@Savan_Kotecha: The DOJ deals a devastating blow to professional songwriters — Artist Rights Watch

Last week, however, under Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse (a former Wilson Sonsini attorney — Google’s law firm), the DOJ announced that, going forward, it intends to interpret the Consent Decrees to require ASCAP and BMI to only issue licenses for songs they control 100%, up-ending decades of custom and practice. The DOJ’s intention, presumably, is to make life easier for companies like Google, Apple, and Spotify. In doing so, DOJ has created an unworkable solution to a non-existent problem.

via @Savan_Kotecha: The DOJ deals a devastating blow to professional songwriters — Artist Rights Watch

Music Creators North America Letter to Department of Justice Opposing Full Work Licensing, Partial Withdrawals — Artist Rights Watch

We begin by stating once again that we strenuously object to the timetable set by the DOJ for the submission of these comments. Unlike the many multi-­‐national, billion-­‐dollar corporations identified by your Division as “interested parties” concerning this matter (including one of the world’s richest, most powerful and influential corporations, Google), our coalition of music creators does not have and cannot afford to maintain an army of antitrust attorneys and experts to immediately prepare a detailed analysis and refutation of the solely telephonic report we were given by DOJ.

Read the post Music Creators North America Letter to Department of Justice Opposing Full Work Licensing, Partial Withdrawals — Artist Rights Watch or download the letter from MCNA to DOJ.

Daniel Kreps: Jack White, Pearl Jam, U2, Trent Reznor Sign DMCA Petition — Artist Rights Watch

Don’t worry, the Department of Justice will protect Google from these cranky artists, democracy is safe. It’s actually a big deal that U2 signed the petition given their connections to Google through the Silicon Valley venture capital networks.

via Daniel Kreps: Jack White, Pearl Jam, U2, Trent Reznor Sign DMCA Petition — Artist Rights Watch

@andreworlowski: Nothing says freedom like getting away with it: Google quietly takes gag off Mississippi AG after wrecking ads probe

Americans are freedom loving people, and nothing says freedom like getting away with it.

From Long Long Time, by Guy Forsyth

Andrew Orlowski reports in The Register:

Google has, without fanfare, dropped its legal action that muzzled an investigation into the ad giant’s conduct by the State of Mississippi.

The state’s elected attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, has taken on Wall Street, the tobacco industry and the KKK, but even he must have been surprised by Google’s 44-page restraining order [PDF] in response to a wide-ranging 79-page subpoena [PDF] he filed against the corporation in 2014….

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The subpoena into Google’s business practices focussed on whether the company was abiding by the terms of a 2012 non-prosecution agreement it signed with the US government’s Food and Drug Administration and Rhode Island State after a multi-agency sting operation.

Google agreed to forfeit $500m as part of that deal, which raised eyebrows for several reasons – one being that $230m of the forfeiture found its way to Rhode Island.

Hood pointed out that the four-year sting operation run against Google by a combination of federal agencies before a federal grand jury in Rhode Island showed that Google and its senior management team right up to Google’s CEO Larry Page was complicit in violating the Controlled Substances Act to the point of helping the bad guys get around Google’s own filters.  Google paid a $500,000,000 forfeiture for those drug violations for advertising the sale of prescription drugs–not for what the advertisers did, but for what Google did.

Sorting through more than four million documents [that Hood was trying to get released by his subpoena], prosecutors found internal emails and documents that, they say, show Mr. Page was aware of the allegedly illicit ad sales. Under this week’s $500 million settlement, those emails won’t be released, avoiding the possibility of disclosure at trial.

“Larry Page knew what was going on,” Peter Neronha, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the probe, said in an interview. “We know it from the investigation. We simply know it from the documents we reviewed, witnesses that we interviewed, that Larry Page knew what was going on.”  [Which is why Hood wanted to get at those documents.]

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According to Google’s lawyer Boris Feldman speaking in open court on the record that the Department of Justice apologized to Google for the statement by Mr. Neronha (Transcript of hearing with Feldman statement at pp 11-12):

“The U.S. attorney in Rhode Island went off the reservation and gave a long interview about all the evidence and why it was he was so excited about the case,” lawyer Boris Feldman told the judge at a Delaware state court. “It ended up being so far off the reservation that the Justice Department apologized to Google for it and muzzled him.” (emphasis mine)

The rumor is that the apology was engineered by Amazon board member Jamie Gorelick, the former Clinton Deputy Attorney General who preceded Eric Holder (later Obama’s Attorney General who was in office when the apology was tendered).

In another Googley twist, Ms. Gorelick’s former protégé (special counsel to the deputy attorney general), Beth Wilkinson, was brought in to oversee the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust non-investigation investigation into Google for which it is now being prosecuted in Europe.  Why?  Because they just don’t have enough career prosecutors in the FTC who would let Google off the hook, I suppose.  But I digress.

Ms. Gorelick represented Google in the negotiation of the deal with Holder that let Google executives keep the drug case away from a grand jury and use $500,000,000 of the shareholders’ money to pay for their own violations of law for which Google’s board and executive team was sued by stockholders (In re Google Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation).

Hood also asked about a curious section of the settlement of the shareholder lawsuit:

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So Google demonstrated again that the only government that seems to be able to control them is…maybe…the European Commission.

@scleland: What EU-Google Advertising Antitrust Charges Mean for the Obama Federal Trade Commission — Artist Rights Watch

Like their colleagues at the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission has spectacularly ignored Google’s violations of law. Scott Cleland tells us why the EU’s 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.

via @scleland: What EU-Google Advertising Antitrust Charges Mean for the Obama Federal Trade Commission — Artist Rights Watch

@FooYunChee: White House “Irritated” as EU antitrust regulators open third front against Google — Artist Rights Watch

What a shock: 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.

via @FooYunChee: White House “Irritated” as EU antitrust regulators open third front against Google — Artist Rights Watch

Chris Castle’s Comment to Justice Department on 100% Licensing: Part 2 — Artist Rights Watch

A look back at comments to the Department of Justice by our regular commenters–whose input was ignored along with everyone else from the music industry who took the time to provide the Obama Administration with practical solutions and on the ground observations. Was the “public comment” process rigged?

via Chris Castle’s Comment to Justice Department on 100% Licensing: Part 2 — Artist Rights Watch

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