The Revenge of the Adsense Whistleblower: Google Sued For Canceling Adsense Accounts and Keeping the Money

December 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Remember the Adsense Whistleblower?  What the whistleblower alleged is that Google is essentially stealing money from Adsense publishers in situations that may be subject to an obligation on Google’s part to refund that money to advertisers.  Because the whistleblower has not published any documents as evidence for the claims, we don’t have much to go on.  So in this way, it’s like almost everything else with the highly, highly secretive Google.

pastebin groups

 

That’s right–Google is canceling accounts supposedly for violating Google’s Adsense policies, but did not give any warning to the publisher or an opportunity to correct the behavior.

But Google sold advertising and kept the money after canceling the account.  This is similar to what Google was reported to have done by the BBC when it discovered that its vast advertising network was being used to sell counterfeit Olympics tickets for the London Olympics.  Google cancelled the account but kept the money.  And it is also a topic that is the subject of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s latest subpoena to Google for investigating Google’s business practices.  (Google shills are trying to pass off Hood’s subpoena as focused on piracy, but if you actually take the time to read the subpoena you will find that it hardly mentions IP theft at all and mostly focuses on how Google enforces its own practices and potential violations of the $500,000,000 plea bargain that Google entered into with the US Department of Justice for violating the Controlled Substances Act.)

The thing to remember about Google’s taking accrued but unpaid Adsense revenue under bogus or false pretenses is that it smacks of fraud.  And if Google is not refunding Adsense revenues to advertisers, then not only is it likely defrauding its ad publishers (the sites where the ads appear) it is also defrauding the advertisers.  This is not behavior that is protected by the DMCA, the Communications Decency Act, or any other safe harbor.  It is quite simply profiting by deceit and that kind of thing is often covered by state law.

When the Pastebin whistleblower first posted these accusations, Google immediately poo-poo’d the post (including the one about a sex harassment claim against well-known political contributor Matt Cutts who took a leave of absence from Google shortly after the Pastebin post.)  But now we are starting to see a conga line of lawsuits against Google for largely the same thing.

Business Insider reports that:

One company, Pubshare, has sued Google for nearly $1 million in revenue it allegedly earned from ads, which Google declined to pass on to the company….Google asked the court to dismiss the case, but a judge ruled to let it proceed. The company has recently indicated that it is bowing to pressure from publishers: In a blog post, it said it would be “making some changes” when considering whether publishers should be banned.

“Allowing an AdSense publisher to accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings without any warnings of improper practices, and then abruptly refusing to pay out any of those earnings by means of auto-generated form e-mails is the very definition of bad faith,” says Randy Gaw, a lawyer at the San Francisco firm Gaw Poe, which represents Ogtanyan.

Google declined to comment on this story when contacted by Business Insider….Four different companies have told Business Insider they are talking to their lawyers about suing the search giant for fraud. Three have actually sued, according to copies of the litigation obtained by Business Insider.

In total, Business Insider has heard from seven companies that say they lost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when they were suddenly banned from AdSense. All the companies say they were following Google’s strict rules about how to place ads on their site. Some of them say they were encouraged or given approval for their ad plans by Google’s sales staff. The companies showed us emails, images from their AdSense account dashboards, and online chat transcripts with Google staff to demonstrate their problems.

You have to feel for these Adsense publishers.  Remember, Google has acknowledged terminating thousands of Adsense publisher accounts.  Former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden turned Google lobbyist Catherine Oyama proudly told Congress how many accounts Google had terminated that is consistent with the whistleblower post and the Business Insider story:

Oyama Testimony
Google also told the world about another bunch of accounts it terminated in a report that may have been written by Fred “shred ‘em if you got ‘em” Von Lohman, former piracy guru for Google Shill Lister Electronic Frontier Foundation and current Google piracy guru:

Google Piracy Ad Cancellation

(A little free advice to General Hood–Oyama and Von Lohman should be happy to testify in response to the subpoena, which is probably why the Google PR machine is kicking into panic mode.)

So keep an eye on these lawsuits by publishers.  But the people who should really be looking into these cases are the advertisers, particularly the small advertisers.  The big ad agencies like Publius and WPP can take care of themselves on this kind of thing, and you have to believe that Google takes very good care of them.  But where do the mom and pop advertisers who are duped by Google turn?  What about the profit from counterfeit products like the London Olympics tickets?  Who takes care of those situations?

Given that the US DOJ reportedly apologized to Google for the US Attorney for Rhode Island’s statements regarding Larry Page’s involvement with promoting the sale of illegal drugs, do you think that that mom and pop advertisers or the general public can rely on the federal government to protect them from Google?  Or the consumer protection powers of their state attorneys general who are directly accountable to the voters?

The Life She Wants You to Have

December 16, 2014 2 comments

…there was lunch in the larger, first floor cafeteria where, in the corner, on a small stage there was a man, playing a guitar, who looked like an aging singer-songwriter Mae’s parents listened to.

“Is that….?”

“It is,” Annie said, not breaking her stride.  “There’s someone every day.   Musicians, comedians, writers….We book them a year ahead.  We have to fight them off.”

The singer-songwriter was signing passionately…but the vast majority of the cafeteria was paying little to no attention.

“I can’t imagine the budget for that, ” Mae said.

“Oh god, we don’t pay them.”

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

Two different Bay Area artists have posted on Digital Music News about being asked to perform on Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want” tour.  Both were asked to perform for free, one chose to do it for the exposure, the other decided not to kiss the ring.  The one (Revolva) who wanted to be paid did not get hired.  The one who did it for the exposure did get hired.

The question came up with artists who were asked to play for free on the Amanda Palmer Kickstarter tour (about which criticism Ms. Palmer evidently is still stinging) and it’s actually a very old question.

I would suggest to you that there’s a difference between telling an artist that the tour can afford $500 plus some swag and a bunch of comps, and telling the artist that in exchange for being allowed to bask in the glow of the genius of the headliner, they have to play for free plus a couple of house tickets.

Particularly when the headliner is one of the richest performers in the world and can clearly afford the $500 route.

I think that the question that needs to be examined here is not what decision the artists made.  Artists presented with this “opportunity” will either take the deal or they won’t.  The question is why is the deal being offered in the first place, particularly when employers are being sued every day for unpaid internships.

As a restauranteur told me once, if they can’t afford to tip they should cook dinner for themselves.

The tour is called “The Life You Want”.  That title has so many satirical possibilities that I think I will just let it sit there.

News from the Goolag: Lessig says he likes everything about the Pirate Party except the name

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Chris Castle:

Here’s a blast from the past, a “Gruber moment” for the Poker Prof.

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

Lessig counsels that the U.S. Congress already thinks that the fight he has created is over “hard working copyright owners” against people who want to steal.

Yes, that’s the fight he created. He got that exactly right. Which should come as no surprise–he’s been promoting the Pirate Party since 2006. Now his problem is that they are actually becoming visible and he has to figure out how to co-opt that political success for his own purposes without getting fired by Fox News contributor Joe Trippi.

What he doesn’t like is accepting the “Pirate” label. Now why would that be? Why would he care, being a lobbying academic and all? Could it be because it would make it difficult for him to keep shilling for Google & Co.? Not that he wouldn’t keep shilling, it’s just the short con is harder to run when you are walking around with…

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Google’s Guide to RICO

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

PRS For Music recently released a report entitled the “Six Business Models of Copyright Infringement.”  This report was co-sponsored by Google.  The company’s European Policy Blog had a suitably Googlely statement (if you know what I mean) announcing the release of the report.  (http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2012/07/follow-money-to-fight-online-piracy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EuropeanPublicPolicyBlog+%28European+Public+Policy+Blog%29) Well, it wasn’t entirely Googley because it didn’t contain any of the usual “Joe Camel” semiotics.

No references to children’s foods, candy, or toys, and it didn’t say “goo goo ga ga”.  Maybe they take the report seriously.

The blog said in part:

How best to combat this danger [of massive copyright infringement]? Instead of imposing blocks or filters that might damage fundamental freedoms, governments should construct coalitions with reputable advertising networks, payment processors and rightsholders. Together, these coalitions can crack down and squeeze the financing behind online infringement.

Good point.  Yes, indeed, Google has made an excellent point.  And you know, here in the United States…

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Are you having trouble with Topspin?

December 10, 2014 1 comment

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but based on a couple of personal experiences I would have to say that as a fulfillment house of physical product, Topspin turned out to be unusable.  Like so many Silicon Valley companies, as soon as you cross over into the physical world, these guys just don’t get it and worse yet, don’t know how to manage it, account for it, deal with inventory, or communicate with their ultimate customers–the artists.

So nothing unusual about that, but the problem is that Topspin held itself out as being capable of dealing with all those things.  There were three problems we encountered with the physical side (I have it on good authority that the digital side was promising and well designed–from which I would conclude that the company should have stuck to their knitting.)  This was before the sale to Beats and before the sale of Beats to Apple.

1.  Taking orders from fans that were not fulfilled.  In one situation, we were forced to use Topspin by a major label which seemed weird.  (I won’t tell you which major label, but let’s just say in retrospect, I’m not surprised.)  Topspin’s order intake was very clunky (and I’m skipping over a tale of woe there), but the worst part about it was that they took the fan’s money and only sent the product after the manager jumped all over them a couple times.  If they had dedicated customer service folk, we couldn’t tell (and that is soooo diplomatic).

2.  Product Return was Difficult:  Getting any inventory of physical goods sent to Topspin was very difficult and time consuming.

3.  Accounting Was Funky and Clunky:  It was very difficult to get a straight count from Topspin, plus the company charged administration fees that were never agreed to.  Nightmare.

Recall that Topspin is now somehow part of Beats.  I am hearing all of the above from independent artists who are having a very difficult time getting anyone from Topspin on the phone.  Of course, I’m reminded of Facebook’s outgoing message:  We’re an Internet company so we communicate by email.  There is no voicemail.

Here’s the problem:  All of the indie artists I speak to seem to believe that their days with Topspin are over and they (A) want to be reimbursed for the sales they fulfilled out of embarrassment in situations that Topspin took the money for but never sent product; (B) they want an accounting from Topspin for any sales they did make (which the artists have never received); and (C) they want their product back, usually CDs, or they want to be paid for the cost of producing the product.

Topspin is in the typical position for an Internet company–none of these artists are owed enough money to make it worth suing, but all together the artists could be owed quite a bit of money.

The other problem with Topspin is that when you take somebody’s property and promise to hold it and follow their instructions, you assume what is arguably a fiduciary duty to treat that somebody in a special way.  That is called being an agent for your principal.  (This is kind of a bailment for those writ pleaders reading along.)

And here’s a hot tip for Topspin:  If you take somebody’s property and don’t give it back when they ask for it we call that theft.   And as we all know, theft is a crime.

So there’s people who deal with crimes like this where someone–yes, even a venture backed dot com now owned by Apple–steals a little bit from a lot of people.  These people are called district attorneys.

And you know what?  Funny thing is I know some of those people.  How about that for a coincidence, eh?

Here’s what I ask from our readers.  If you have had these kinds of problems from Topspin, I’d like to hear from you.  Leave a comment and let me know or DM on Twitter @musictechpolicy.

Thanks, let’s crowdsource this mofo.

A Royale With Cheese: How Google Taught the U.S. Congress to Lead With Their Chins

December 6, 2014 1 comment

l’Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

VINCENT

But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?

JULES

What?

VINCENT

It’s the little differences.  A lotta the same shit we got here, they got there, but there they’re a little different.

JULES

Examples?

VINCENT

In Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s.  Also, you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?

JULES
They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?

VINCENT

No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.

Pulp Fiction, by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary

Google is in the middle of a knock-down drag out fight with the European Commission’s antitrust authority over a very simple issue:  Google has nearly 100% market share in Europe over search (including video search through its YouTube platform), much, much higher than Google’s US market share.  Google abuses its dominance to favor its own products over its competitors–just as Senators Lee and Franken suspected when Eric Schmidt testified before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee.

The European Commission has conducted a multi-year investigation into Google that was left unresolved when the head of the antitrust agency in the EC served out his term and was replaced.  For four years, Google failed–through its usual smugness and arrogance–to settle the case.  Now it looks like the new commissioner might sue rather than settle, and that has Google well freaked out.

The potential downside could be a fine of tens of billions of dollars.  And that’s a lot of money, even for a company like Google that paid a $500,000,000 fine for promoting the sale of illegal drugs like it was chump change.

Just as the investigation is about to start anew with the recently appointed antitrust commissioner, the European Parliament spoke up and decided to make its views known in a non-binding resolution addressing the issues.  Why?  The New York Times reports that:

European fears of American technology giants have been stoked in the last 18 months by the revelations of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, about American intelligence agencies’ spying activities and perceived easy access to the world’s tech infrastructure. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany publicly complained when it was discovered last year that her cellphone had most likely been tapped by American intelligence.

In one sense, Thursday’s vote [on the resolution] amounts to little more than political posturing because the Parliament has no formal power over antitrust policy in the 28 countries of the European Union. That power rests with the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm. Yet the vote could raise pressure on [the new antitrust commissioner] to speed a decision on whether to bring formal antitrust charges against Google in an investigation that began in 2010.

The European Parliament, you see, is considering applying the competition law of the European Union to…Google.  And Google doesn’t like that.  The take away from Google’s “ice in winter” settlement talks with the EC could lead one to think that Google seems to think that American corporations should be able to operate wherever they want and not answer to local laws.

Or, to paraphrase Cicero, civis Americanus sum.  And that attitude always goes over so well in Europe.

But of course the only American corporation that is the subject of a protracted antitrust investigation in Europe is…wait for it…Google.  So it’s really more like civis Google sum.  Which also pretty much summarizes how Google feels about the nation state in general; as the Wall Street Journal has noted, the next war is the Silicon Valley tech giants against national sovereignty.  However overblown that may sound, it is true and increasingly obvious.

It’s not that Google necessarily wants American law to apply, Google wants to make up the rules. (More evidence of this arrogance is the Safari Users Against Secret Tracking case that Google lost in the UK and is now appealing in which Google wants to be able to force UK resident users to sue Google in the U.S. only–Google like the nation state just fine when it comes to screwing their users.)

One of Google’s principal lobbyists had this to say about the MEPs resolution according to CNET:

“The increased politicization of the Google competition investigation is deeply troubling,” CCIA Chief Executive Ed Black said earlier this week of the parliament’s move….[T]he European Parliament’s action is counterproductive, Black said. “It potentially undermines the legitimacy of competition law if it is seen merely as another tool to be manipulated by special pleading and used for protectionist and political ends.”

So if you’re worried about the issue being politicized by elected representatives, the really smart thing to do is have the U.S. Congress threaten the European Parliament.

Members of the U.S. Congress signed this letter to members of the European Parliament.  The Members were apparently motivated by a lobbying blitz from Google (although the name “Google” doesn’t appear in the letter).

Google Letter

However, I would bet that the Members who signed the letter had not all read the motion for a nonbinding resolution from the European Parliament as it covers a few different issues (and passed by a 3:1 margin).  No, the Members were probably relying on staff, who relied on Google’s lobbyists.  This is a good way to end up with egg on your face.

Because when you compare what the resolution actually said to what the Members’ letter said it said, you will recognize in the lobbyists’ words so mistakenly relied on by our Congress that certain combination of threat, Newspeak and tofu economics that is the hallmark of Google.

And here’s a hot tip: nobody believes the U.S. is going to get into a trade war with Europe over Google getting carved up or much of anything else.  Could that be why the MEPs ignored the Google letter and voted 3:1 in favor of the resolution?  Now not only is the letter Theodore Roosevelt-style jingoism, it’s emasculated Theodore Roosevelt-style jingoism that was entirely predictable.  Bully! Let’s make ‘em squeal!

Here’s the actual motion for resolution, see if you think it really is so overbearing and burdensome when read in its entirety and in context.  And then ask yourself if the letter that the Members sent to the MEPs sounds like…well, sounds like a Yank acting like a tanked up cowboy reciting Ezekiel 25:17.

1.      Calls on the Member States and the Commission, through sustained efforts of implementation of existing rules and enforcement of these rules, as part of an overarching strategy, to address all existing barriers that are hindering the development of the digital single market; believes that these efforts need to be at the heart of the EU’s efforts to generate economic growth and employment and strengthen its competitiveness and resilience within the global economy;

2.      Stresses that any legislative proposal related to the digital single market must comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, so that rights enshrined therein are fully protected in the digital domain;

3.      Stresses the need to tackle and combat the digital divide in order to fully grasp the potential of the digital single market and to guarantee the inclusion of all citizens, regardless of their income, social situation, geographical location, health or age, in society in the digital era;

4.      Calls on the Commission to ensure the swift implementation of the single market for services and to ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules such as the Consumer Rights Directive, alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution, while ensuring the reduction of administrative burdens;

5.      Calls for the swift adoption of the new modernised Data Protection Package in order to provide an appropriate balance between a high level of protection of personal data, user safety and control over one’s personal data and a stable, predictable legislative environment in which businesses can flourish in an enhanced single market for the benefit of end-users, a level playing field fostering investment, and an environment contributing to the attractiveness of the EU as a destination for businesses; calls on the Commission and the Member States to allocate the necessary resources to fight cybercrime by means of legislative measures and law enforcement cooperation, at both national and EU level;

6.      Stresses the need to ensure a level playing field for companies operating in the digital single market in order for them to be able to compete; calls, therefore, on the Commission to properly enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of dominant position and to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services;

7.      Notes that a level playing field for companies in the digital single market must be ensured in order to guarantee a vibrant digital economy in the EU; stresses that a thorough enforcement of EU competition rules in the digital single market will be determinant for the growth of the market, consumer access and choice and competitiveness in the long term;

8.      Urges the Council to make swift progress and open negotiations with Parliament on the proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, as this would, concretely, put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality, and improve consumer protection inside the digital single market; believes that this regulation could constitute a crucial step towards realising a single European mobile market;

9.      Stresses that all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, irrespective of its sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application;

10.    Notes that the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given the potential development of search engines into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; calls, therefore, on the Commission to enforce EU competition rules decisively, based on input from all relevant stakeholders and taking into account the entire structure of the digital single market in order to ensure remedies that truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term means of achieving the aforementioned aims;

11.    Stresses that, when using search engines, the search process and results should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, to ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and to maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent, and that, for interlinked services, search engines must guarantee full transparency when showing search results; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by search engine operators;

12.    Welcomes the announcement of further investigations by the Commission into search engine practices and the digital market in general;

13.    Calls on the Commission to come up with the long overdue copyright reform, in particular with regard to measures which would enhance the potential of the digital single market, particularly concerning access to content, dissemination of knowledge and viable models for cross-border services; considers, in this connection, that the review of Directive 2001/29/EC is fundamental for the future reform, which should take into account new technologies and consumer and user behaviour;

14.    Stresses the importance of ensuring an efficient and balanced framework for the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights, geared to the reality of the digital economy, while guaranteeing the interests of consumers and internet users;

15.    Encourages swift adoption and enactment of international provisions facilitating access of disabled users to digital content and to printed works through their digitisation;

16.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop and implement EU and national regulatory frameworks in order to allow an integrated and secure online and mobile payments market, while ensuring the protection of consumers and customer data; underlines, in this connection, the need for clear and predictable rules, set out in legislation;

17.    Recalls that cloud computing can become a powerful instrument for the development of the digital single market, and can offer economic benefits, particularly for SMEs, by reducing IT infrastructure and other costs; highlights in this connection the fact that, if cloud services are provided only by a limited number of large providers, an increasing amount of information will be aggregated in the hands of those providers; recalls, furthermore, that cloud computing also entails risks for users, in particular as regards sensitive data; calls for proper implementation of the European strategy to guarantee competitive and secure cloud computing;

18.    Calls on the Commission to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing, which enable privacy-friendly, reliable, highly interoperable, secure and energy-efficient cloud services as an integral part of a future Union industrial policy; stresses that reliability, security and protection of data are needed for consumer confidence and competitiveness;

19.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

So as you can see, the resolution itself covers a variety of topics, including the sainted net neutrality.  But what Google wanted the Congress to hear was that the European Parliament wants to break up Google–something the resolution simply does not say.

But a handful of Members still dutifully fired off the letter above.  Because God forbid that the U.S. Government should take too close a look at what Google is up to, especially given Google’s massive lobbying spend, influence peddling and many dodgy super PACs.

I’m not surprised to see Rep. Jared Polis signing up to the letter, given his own threatening letter that successfully protected Google from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission–having been on a panel with Mr. Polis and watched him reading from talking points printed from the website of Google Shill-Lister the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Fellow letter writer Rep. Darrell Issa wrote his own threatening letter to the FTC that pretty clearly was about the FTC’s investigation of Google, but had the good taste not to actually mention Google by name, an accomplishment he shares with the EU resolution.

As Valleywag reported, “These Letters [to the EU Parliament] Reveal Which Congressmen Google Has In Its Pocket“.  We wouldn’t go quite that far, as that’s about as simplistic as CNET reporter and champion of democracy Molly Wood’s suggestion to Google that it defeat SOPA by buying Congressmen.   And as California political operative Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh once said, money is the mother’s milk of politics.  Given the untold millions that Google spends on its ideological agenda alongside other tech billionaires, it’s not surprising that they can produce Congressmen to sign threatening letters on short notice.

There’s no denying the fact that Google’s Matt Cutts figures large in the Lessig Super PAC alongside a multitude of Silicon Valley fat cats starting with Sean Parker’s $500,000 donation.  Lessig PAC spent tens of millions, largely to oppose conservative and centrist candidates.  Here’s an example of what the Lessigites did to Chairman Fred Upton:

upton

There’s no telling where these Valley Boy Super PACs may focus their attacks in the future, which of course is the point (and with one exception, a recent donor list showed the fat cats are all boys).  It looks like some Members got the message loud and clear–evidently so loud and clear that it was more important to condemn MEPs to their faces without too terribly much concern about what the resolution at issue actually said.  (Googler Matt Cutts took a leave of absence from Google a few weeks after his name appeared in the “Pastebin Whistleblower” AdSense Fraud posting and began figuring large in the Super PAC world shortly after that.  Searchenginewatch recently reported that Cutts “leave of absence” is extended into 2015 confirmed by Cutts in his Twitter account.  When was the last time you were able to take a multi-year “leave of absence” and pursue your employer’s political objectives?)

Remember that Google has over 90% of the search market in Europe and in some European countries it has over 95%.  That would be similar to what would happen if the Google/Yahoo ad deal had gone through in the US–but, that’s right, the deal fell apart over antitrust issues.

Google’s flexing of its lobbying muscle will come as no surprise to anyone in the indie label world.  Most recently, YouTube’s grotesquely high handed treatment of indie labels resulted in a complaint by IMPALA against Google at the European Commission.  IMPALA is no stranger to big companies not wanting to experience rebalancing of their assets after moves that would create unacceptable levels of concentration.

Remember that over the last few years, Google has been investigated by the European Commission’s antitrust division and was given an unprecedented three opportunities to settle their case.  Google launched what we’ve come to know as their typical charm offensive that they apparently thought was working.  All that Google did, however, was strengthen the will of the smaller companies that the Silicon Valley behemoth wants to crush and also stiffen the resolve of Europeans against them.

Now that it looks like Google’s lobbying efforts in Europe have finally backfired publicly, the company may well be about to experience one of its greatest losses.  So what does it do?

With a geopolitical analysis worthy of a Fresno mall rat, they decide to whip up the United States Congress on what are truly false charges if you read the MEPs resolution.  This is not a case of Old Europe quashing innovation socialist-style.  This is a case of Google’s unbridled arrogance being brought to heel.

If you ever wondered what it is like dealing with Google, this move with the Congress is very similar to what they do when a pesky music publisher affiliate of a major label gets a little too pushy.  They call upstairs and issue their orders.

Except this time they ordered a Royale with Cheese.

Richard Epstein and Real vs. Intellectual Property

December 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

For those of you who find that you are looking for the fourth circle of hell as relief from enduring the “distinctions” between tangible property and intellectual property spewed by the EFFluviati and other fellow travelers of Professor Lester Lawrence Lessig III (affectionately known as “Trip” Lessig in these pages), you “must read” The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Propertyby Professor Richard A. Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago and Peter and Kirsten Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

My first encounter with Richard Epstein was when I was in my first year of law school, and my reaction as a budding lawyer was similar to the reaction I had as a budding drummer (then age 7) when I first saw Buddy Rich. (“…I don’t know why I thought I could do this, I’ll never be any good at it…

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