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The Google Lobby Defines Big Internet's Policy Agenda -- Part 6 Internet as Oz Series

Google not only dominates the web, the Google Lobby also dominates Big Internet's policy agenda in Washington in part via its new proxy, the Internet Association, the self-appointed "unified voice of the Internet economy."

Since market dominance attracts antitrust scrutiny, it necessitates lobbying dominance. The FTC's antitrust investigation prompted Google to hire twelve lobbying firms in a week and to rapidly organize them and legions of law and PR firms into one of the top corporate lobbying operations influencing Washington. Tellingly, a Wall Street Journal op-ed lionized "Google's $25 Million Bargain" lobby and Politico got behind-the-scenes to explain "How Google Beat the Feds."

Top Takeaways from FTC's Google Antitrust Decisions -- Part 16 Google Unaccountability Series

Summary of Top Takeaways from the FTC's Google Antitrust Decisions:

  1. Google's U.S. search bias win establishes a broad Internet-friendly FTC antitrust enforcement precedent.
  2. Google has already lost on search bias in the EU.
  3. Those harmed by anti-competitive behavior are now much less likely to seek redress from the FTC.
  4. The FTC effectively has redefined self-regulation to include self-enforcement too, establishing a new de-facto FTC "honor system" for potential Section 5 Internet antitrust problems.
  5. The FTC's decision effectively makes the FTC Section 5 authority largely irrelevant in Internet enforcement going forward.
  6. The FTC's Standards Essential Patents consent order means Google's core reason for buying Motorola has backfired and the primary perceived benefit of the acquisition is largely nullified.
  7. Google's 2013 enforcement risk is centered in the EU on antitrust, privacy and intellectual property.

1. Google's U.S. search bias win establishes a broad Internet-friendly FTC antitrust enforcement precedent.

Don't Miss the CFIF paper: “The Constitutional and Historical Foundations of Copyright Protection.”

Kudos to the Center For Individual Freedom CFIF for its outstanding paper: "The Constitutional and Historical Foundations of Copyright Protection" authored by former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, Viet D. Dinh, and Jeffery M. Harris, all of whom clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court.

This paper is an exceptionally lucid and particularly timely addition to the current discourse on copyright, given the recent boomlet in revisionist copyright history proffered of late by opponents of copyright specifically, and intellectual property in general, who obviously have not done their homework.

The best new fact that I learned from the  paper is that: philosopher "John Locke himself... argued in a 1694 letter to the Parliament that formal publishing rights should last for the life of the author plus seventy years."

That shows that the penultimate natural rights conservative, John Locke, would not find current copyright durations out of bounds.

 




Copyright Reform or Neutering? Depends If Baby's Thrown Out with Bathwater? -- Part 5 Defending First Principles Series

Current attempts to deem consensus around copyright legislation appear contrived and one-sided because they isolate a particular copyright problem out of context of the other countervailing problems with copyright law. TechFreedom's event this week asks: "CopyRIGHT: Can Free-Marketers Agree on Copyright Reform?"

The initial question for free marketeers will be whether the goal here is true "reform" that addresses the full range of real copyright problems for copyright holders, users, and intermediaries, or if the goal is more about a one-sided "neutering" of copyright by those who don't believe in intellectual property rights at all, and/or those who politically seek a property-less and permission-less Internet commons (i.e. the "information wants to be free" tech-left of Professor Lessig's Free Culture/CopyLeft movement and the Google-led Internet lobby.)

Why Conservatives Should Be Skeptical of Copyright Reform -- Part 4 Defending First Principles Series

There are many strong reasons for conservatives to be skeptical of proposed copyright reform and new entreaties for conservatives to actually lead a copyright reform effort.

  • Jerry Brito of the Mercatus Center argues the opposite in his introduction to the new book: "Copyright Unbalanced: from Incentive to Excess." In his introduction, "Why Conservatives and Libertarians Should Be Skeptical of Congress' Copyright Regime" Mr. Brito concludes that conservatives may find they "are the best situated to lead a reform" of copyright law.

While Mr. Brito's reasoned intro shows why there is a legitimate debate to be had concerning the Constitutional definition of "limited times" to authors for "their respective writings" and provides some context to justify his position, Mr. Brito does not provide the full context necessary for conservatives to make an informed decision of whether or not they should support copyright reform let alone lead the charge for it.

Let's examine the strong reasons conservatives should be skeptical here.

The Copyright Education of Mr. Khanna -- Part 2 Defending First Principles Series

Mr. Derek Khanna, a new Republican Study Committee (RSC) staffer, distributed a policy brief on copyright "myths" last Friday that the Committee very quickly disavowed and pulled down because it had not been vetted to ensure that it fairly represented the Republican Study Committee's views. Don't expect this policy brief to ever get the official support of RSC because Mr. Khanna has obviously and grossly mischaracterized Constitutional first principles, property rights, and free markets beyond recognition.

There are at least five fundamental flaws in Mr. Khanna's characterizations.

1. Congresses and Supreme Courts have not totally misread the Constitution for over 200 years.

Mr. Khanna's effective assertion that two centuries of Congressional and Supreme Court interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's treatment of property rights, and copyrights in particular, are really "myths" that misinterpret what he posits the Founding Fathers really meant to do in promoting "progress of science and the useful arts," puts his opinion squarely at odds with America's two centuries of experience with Constitutional rule of law.

Debasing Free Speech as No-Cost Speech -- Part 1 Defending First Principles Series

The genuine U.S. Constitutional principle of "Freedom of Speech" in the First Amendment -- that protects us from the real and time-tested threat of governmental tyranny -- continues to get debased, devalued and misrepresented by the free-of-cost tech movement of Free-Culture, the Free-Software Foundation, Public Knowledge, and their corporate online-advertising allies who commercially-depend on free content and the no-cost sharing of others' private property. They justify their means of debasing, devaluing and misrepresenting Constitutionally-protected freedom speech because it advances their ends of an Internet information commons.

Ironically these freedom-from-cost interests just argued against a Constitutional interpretation of protecting freedom of speech in a brief before a Federal Appeals Court in opposing Verizon's challenge to the FCC's Open Internet Order, because Verizon had the temerity to assert its Constitutional right to freedom of speech, in addition to other legal and Constitutional defenses.

The Real Motive behind Opposition to Broadband Usage Pricing -- Part 13 Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Now we know the real reason why there has been such strong opposition by FreePress and other net neutrality proponents to the common sense economic notion of broadband usage pricing. The newly launched Open Wireless Movement now wants to turn everyone's home WiFi routers into interconnected, free, public-community, "open WiFi" hotspots.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths