After months of investigating potential violations of antitrust law, the DOJ pointed to two serious difficulties: the possibility of horizontal agreements among authors and publishers to restrict price competition and the further restriction of competition by Google's de facto exclusive rights to the digital distribution of orphan works. Competitors would be denied access to millions of orphans, the memorandum argued, because they would not enjoy the immunity from suits for copyright infringement that the settlement reserves to Google.
Meanwhile, this Nicholson Baker review of Ken Auletta’s Googled has this frustrating tidbit:
One unnamed “prominent media executive” leaned toward Auletta at the 2007 Google Zeitgeist Conference and whispered a rhetorical question in his ear: What real value, he wanted to know, was Google producing for society?
(Emphasis mine) And this insightful formulation of the problem: “So why are the prominent media executives unhappy? Because Google is making lots of ad money, and there’s only so much ad money to go around.”
I continue to believe the New York Times has a South Korea-mixed-race children beat, as this story marks the third time in the past few weeks that they’ve talked about mixed-race children’s difficulty in South Korea.
That beat is kind of an interesting counterpoint to Jim Fallows’s criticism of the media here—he criticizes the media for not recognizing that Obama’s goals in China were in fact met…a week or so after the visit. So it represents the media’s inability to follow up on a story they’d already start (unlike, say, South Korea and its mixed-race children). I guess this goes back to my point about time—media time has sped up so fast that they’ve already forgotten about last week’s OBAMA CHINA FAIL story, as if it occurred weeks and weeks ago.
Meanwhile, this article about the UAE-Dubai thing is full of speculation—it might be a problem—but it seems like the government is standing behind Dubai, so I think we’ll be safe, as long as investors don’t panic. This, however, is the most interesting part of the article:
Yet, Dubai’s problems could also be a boon for some emerging economies, like India, Brazil and China, that are not heavily indebted to overseas investors and which have large populations that are buying more goods and services. Investors have been pouring billions of dollars into those countries in recent months and are likely to increase their allotment to them as they shift away from financially troubled countries.
I don’t see it as a boon—I see it as a problem! There’s tons of hot money pouring into these emerging countries, whether from carry trade or otherwise, and it’s probably inflating a bubble. As Tyler Cowen points out:
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S recent trip to China reflects a symbiotic relationship at the heart of the global economy: China uses American spending power to enlarge its private sector, while America uses Chinese lending power to expand its public sector. Yet this arrangement may unravel in a dangerous way, and if it does, the most likely culprit will be Chinese economic overcapacity.
Cowen recommends that the U.S. stop “postpon[ing] fiscal responsibility” and he has a point; the question is one of timing. Unfortunately, the, ah, incredibly smart individuals in the White House seem to think “sooner” rather than “later” is the right timing, if this Wall Street Journal article is to be believed. And of course, it’s Social Security that they’re after, which as everyone knows is the true source of America’s fiscal problems, what with its projected fiscal problems in the 2050s or so, as opposed to—oh I don’t know—the perpetually overbudget defense systems, inefficient farm subsidies or health care waste. Couldn’t be any of those. Definitely Social Security. Way to endear yourself to your base, Obama.