@KatHall42: Google [FINALLY] hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe

According to Kat Hall’s insightful reporting in The Register:

Google has been hit with a record antitrust fine of €2.42bn (£2.1bn) from the European Union today for promoting its own shopping search service over those of smaller rivals.

The regulator found that Google had abused its market dominance as a search engine “by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service,” it said.

European regulators gave the tech giant 90 days to stop its illegal activities or face fines of up to 5 per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet. That currently amounts to around $14m a day.

The commission has the power to fine Google’s parent up to 10 per cent of its annual revenue, which was more than $90bn (£70.8bn).

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules… It has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.”

“Most importantly, today’s decision shows that in Europe companies must compete on the merits regardless of whether they are online, the high street, and whether they are European or not.”

She said since she had taken the helm as commissioner in 2014, she has given high priority to the case. During its probe, she said the commission sifted through terabytes of data, the equivalent of 1.7 billion search queries: “It’s a lot of data and it is of course needed because our decision has to be based on firm evidence. “

She said she has no reason to believe that Google will not comply, but said the commission intended to monitor Google’s compliance closely. “This means this issue will remain on our desk for some time. “

This decision was a very long time in coming–which means of course that Google have managed to operate illegally since at least 2010 with this fine hanging in the air (see my 2014 post “The Delay’s The Thing: April Fools and the Google Antitrust Case at the European Commission“).

Not surprisingly, the Computer and Communications Industry Association came out with one of those innovation based thingys defending Google, a fellow member of the MIC Coalition cartel.

Obviously more on this to come, but the real question is when will the EU go after Google for YouTube.

If you ever wondered just how arrogant the YouTube negotiators really are, realize that these geniuses decided that it would be a good time to alienate the WIN and Merlin labels–based in…where was that again…oh yes…Europe…right in the middle of the EU antitrust investigation.  And how did they alienate the indies?  By doing pretty much the EXACT SAME THING that Google was accused of doing in search–abusing their dominant position to benefit themselves.

To be continued…

@PeggyMcGlone: Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office

Federal lawmakers are calling for an independent Copyright Office that would be led by a Register nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released the first in what is expected to be a series of reforms. They suggest keeping a newly independent office in the Legislative branch, and funding technology upgrades including a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership.

Coming on the heels of the resignation of Copyright Register Maria Pallante, and previous suggestions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposals set up a show-down between Congress and new librarian Carla D. Hayden over the future of the agency.

Read the post on The Washington Post

@RepDougCollins: Collins Writes to Librarian of Congress about Firing of Maria Pallante as Register of Copyrights

WASHINGTON—Congressmen Doug Collins, Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property Subcommittee, and Tom Graves, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, have written a letter to the Librarian of Congress regarding Maria Pallante’s departure from the Copyright Office. The content of the letter is below:

The Honorable Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress

Library of Congress

101 Independence Avenue, SE

Washington, D.C. 20540

Dear Dr. Hayden,

We are writing today regarding the recent departure of Maria Pallante from her position as Register of Copyrights at the United States Copyright Office.

As you know, Ms. Pallante had served in her position for nearly six years, administering copyright law, protecting copyright principles, and expressing a commitment to modernizing the Copyright Office while fulfilling her statutory role.

Ms. Pallante’s recent departure was unexpected, and many questions remain surrounding the circumstances, including her proposed reassignment to a role less relevant to her experience with copyrights and intellectual property and with limited interaction with Members of Congress.

The proposed reassignment and subsequent resignation of Ms. Pallante highlights the need to have further discussion regarding the direction of the Copyright Office. As Members of Committees that have a strong interest in the role and work of the Copyright Office, we believe it is critical that the Copyright Office continue to serve as a guardian of intellectual property rights while working towards modernization that provides the type of access and usability that Americans have rightly come to expect in today’s interconnected world.

Protection of intellectual property, including copyright, was woven into the Constitution by our nation’s Founders. The United States Copyright Office plays a vital role in that protection, and Congress relies on it to provide analysis, guidance, and expertise on copyright issues. Because of the critical role the Copyright Office plays, it is imperative to ensure that current and future leadership at that office demonstrates a clear commitment to ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights while meeting 21st Century needs.

Given the importance of a strong relationship between the Copyright Office and Congress, we encourage you to ensure that recent actions surrounding that office do not limit the ability of the Copyright Office to advise Congress candidly and directly. It is imperative that among the many duties the Copyright Office performs, it continues to be able to “Advise Congress” and “Provide information and assistance to Federal departments and agencies and the Judiciary on national and international issues relating to copyright,” as provided in the Copyright Act. Additionally, we urge you to ensure that the efforts at Copyright Office modernization crafted by the Copyright Office in response to public consultation are continued.

We look forward to having further discussions with you regarding the concerns highlighted above as well as the search process for a new Register of Copyrights.

Sincerely,

Doug Collins                                                                                      Tom Graves

Member of Congress                                                                       Member of Congress

 

Drain This: Trump Finds Joshua Wright in the Google Swamp — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Donald Trump is rumored to be appointing Google crony Joshua Wright to oversee Federal Trade Commission policy. Google couldn’t ask for more.

via Drain This: Trump Finds Joshua Wright in the Google Swamp — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

@RobertBLevine_: U.S. Copyright Act’s Public Performance Exception Costs Composers More Than $150 Million: Study

[Editor Charlie sez:  Because MIC Coalition members got legislation passed that violates international law, the U.S. lost a WTO arbitration so the U.S. taxpayer paid royalties to Irish songwriters that American songwriters don’t get paid.  It would have been cheaper for the taxpayer to stop this crony capitalism and require the restaurants to pay songwriters like everyone else.]

The part of the U.S. Copyright Act that exempts some small restaurants and bars from paying public performance fees to collecting societies could be costing rightsholders more than $150 million a year, according to a study by the consultancy PMP Conseil.

The study was presented today (Nov. 8) by Keith Donald, chairman of the Irish Collecting Society IMRO, at a meeting of the International Council of Creators of Music. The research was funded by GESAC, the organization of European composers groups, in an effort to push the U.S. to change its copyright laws.

The issue stems from 1998, when Congress passed the Fairness in Music Licensing Act, which let more bars and restaurants play music on a stereo or television without getting public performance licenses from ASCAP or BMI. (The bill was attached to the Copyright Term Extension Act.) Although more sweeping exemptions in the original text of the bill were withdrawn, the final version allows restaurants and bars of less than 3,750 square feet to play music without a license, provided they meet certain conditions.

After the law took effect, the European Commission began a dispute proceeding against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization, on the grounds that the exemption violated the Berne Convention — which the U.S. is obligated to abide by under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). The WTO ruled in favor of the Commission, and in 2003 and 2004, under the terms of a settlement, the U.S. paid into a European Union fund to benefit songwriters. But it hasn’t paid since then.

Read the post on Billboard