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Viacom vs Google evidence has big antitrust implications

Wow. The evidence Viacom unearthed in discovery in their $1b copyright infringement suit against Google is surprisingly damning. The evidence shows willful, premeditated, deceptive, and organized efforts by YouTube, Google and Google-YouTube to infringe copyrights for anti-competitive and financial gain.

  • Read the quote summary first here, then review the copious evidence/history in the 86 page Viacom Statement of Facts here, and then review Viacom's Summary Judgement memo of law here

So what are the broader antitrust implications of all this new and serious evidence of illegal activity and misconduct by Google-YouTube?

First, DOJ really blew it for not even asking for a second request of information on Google's acquisition of YouTube.

GBC: Google Broadcasting Co. -- world unicaster

First there was one-to-many broadcasting, then many-to-many Internet narrowcasting... now it appears we are moving next to a one-to-many GoogleNet unicasting future...

  • ...where every company and individual may simply become a subordinate channel on the Googleopoly advertising network, 
  • and where content largely would be found only via Google's mono-search guide...

To better understand this troubling ongoing transformation, connect the dots below...

Google opposes public access to Viacom-YouTube filings -- Google's Discovery Risks -- Part I

A potential flood of very illuminating documents and information about the inner workings of Google are likely to be released soon by the Federal Court hearing Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google-YouTube, despite strong Google opposition to the court's release of the information Viacom found in "discovery."

"Bold Practical" Questions for the Media & Democracy Coalition Panel Wednesday on Capitol Hill

The Media and Democracy Coalition, the leading advocates for the FCC to effectively take over management of the Internet and the American broadband industry are gathering on Capitol Hill 11 am Wednesday (Rayburn 2123) to present their policy recommendations to the FCC for a "Bold Practical National Broadband Plan." 

Here are some questions the panelists should be asked:

Why FCC proposed net neutrality regs are unconstitutional -- See my NPR Online op-ed

My NPR Online op-ed: "Net Neutrality Regulations Compromise Freedoms" makes the case why the FCC Chairman's proposed net neutrality regulations are likely unconstitutional in multiple dimensions. 

If you like the op-ed please click on the "Recommend" check button above the title or at the end of the piece, that is in the link below, because that will keep the op-ed posted longer than otherwise.

My proposed title, which was supplanted for space concerns, was: "Taking Freedom From Some Takes Freedom From All."

  • Below is the text of my NPR Online op-ed.

 

"Net Neutrality Regulations Compromise Freedoms

September 29, 2009

What Do DOJ's Google-Book-Deal Views Signal?

DOJ's 28-page Statement of Interest to the Court responsible for deciding the fate of the Google Book Settlement speaks volumes. 

First, it ensures the current proposed settlement is effectively dead.  

  • It is hard to conceive a U.S. Federal District Court Judge approving a settlement, which the United States Government indicates may be illegal under three completely different bodies of law (class action, copyright and antitrust), and also may be per se illegal in multiple different ways.

Second, despite the DOJ's encouraging tone in the press release, the DOJ statement itself set a very high bar for the parties to overcome. Substantively, the DOJ is insisting on radical changes in the settlement that practically would gut the unique and self-serving going-forward public benefits of the deal for the parties.   

  • In a nutshell, the DOJ's is effectively urging the deal be radically pared back from covering:
    • ~All books -- to just books-in-print (a fraction of the seven million books Google has copied);
    • U.S. and foreign works -- to just U.S. works;  
    • Scanning and all derivative uses -- to just scanning and snippets;
    • Retrospective and prospective impacts -- to retrospective and heavily-scaled-back prospective impacts; and  
    • Just the parties who get special public benefits -- to enabling most outsiders to share equally in the settlement's public benefits. 

Third, it raises the question if there is still a basis for the parties to settle, because the DOJ recommended fixes fundamentally and substantially limit what the parties can extract from the settlement.

Wireless Innovation Regulation -- "Believe it or Not!"

With due to credit to "Ripley's Believe it or Not!®," so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the "name" of "wireless innovation" and competition that the topic calls for its own collection of: "Believe it or Not!®" oddities.

Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstom, the co-founder of illegal-music-downloading site Kazaa, who had to avoid entering the U.S. because of copyright-infringement liability... is now seeking a U.S. court injunction to shut down eBay's Skype for alleged copyright violations!

Googleopoly IV: Monopsony Control over Digital Info Competition -- New White Paper

My latest Google antitrust white paper, "Googleopoly IV: The Googleopsony Case," is the first antitrust analysis which connects-the-dots between Google's search advertising selling monopoly and Google's information access buying monopoly or "monopsony" by explaining and documenting how Google is harming competition in digital: news, books, broadcasting, artwork, documents, and analytics; and harming consumers seeking quality digital information that is not free.

A "Judge Greene" of the Google Book Settlement? -- Handicapping the process' four outcomes

There's been scant analysis of how the Google Book Settlement process has been altered going forward given recent major developments:

  • The "hornet swarm" of objections to the Google Book Settlement, and 
  • Google's recent preemptive concessions on:
  • To date the discussion of outcomes has been largely binary, will Federal District Court Judge Chin approve or disapprove the proposed Book Settlement?

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths