I can't believe this.
A few days ago I wrote about the extraordinary extra monopolies the German newspaper industry wanted - including an exemption from anti-cartel laws. I also noted:
And make no mistake: if Germany adopts this approach, there will be squeals from publishers around the world demanding "parity", just as there have been with the term of copyright. And so the ratchet will be turned once more.
And what do we find? Why, exactly the same proposals *already* in an FTC "Staff Discussion Draft" [.pdf], which is trying to come up with ways to solve the newspaper industry's "problem" without actually addressing the key issue, which is that people are accessing information online in new ways these days. The document looks at some of the proposed "solutions", which come from the industry, which wants - of course - more monopoly powers:
Internet search engines and online news aggregators often use content from news organizations without paying for that use. Some news organizations have argued that existing intellectual property (IP) law does not sufficiently protect their news stories from free riding by news aggregators. They have suggested that expanded IP rights for news stories would better enable news organizations to obtain revenue from aggregators and search engines.
Advocates argue “the copyright act allows parasitic aggregators to ‘free ride’ on others’ substantial journalistic investments,” by protecting only expression and not the underlying facts, which are often gathered at great expense.
They suggest that federal hot news legislation could help address revenue problems facing newspapers by preventing this free-riding.
Moreover, like the German publishers, they also want a Get Out of Jail Free card as far as anti-trust is concerned:
Some in the news industry have suggested that an antitrust exemption is necessary to the survival of news organizations and point to the NPA as precedent for Congress to enact additional protections from the antitrust laws for newspapers. For example, one public comment recommended “the passage of a temporary antitrust exemption to permit media companies to collaborate in the public interest”
Got that? An anti-trust exemption that would allow newspaper to operate as a cartel *in the public interest*. George Orwell would have loved it.
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21 June 2010
I can't believe this.