December 20, 2007

An FTC-EU Fight A-Brewin’ [4:59 pm]

F.T.C. Clears Google-DoubleClick Deal — pdf

The Federal Trade Commission said that the deal won’t significantly lessen competition in the online advertising market, rebuffing complaints from Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. that it would give Google a dominant position.

”The FTC’s strong support sends a clear message: this acquisition poses no risk to competition and will benefit consumers,” Eric Schmidt, Google Inc.’s chief executive, said. ”We hope that the European Commission will soon reach the same conclusion.”

The European Commission declined to comment on the FTC’s decision, spokesman Jonathan Todd said.

The FTC’s approval of the deal without conditions could push European regulators to take a tougher line, says Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

The FTC press release: Federal Trade Commission Closes Google/DoubleClick Investigation (pdf). With commissioner statements and other supporting information.

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A Cautionary Tale [4:54 pm]

From David Pogue’s Circuits e0mail: The Generational Divide in Copyright Moralitypdf

[...] I incorporated their examples into a little demonstration in this particular talk. I tell the audience: “I’m going to describe some scenarios to you. Raise your hand if you think what I’m describing is wrong.”

Then I lead them down the same garden path:

“I borrow a CD from the library. Who thinks that’s wrong?” (No hands go up.)

“I own a certain CD, but it got scratched. So I borrow the same CD from the library and rip it to my computer.” (A couple of hands.)

[...] The exercise is intended, of course, to illustrate how many shades of wrongness there are, and how many different opinions. Almost always, there’s a lot of murmuring, raised eyebrows and chuckling.

Recently, however, I spoke at a college. It was the first time I’d ever addressed an audience of 100 percent young people. And the demonstration bombed.

In an auditorium of 500, no matter how far my questions went down that garden path, maybe two hands went up. I just could not find a spot on the spectrum that would trigger these kids’ morality alarm. They listened to each example, looking at me like I was nuts.

Finally, with mock exasperation, I said, “O.K., let’s try one that’s a little less complicated: You want a movie or an album. You don’t want to pay for it. So you download it.”

There it was: the bald-faced, worst-case example, without any nuance or mitigating factors whatsoever.

“Who thinks that might be wrong?”

Two hands out of 500.

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