Washington DC
31 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Content Creators Coalition slams Google’s public policy ‘distortion’

The Content Creators Coalition has called for a congressional investigation into Google’s alleged distortion of public policy debates.

Responding to allegations levied in a news article about Google-forced censorship at the New America Foundation, a US think tank, the coalition said Google has used its “monopoly powers” for years to “hurt artists and music creators while profiting off stolen content”.

“For years, we have warned about Google’s actions that stifle the views of anyone who disagrees with its business practices, while claiming to champion free speech.”

It added: “Google’s efforts to monopolise civil society in support of the company’s balance sheet driven agenda is as dangerous as it is wrong.”

The coalition said that the New America Foundation’s censorship calls into question the many Google-funded organisations that the internet company uses to lobby the government over copyright reform.

It said that Google fights against artists’ efforts to close the loopholes in Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and block “other commonsense reforms aimed at restoring balance in the marketplace.

Google reportedly censored the New America Foundation after one of its members praised the European Commission for issuing the internet company with a $2.42 billion anti-trust fine in June for giving priority to its own goods and services in its search results.

Barry Lynn, the scholar who wrote the statement, was fired. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of the New America Foundation, released a statement in response to the news article, arguing that the claim that Google lobbied New America Foundation to censor its Open Markets programme is “absolutely false”.

“New America is an intellectually diverse organisation. We have always encouraged many different viewpoints and our funders are aware of and support this philosophy.”

She added: “For the past two months, we have been working with Barry Lynn to spin out Open Markets as an independent programme, as we have done with other programmes, to preserve his leadership, keep the programme together, and maintain a strong relationship with New America.”

“As I reiterated to him in June, his repeated refusal to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality meant that we could no longer work together as part of the same institution. I continued, however, to seek a cooperative solution with Barry; unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful.”

The think tank has since released email correspondence with Lynn to back up its version of events. Google has not responded publicly to the claims.

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