January 03, 2013, 03:00 pm
By David A. Balto, former policy director, Federal Trade Commission
We all remember the movie “Reversal of Fortune” that retells the real life story of Claus von Bulow, accused of attempting to kill his super-wealthy wife. When the movie begins life looks extremely bleak for Claus – he has been convicted of murder, the factual evidence seems compelling and he seems like a wholly unsavory character. Yet Alan Dershowitz arrives on the scene, and although he believes Claus is guilty, he finds new legal avenues, undermines the key evidence, and reverses the conviction.
Google’s opponents probably feel like Claus with the news that the decision in the ongoing Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation has been delayed. The FTC seemed poised to close the investigation into search, perhaps with some enforceable voluntary commitments by Google. Then the announcement was delayed beyond the end of 2012, and we still remain in limbo awaiting the Commission’s decision.
December 21, 2012, 09:00 pm
By Jonathan Spalter, chairman, Mobile Future
It may not be the end of the world as the Mayan’s foretold, but it’s certainly the end of an eventful year for American innovation. If future civilizations look back on the information age, they could chart its progress largely by the innovation driven here in Silicon Valley. First came the Internet, then the mobile Internet and now the transformations occurring at the nexus of mobile, the Internet and social media.
Think back to popular culture moments: The Olympics, the re-election of the president, the suddenly ubiquitous Gangnam Style. What the three disparate events have in common is that we flocked to the social, mobile web to learn, to debate and to share with one another.
December 10, 2012, 10:30 pm
By Scott Cleland, author, "Search and Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc."
Why isn't the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) holding Google to the same "honest broker" standard to which it holds every other company in the U.S. economy?
After an eighteen-month investigation of the most extensive alleged "deceptive and unfair business practices" in FTC history, FTC investigators recommended the FTC prosecute Google for deceptive search bias in a 100-page memo. That recommendation built upon the evidence collected by a bipartisan Senate Antitrust Subcommittee investigation of Google search bias last year. In addition last May, the European Commission concluded Google's search bias is illegal.
December 10, 2012, 10:00 pm
By David A. Balto and Brendan Coffman
One of the critical obstacles to our innovation economy are patent trolls or Patent Assertion Entities (“PAE”) which acquire patents simply to bring patent litigation and effectively tax innovation. PAEs exploit numerous problems in our legal system including the expense and uncertainty of patent litigation, the excessive granting of patents in the high-tech space, the ambiguity of abstraction surrounding the claims of many high-tech patents, and the anticompetitive pricing power that comes from aggregating patents in an industry where market definition is especially difficult. PAEs are costing the economy over $29 billion annually and creating barriers to the innovation that is critical to the growth of the economy.
December 07, 2012, 08:00 pm
By Darren Hayes, professor, Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, New York City
On August 21, 1789, the House of Representatives adopted amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which later became known as the Bill of Rights. The fourth of these amendments was introduced to protect private citizens from unlawful search and seizure by government agents. Last Thursday, members of Congress once again sought to protect the citizens they represent from unreasonable searches by agents of the government.
December 07, 2012, 02:00 pm
By Randall Skoglund, Orange Hat Group
The results of this election made one thing clear about the GOP and the era of digital politicking: we are doing it wrong.
It is not that Conservatives are not engaged online (in fact the opposite is true), or that the Right is not using the best tools or techniques. It is fundamentally that Conservatives do not have the correct view of the role of digital politics in campaigns.
After the ground-breaking uses of technology in Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and the game-changing use of the internet by Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, it became clear to many on the Right that the era of digital politics was here to stay. And while the Right has by-in-large embraced the digital arena, it is not enough to just engage in social networks, buy digital ads, send emails and engage in mobile campaigning.
December 04, 2012, 04:00 pm
By Linda Perry, Desmond Child, Lee Thomas Miller, BC Jean and Kara DioGuardi, songwriters
Last week, we grabbed our guitars, borrowed a piano and set up shop on Capitol Hill to tell our story: Pandora isn’t playing fair.
We are songwriters. Those lyrics you know by heart or the tune you can’t get out of your head. The songs you dance to, cry to, and sing in the shower. That’s us. You probably wouldn’t recognize us on the street.
November 30, 2012, 05:00 pm
By Jamie Court, president, Consumer Watchdog
When you stare down a $220 billion corporation, it’s hard not to blink. But if the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t deliver on its ultimatum to Google that it settle its antitrust problems soon for real relief or face prosecution, then consumers will never get the open and unfettered online and mobile access to information they deserve.
While the government’s battle with Microsoft in the 1990s was about whether the dominant software company could bundle software and an Internet browser, the antitrust case against Google is about whether one company should have so much control over online information that it can steer us any where it chooses for its own profit.
November 28, 2012, 04:45 pm
By Patrick Laird, musician, Break of Reality
As a musician with Break of Reality, an independent music group, I would very much like to have my voice heard with regard to the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Internet radio has provided tremendous exposure for my band, Break of Reality, an independent music group. I would like to share how important it is to help create fair legislation so that companies like Pandora can flourish and expand, creating more opportunities and revenue for us as musicians.
November 27, 2012, 07:30 pm
By David Lowery, band founder and musician and Chris Castle, technology attorney
We are stunned by how little attention has been paid to the treacherous parts of the so-called Internet Radio Fairness Act — the parts that have nothing to do with the royalty rates paid to artists and everything to do with shutting down speech and agency capture.
Among other things the bill would stand antitrust law on its head, and would permit dominant players like Sirius XM and Clear Channel to sue any group of sound recording owners — any — if they “impede” the efforts of these two behemoths to make direct licensing deals with record companies.