Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Google on Copyright...

One of the vice presidents at Google released a mission statement of sorts, clarifying Google's position on complying with copyright laws. To sum it up for those of you with a short attention span, it claims that Google's policy towards "respecting content owners and protecting their rights" is based on three principles:

  • respecting copyright laws
  • letting owners choose whether to allow Google to index their material
  • bringing benefits back to content owners by partnering with them.

The whole problem the company is trying to address is that in order to make the Google search engine work, it "indexes" billions of web pages so that people can search the internet effectively. However, in order to do so, Google basically indexes everything that's out there, and keeps a cached record of it. That's great if you're an average web surfer who wants to search the internet and see the best results returned to you, but it's not so wonderful for copyright owners who don't necessarily want their works available to everybody in cyberspace (at least not that easily).

For instance, if you go to Google and search for news in Iraq, can Google provide a direct link to, or even display, a New York Times article? Or should Google be legally required to first get permission from the New York Times before it can show its content?

At issue is what should be the legal default - whether copyright owners should have to "opt-in" and proactively give their permission for the Google's of the world to offer their content, or whether owners should simply be able to "opt-out" of Google-like sites.

Copyright issues such as these arise all the time in cyberspace - not only with basic web pages, but also with audio and video files. Google's recently released mission statement tries to clarify the company's position, but it's actually little more than a fluffy P.R.-move (aka - corporate propoganda) designed to somehow address the barrage of copyright lawsuits brought against them.


At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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