Go recuse yourself! Renata Hess worked for Google apparently defending them against DOJ antitrust scrutiny brought on by the proposed Google/Yahoo search advertising linkup.
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. The DOJ anti-trust lawyer that we are told pushed the “100% licensing” rule on songwriters and their performance rights organizations (PRO), in private practice defended Google against anti-trust concerns in the Google/Yahoo search advertising linkup. Sheer hypocrisy.
From an interview on Adrian Bye’s website meetinnovators Dec 18 2008
Renata Hesse: Typically when we do counseling, people come to us and say, “Hey, I really would like to do this. Is that okay?” and sometimes you get some pretty interesting questions that way. Usually, the business people are the ones who are thinking of the clever ways of making sure that their products succeed and not the lawyers.
Adrian Bye: Right.
There’re been obviously antitrust issues between Google and Yahoo! Are you able to comment on any of those?
Renata Hesse: I’m not, really, I’m afraid since I did a lot of work for Google on it.
Adrian Bye: Okay.
Step back. So Ms. Hesse apparently defended Google against anti-trust concerns in a search advertising partnership that would have allowed Google to control 99% of the search advertising market. But she finds the fact that a tiny songwriter PRO like GMR (represents less than 1% of all songs by popularity) can refuse to license a song to a 1/2 a trillion dollar company like Google/YouTube a mortal threat to competition in the music licensing marketplace? WTF? Seriously, what would happen if YouTube or Clear Channel couldn’t license the song? Would planes fall from the sky? Would the economy collapse? Would plague and pestilence sweep the land?
YouTube or Clear Channel etc would not be able to play the song. That’s all. At least until the two parties had come to a mutually beneficial agreement. But that sounds an awful lot like free markets, capitalism and robust intellectual property rights. We don’t want any of that in the US. Not if the DOJ can help it!
Meanwhile has the DOJ managed to do anything about real anti-competitive issues going on the broader economy? Consolidation in the airline industry? Mobile phone market? Search advertising? You know issues that effect the people they are supposed to be protecting.
No? Didn’t think so.
Welcome to the new and improved pay-to-play DOJ! Now using the antitrust laws to protect trusts! Don’t tell Teddy Roosevelt!