Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is Google's Book Search a Natural Monopoly?

A good article in the Washington Post provides some insight about the recent court case that will require Google to pay licensing fees for the books it copies (WP):
By settling the case, Google has made it much more difficult for others to compete with its Book Search service. Of course, Google was already in a dominant position because few companies have the resources to scan all those millions of books. But even fewer have the additional funds needed to pay fees to all those copyright owners. The licenses are essentially a barrier to entry, and it's possible that only Google will be able to surmount that barrier.
If barriers to entry and minimum scale essentially make Google like a natural monopolist, will they eventually be regulated like one?

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