Internet Summit Rules Discussion Is Anti-Small Business

What’s a little crony capitalism between big friendly competitors?

Before the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in Paris, large Internet companies  (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc.) are meeting with government leaders  to discuss intellectual property rights and regulation of the Internet.

Let’s dissect what’s really going on.

“And, while acknowledging the net’s power as a force for freedom elsewhere, western countries differ on how to harness or curb it on their own doorsteps.” – Key Internet summit to discuss online rules

As an Internet attorney, to me it’s clear that governments want to regulate and tax the heck out of e-commerce. Even the United Nations has jumped on that bandwagon with proposals for a global tax to fund its pet causes.

Many of the large online companies (and their founders) are at a place in their business life cycle where it makes sense to cooperate with regulatory and taxation efforts in order to protect their turf against free market competition. They will work with the politicians in the coming years to make it difficult for new Internet startups to compete or even replace them.

This is the down side to crony capitalism. Of course, in this case, it’s the large capitalists selling rope to hang the entrepreneur as a means to preserve dominance in their respective niches. They have their billions. Why should your e-commerce company rock the boat?

There are many competing interests at stake but there is a mutual goal between the big corporations and the politicians of taming the Internet in a way that helps them to your disadvantage. And there’s going to be little you or your Internet attorney can do to turn reverse the tide because regulations and taxes often increase but rarely cease.

Righthaven May Go Down For The Count

The tide is turning against copyright troll Righthaven’s infringement shakedown business model. Already slammed in Nevada, here’s the latest from Colorado — the judge “has now put all of Righthaven’s lawsuits in that state on hold, saying that he wants to make sure Righthaven actually has standing to bring the suit.”

If Righthaven has simply been buying the right to sue and no other rights, there’s a good chance based on judicial precedent that the company lacks standing to file any of these cases. Should this simply be an arrangement where Righthaven and the copyright owners split revenues 50/50, then Righthaven is really nothing more than a de facto law firm grabbing a 50% contingency fee…something that state bars will be dealing with in addition the courts.

As if news couldn’t get any worse for the copyright troll, it appears that a class action law suit has been filed by bloggers against Righthaven alleging the company has engaged in unfair practices. There’s blood in the water and one shouldn’t be surprised to see this as the beginning of the end for Righthaven. Frankly, it’s a wonder the copyright owners haven’t been running for the hills on these deals. Whatever profit was to be made is exceeded by the damage being caused to their reputations.

As for Righthaven, the copyright troll will need more than a good Internet attorney to bail it out of this mess.

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