STLR Link Round-Up – Dec. 5, 2014

France Pushes for Universal “Right to be Forgotten”

France is pushing for the so-called “right to be forgotten” to be adopted globally. The right to be forgotten arises out of a ruling by the European Court of Justice this past May, which held that companies like Google cannot provide links to information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.” While Google has granted approximately half of the 120,000 deletion requests in Europe, users can still find the same links by using google.com as opposed to, for instance, google.fr. France wants the links to be removed from all search domains across the globe. Such resistance to Google is part of broader European criticism of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon). Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, and Jeffrey Toobin spoke with the New Yorker Out Loud about the right to be forgotten.

New Technologies Tearing Down Television, Slowly

As smartphones, computers, and internet streaming sources rise in popularity, live television is dying – slowly. According to Nielsen, live television usage for the average American dropped to 141 hours per month during the third quarter of 2014, from 147 hours per month during the third quarter of 2013. Digital content seems not to be replacing the television (at least not immediately), but rather complementing it: Americans consume digital media in addition to television. DVRs and streaming services such as Netflix allow users to time-shift and space-shift away from live television.

Britain Proposes a “Google Tax”

Britain is now calling for the enactment of a so-called “Google Tax.” Proposed by the chancellor of the Exchequer, the rule would force international companies like Google to pay a 25% tax on local profits. This move is largely a reaction to tax structures that move profits from areas of higher taxes – such as Britain and France – to areas with lower taxes, such as Ireland. This proposal follows on the heels of a nonbinding (and largely symbolic) resolution by the European Parliament to break up Google, as well as an ongoing antitrust investigation by the European Commission.

Steve Jobs Continuing to Patent

Steve Jobs’ legacy continues to grow: since his death in 2011, Jobs has been granted 141 patents, bringing his total to 458 patents. In comparison, Bill Gates of Microsoft holds nine patents. One of Jobs’ recent patents is for the glass cube entrance to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook, who himself has never received a patent, has led the company to a market cap increase of $300 billion since 2011.

 

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