The European Commission demonstrates once again its leadership in opposing legal handouts to multinational media companies by asking them to bear their fair share of responsibility for protecting artists from massive infringement instead of commoditizing the value of artists’ works.
Like their colleagues at the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission has spectacularly ignored Google’s violations of law demonstrating Google’s whole-of-government capture.
Of the three EU antitrust cases against Google (search bias in shopping, Android tying, and soon search-advertising-tying), the expected new search-advertising case — which focuses on how Google has long contractually required websites to use Google’s search advertising if they use Google search — could be the hardest EU-Google antitrust case for the FTC to ignore, for the reasons below.
Summary of Why It’s Hard for FTC to Ignore the EU Search-Advertising Antitrust Case:
1. The FTC has been following the EU’s antitrust lead.
2. The FTC’s Google 2012 staff report agrees with the EU’s conclusion on search advertising.
3. The DOJ threatened a 2008 monopolization case over Google’s search advertising syndication.
4. The FTC approved two Google advertising acquisitions that substantially lessened competition.
5. The FTC fined Google a record amount in 2012 for a serious deceptive advertising offense.
6. This EU advertising case is based on strong contractual evidence.
EU regulators have brought a third antitrust charge against Alphabet Inc’s Google, accusing it of blocking rivals in online search advertising, a move that raises the pressure on the company to modify its practices or face hefty fines.
The European Commission on Thursday also reinforced an existing charge against the world’s most popular Internet search engine that its search results favor Google’s own shopping service over those of rivals.
“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference in Brussels.
The Commission said it had sent two charge sheets known as “statements of objections” to Google….
The EU’s pursuit of Google, along with probes into other U.S. multinationals over tax issues and control of personal data, has caused irritation in Washington, with President Barack Obama last year accusing Europe of veering toward protectionism.
Fifty-eight members of European Parliament have signed on to a letter urging the European Commission to protect rights holders by clarifying the status of YouTube and other services that operate under safe harbor laws.
“Despite the fact that more creative content is being consumed today than ever before, on services such as user-uploaded content platforms and content aggregation services, the creative sectors have not seen a comparable increase in revenues from this increase in consumption,” the EMP’s letter reads. “One of the main reasons is being referred to as a transfer of value that has emerged due to the lack of clarity regarding the status of these online services under copyright and e-commerce law.”