Saturday, May 10, 2008

Judge will likely bar paper's cut-rate ad sales

U.S. District Judge Marla Miller said Friday that she will likely issue an injunction barring the SF Weekly from selling cut-rate advertising as a way of putting the competing Bay Guardian out of business, according to the AP and other media. Miller also said she is inclined to more than double the damages a jury awarded to the Guardian in its dispute with the Weekly, from $6.3 million to $15.6 million. The higher amount equals a year's worth of the revenue the Guardian claims it lost after the Weekly slashed its ad rates. The SF Weekly, part of the Village Voice Media chain, argued that the restrictions on its sales would "silence a First Amendment voice." Miller responded, "The only thing we're talking about here is the sale of advertising, not some content-based determination." The Weekly plans to appeal the verdict. Coverage includes: AP, Chronicle, SF Weekly and Guardian.

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