-competitive behaviour, privacy and security breaches, is accelerating.

For more than 18 months JPB Liberty has been preparing a global class action lawsuit against Facebook, Google & Twitter's Crypto Ad Ban for breach of Australian competition law (anti-trust). The Tech Giants' ban of all cryptocurrency related advertising in early 2018 had a devastating effect on all cryptocurrency investors and projects and particularly harmed Steem and all Steemians, by blocking the acquisition of new users and crushing the Steem price (Steem was $5.73 the day before Facebook's Ad Ban was announced).

Everyone worldwide who was hurt by the Ad Ban can join the Crypto Class Action as a class member plaintiff on a no-win no-fee basis.

The case is now ready to move forward into Court but we require funding for the costs of Court fees, core team living wage, insurance against adverse costs orders and some external legal costs.

While we are also seeking large institutional funding, we have the capability to bring the case on a relatively small budget using mainly internal resources, funded by small investors purchasing the SUFB Token (for a share in class action damages awarded by the Court), our Fundition Campaign and this SPS Proposal.

Large numbers of Steemians have joined the Crypto Class Action and we are asking the Steem community to support it via the Steem Proposal System.

Current Status

  • Claim Value of Class Member Signups: $350+ Million from 37 countries
  • Independent Legal Advice: Positive (from experienced Australian barrister & others)
  • Over 400 class members signed up to Litigation Funding Agreement
  • Legal letters sent to Facebook, Google & Twitter. Google reply received.
  • Case substantially prepared, including Court papers and evidence.
  • Extensive media coverage (see at end of post).

Benefits to Steem & Steemians

Direct benefits if lawsuit is successful

  • a very large payment of damages - potentially $5.50 for every Steem held by each Steemian on 29 January 2018 plus more for business losses caused by the Ad Ban;
  • the unfettered ability to advertise to normies on Facebook, Google & Twitter and bring them onto Steem;
  • immense brand and financial damage to Facebook, Google & Twitter which would severely weaken them and allow Steem to pick up their users using 1) & 2);

Benefits irrespective of success

  • lots of attention to Steem as a perfect example of a crypto platform that is a direct competitor of Facebook being harmed by the Ad Ban;
  • lots of attention for the Steem ecosystem & the Steem Engine platform from the tokenisation of litigation funding via the SUFB token;

Indirect Benefits if lawsuit is successful

  • a massive boost to Steem and crypto in general from the transfer of $ billions of value from Facebook, Google & Twitter into the Cryptocosm;
  • a huge boost from the removal of the Ad Ban and the ability to advertise to normies again;
  • a direct boost to crypto prices (including Steem) by the conversion $ billions of damages payments in fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies for efficient payment to Class Action claimants.

Viability

The viability of the Crypto Class Action depends on 3 things:

  • Strong legal prospects - We already have both formal and informal legal advice from Australian Counsel & Senior Counsel confirming the strength of the case and a top law firm lined up.
  • Sufficient economic value to attract investors - Investors pay the costs of the lawsuit and share in 25% of the damages obtained by signed up class members. With over $350 million in claim signed up, typical litigation funding economic viability thresholds have been exceeded many times over.
  • Sufficient funding to fight lawsuit to conclusion: This SPS Proposal, if successful, combined with other funding sources will allow the case to proceed even in the absence of institutional funding.

Core Team

JPB Liberty is led by CEO Andrew Hamilton (@apshamilton), an Australian lawyer and litigator with over 25 years experience and a rare gift in seeing legal strategies others miss.
Dr Brian Bishko (@brianoflondon) is a serial entrepreneur and technology evangelist with a significant social media presence.
Yael Grant (@yaelg) is an experienced CFO with over 20 years accounting and finance experience. She is admitted as a CPA in the UK and Israel and has extensive Big 4 accounting firm and NASDAQ listed company experience.

Commitment to Steem

JPB Liberty is already using Steem as an integral part of its business in multiple ways:

  • Class members joining the Crypto Class Action are eligible for SUFB token(s) (incentivises them to join Steem)
  • Investors in the Crypto Class action are provided free Steem accounts (via Steem Ninja) and a signup instruction video to allow them to receive their SUFB tokens
  • Steem is the main platform for updates and information about the Crypto Class Action and class members and investors are encouraged to follow @jpbliberty and comment on Steem
  • fundraising from small investors via Crypto Class Action Fundition Campaign
  • promotion via Steem Monsters “Crypto Class Action Knights” Tournaments & Guild

Use of Funds

The funding received from this SPS Proposal will be used as follows:

  • 50% (100 SBD per day) will allow Andrew Hamilton & Dr Brian Bishko to dedicate 100% effort to running the lawsuit including:
    • preparing Statement of Claim, evidence, interlocutory applications, appearing in Court etc
    • liaising with external lawyers & experts
    • raising additional funds from other sources
  • 50% (100 SBD per day) saved towards expected large external costs including:
    • adverse costs insurance
    • Court fees
    • external lawyers fees
    • external experts fees

Steps involved in Litigation

We have set out below a simple outline of the steps involved in this sort of litigation and why we need SPS funding for more than 2 years.

  • Preparing Originating Application, Statement of Claim & supporting affidavits
  • Commencing proceedings - Filing and Serving; Security for Costs etc
  • Defence, amendments to pleadings, particulars
  • Case management hearings (8 estimated)
  • Interlocutory hearings (8 estimated)
  • Lay evidence (taking affidavits from many witnesses)
  • Expert evidence (economist, blockchain analysis, probability & correlation analysis)
  • Discovery (obtaining and reviewing documents from defendants)
  • Further information gathering
  • Dispute resolution (mediation hearings)
  • Hearing on applicant's case and common questions
  • Further dispute resolution
  • Appeals on liability
  • Lay evidence on damages
  • Expert evidence on damages
  • Hearings on damages by sub class (investors, projects, exchanges etc).

Media Coverage

https://blocktv.com/watch/2019-07-03/5d1c981002451-suing-facebook-for-500-billion
https://beincrypto.com/lost-money-during-the-2018-cryptocurrency-ad-ban-you-can-now-claim-damages-in-largest-class-action-in-history/
https://gellerreport.com/2019/07/facebook-cryptocurrency.html/
https://www.tr.news/david-v-goliath-israelis-to-sue-facebook-for-500b-in-australia/
https://decrypt.co/8089/sued-for-billions-facebook-is-accused-of-killing-crypto-startups
https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/facebook-google-and-twitter-slapped-with-class-action-lawsuit-for-crypto-ad-ban/
https://litigationfinancejournal.com/litigation-funder-seeks-class-action-facebook-google-twitter-banning-cryptocurrency-ads/
My Interview with Aussie Crypto media Nuggets News
https://micky.com.au/how-you-can-take-part-in-the-multi-billion-dollar-crypto-lawsuit-against-facebook/
https://micky.com.au/how-you-can-take-part-in-the-multi-billion-dollar-crypto-lawsuit-against-facebook/
https://micky.com.au/how-you-can-take-part-in-the-multi-billion-dollar-crypto-lawsuit-against-facebook/

New since original post
https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-advertisement-still-unwelcome-how-is-the-industry-coping

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Noble cause, but why do you want 170k SBD in total for this over a more than 2 years time?

That is approx 140k $...

If you have most of it prepared already, that seems to me like a "finance my living for me and my buddy for the next 2 years, while we do what we are already doing without the funding" proposal...

Do you think we can just submit Court papers and be done with it?
Litigation involves a huge amount of work and expense which occurs over a long period of time.
Every issue will be hard fought and it will take a lot of work over a long period.
There are also a lot of external expenses (Court fees, adverse costs insurance, external experts and external lawyers).
$140k is actually a very small amount of money to run a major legal action and will need to be supplemented by other fundraising, but it will be a substantial contribution to making this happen.

"will need to be supplemented by other fundraising, but it will be a substantial contribution to making this happen."
That means it is not enough to make this happen with 170k SBD alone.
That is a piece of important information for the voters. Thanks. I know that you have written this already in the post, but it was not 100% clear to me.

What will you do if other fundraising fails?
What will you do if you only get partial funding here?

We will be using all means to raise necessary funds and will keep fundraising until we have enough. There is still 4.5 years running on the statute of limitations.

Raising via the SPS means we are in a better position in negotiation with other investors (including financial institutions).

It will allow us to focus the case more on the ideological goals and be less or not beholden to big financial institutions that do not share the ideological goals of crypto people.

I'm going to add a comment to what Andrew has written for @jpbliberty - Both and Andrew and I are ideologically committed to using this case to accelerate the demise of centralised Web 2.0 and accelerate Web 3.0 (which may or may not be the Cryptocosm as spoken of by George Gilder).

As we move forward with this case, we will probably raise money from old school and established litigation funding companies (we already have some serious players showing strong interest). These funding sources are nearly only interested in the return. This case has the possibility to pay out a large return quite early with a settlement.

More ideologically minded funders might want to push on toward a much larger settlement or even a court victory that could enact a financial shift from these old companies to the new world of crypto. The more money we can raise through crowd funding and this novel SPS method, the more power we have dictating how the case is fought.

The benefit for Steem and the entire cryptocosm has been laid out in the proposal.

I have updated post to give more detail on the steps involved in this sort of litigation.

Supported! I definitely want to see traction on this. If successful, this case has more power to effect the entire crypto world than pretty much anything else I can think of. Considering Google's throat grip on the entire internet and industry has gotten absurd, this needs to be done.

This post has been included in the latest edition of The Steem News - a compilation of the key news stories on the Steem blockchain.

Already coming up with some creative/cool uses of the SPS, I wish you the best of luck! =)

Thanks. This is not a typical tech project but it can bring enormous value to Steem. SPS is a perfect way for the Steem community to fund it.

I'm thinking about chucking Steem Engine Tools into the proposal system too but IDK if it counts?

I think that anything that benefits Steem can be funded.

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pls do share details of the case - where it is filed and status of hearings with all the proof. That would help contributors to know the progress so far

The case will be filed in the Federal Court of Australia. It is not yet filed and the Court documents and evidence are confidential.
In Australia you can't file a Court case without being ready to post a substantial bond or litigation funding insurance guarantee. So we can't file until funding is secured.

The first proposal I voted on. Wish you Best of Luck!

Very interesting. I would vote for it, as soon as there is an easy way to vote on proposals..^^

But I still think we should first focus on our platform and kill some elemental flaws and then focus more on marketing (where I'd categorize this - for this platform).

Greets :) ape.gif

Steempeak's voting system is working perfectly now.

https://steempeak.com/proposals

Thanks. I will look at it.

I used this before:

https://steemproposals.com/proposals

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Amazing

Un excelente post, @jpbliberty. Saludos.

this proposal thing is taking up way too much of my time i'll have to put it in for a special day ... i'm always mister yay so brace yourself ...

i AGREE with most of what you say on the blockade and the abuse of the position of power by the tek-9 , tek-5 whatever, however

unless i'm missing something here, you want to sue facebook with €150 a day ?

those people hold suits against entities like the E.U. for years and years and years ... as much as i think they should be checked it sounds like just throwing money in a pit im very sorry. I think you'd have a lot more chance lobbying through politics than you would in a direct attack in court, which will take even longer but i think a direct attack in court has about zero chance. The whole steemit community is not the winklevoss twins ... or MAYBE, (heh) you can get them to side ? in that case you get my vote, like stat, lol they did it for bitcoin ... well no, they actually won and then they thought like "o what should we do with the spare change this got us" and they bought BTC with it ...

please dont take it as my way of speaking but for what im trying to communicate here , you gonna hurt yourself doing that, you see ...

if you attack facebook, the chance of winning is the chance of creating a precedent so the moment you do (you are playing the highest level there) all the others will have you in the visor and will certainly not be supporting you, and that's a lot of big money to have against you if you dont have the politicians with you first

is my sincere and honest opinion

not my intention to just break you down, making a statement like that is very nice but if its just throwing money in a supermassive black hole like that i can not to the best of my conscience support people throwing the much needed money at it. Lobbying is really the way to go ... that's what got microsoft to have to include multiple browsers, it was a E.U. decision, for some reason that wonky idea got viral. Contact some people like Julia Reda or something (in Europe) if you're serious about it, see what she has to say (and people like her of the new wave) cos who am i, after all
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Reda ... she will certainly have experience on matters like that and probably be able to point in the direction of people who are actively on it and in seat

just an idea , if you're really serious about it ...
if you gonna play at that level

play to win :) you'll need all the friends you can get up there

Thanks for your long reply, but you have misunderstood things a bit.

  1. We are not suggesting that the SPS contribution is the sum total of all funds going to fight Facebook etc. It is part of a mix of funds from lots of sources.

  2. I am a very experienced lawyer who has twice won cases in the High Court of Australia against an opponent far bigger than Facebook, Google & Twitter put together! I know what league I am playing in and have been there before many times.

  3. The cost of legal cases for most people is mainly from paying lawyers. But when you are an experienced lawyer like me, you can do most of the legal work yourself, and thus it can cost much, much less. I've done this before a number of times.

  4. Unlike the US, where anti-trust law is weak, and the EU, where its all done by government, Australia allows private anti-trust class actions and has strong competition law. You are basing your thoughts on completely different legal regimes from the one we are bringing the class action in.

  ·  3 months ago (edited)Reveal Comment

Why don't you file the suit already?

I'll add a little: I was sceptical when I first interviewed @apshamilton about this. I was doing that a blogger/journalist over a year ago. As I looked at it further I became involved and now I'm part of the team.

Andrew really has sued and won against the Australian Government (which if we're talking about GDP vs combined turnover or manpower or assets especially a whole lot of land) is bigger than Facebook, Google and Twitter combined.

It's worth repeating here: this isn't about funding the case entirely from Steem, but if we receive more of the balance of our funding from ideologically aligned sources (which believe Web 3.0 should be taking over from Web 2.0) that gives us vastly improved bargaining power with established litigation funding firms.

Just so people here know: litigation funding is an established asset class rather like venture capital for law suits. I have more experience dealing with tech VC's and am coming up to speed now with how litigation funding works and it is somewhat similar.

  ·  3 months ago Reveal Comment

Julia Reda
Julia Reda (born 30 November 1986) is a German researcher and politician and was Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. She was a member of the Pirate Party Germany until 27 March 2019, part of The Greens–European Free Alliance. She has been Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group since 2014. She was also previously the president of Young Pirates of Europe.

I signed up to the class action on July 27, but haven't received any confirmation of my sign-up, nor any SUFB tokens (I supplied all the information requested on the sign-up form, including details of my cryptocurrency holdings). Should I go through the sign-up process again?

Hi @dallow. I can't find any record of a signup on 27 July with your Steem username. Did you include it on the form? You should have got an automated email confirming your signup if it went through properly. Please email me andrew@jpbliberty.com with your signup details (username you selected etc).
Otherwise you might need to fill in the form again.

Andrew is traveling now but he'll check and get back to you shortly.

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this could be an amazing guerilla marketing campaign, given you got it the proper publicity... 😎

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