Carl Slaughter’s Open Letter to the CEO of Google

By Carl Slaughter:

To: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
From: Carl Slaughter teachenglishabroad@yahoo.com 86-18437781522

Congratulations on your recent promotion. Now shut it down.

Quick update: I registered these domain names: I HATE GOOGLE DOT COM, I LOVE GOOGLE DOT COM, I LIKE GOOGLE DOT COM. Your legal department threatened me repeatedly with legal action.

You fiercely protect your own property – or in my case, property you claim to own – but refuse to protect the property of others. And not only do you not fight piracy, YOU ARE COMMITTING THE BIGGEST ACT OF MASS THEFT IN THE HISTORY OF COPYRIGHT.

I am referring to your book project. You tried to publish 30,000,000 books without permission or compensation. The only reason you offered compensation later is because the Authors Guild took you to court.

The Authors Guild’s solution was to ask you for $3,000,000,000. Your solution was to offer them $125,000,000. My solution is for you to stop publishing someone else’s books. Or rather, everyone else’s books.

And make no mistake, what you are doing with Google Books is essentially publishing in spirit and letter. It’s obvious you intend to coop the entire publishing industry. It is furthermore obvious from your longstanding actions that you consider all material whatsoever fair game, plan to assimilate all of it, and don’t intend for anyone but you to profit.

Meanwhile, you let Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel (WME) take a beating in the media when he took you to task over piracy. Then you snubbed Chris Dodd (MPAA) and rebuffed Geoff Taylor (PBI).

Most of the books you’ve scanned are nonfiction and most of the people I network with write mostly fiction. But you will eventually start assimilating fiction. Movies, TV shows, music, sports, photos. You’ll eventually target anything that can be offered online. You are the Borgle.

But even before your pending invasion, piracy has long been a major problem in the fiction community. Why else would the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have epiracy and copyright committees? Why else would speculative fiction matron Ursula K. Le Guin cancel her membership from the Authors Guild and publicly renounce their decision to (temporarily) compromise with you?

Authors routinely offer excerpts on their websites, as do publishers like Tor. At SF Signal, I have linked readers to as many as 9 sample chapters from one book. FreeSFOnline.de offers free short stories in print and podcast form. But they get the author’s permission. You can’t post or distribute scenes, chapters, or entire stories, much less entire books, without permission from the authors.

In search of authors to interview and books to feature, I have perused the catalogs of the major speculative fiction publishers and the major agencies with large speculative fiction clientele. I have read jacketcopy for thousands of novels. I did the same with the 300 and 900 sections of the library to get caught up on all those things my professors didn’t tell me in college.

So I can tell you from extensive personal experience that reading the jacketcopy of a book suffices for someone to decide whether to read a book. And Amazon is already providing that service. You are enticing people to your site by offering aggregate snippets that essentially gut the contents of the book and render a reading, i.e. purchase, unnecessary.

Just as aggregate news sites, with high Google ranking, gut news stories by offering readers the key paragraphs and a perfunctory link to the original source. Thus, they drive advertisers away from newspapers and magazines that rely on advertising revenue to generate news. These aggregate news sites use the same fig leave of “fair use” to justify the same parasitical process.

Furthermore, cyberlockers, which your search engine makes easy to find, delete advertisements, which underwrite television production costs; just as download sites cut deeply into ticket sales, which underwrite movie production costs.

Screen sci-fi is particularly sensitive to production costs because of the special effects, spaceship/extraterrestrial sets, alien prosthetics, varied costumes/uniforms, and so on, unique to this genre’s visual storytelling.

Big and small screen speculative entertainment – science fiction, fantasy, and horror – have long since gone mainstream. But if this trend continues, THERE AIN’T GONNA BE NO MORE SCI FI MOVIES AND SCI FI TELEVISION SHOWS CUZ THERE AIN’T GONNA BE NO MORE PRODUCTION FINANCING FOR NO MORE SCI FI ENTERTAINMENT.

As an example, I recently interviewed Matthew Warner, novelization author for Plan 9, the remake of Plan 9 from Outer Space. He gave me the username and password to access the reviewer copy of the movie. He needn’t have bothered.

I typed this formula into the Google search engine: “Plan 9” “watch.” With the help of Google’s auto complete, I drew up plenty of sites that offered pirated versions of Plan 9. I clicked on the first one and was able to watch THE ENTIRE MOVIE IN CINEMA QUALITY WITH NO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER COMPLETELY FREE.

I need to add that I’m talking about the 3rd or 4th pages of hits. Not those Asylum produced blockbuster copycats or those hideously unwatchable Kickstarter financed projects deep in the archive.

On one site, 18,000 people had viewed Plan 9. Amazon lists Plan 9 at $5 to rent and $13 to buy. Do the math. And that’s just one site.

Same site, Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice, 6 weeks after its release, 5,000,000 views. Captain America: Civil War, 3 weeks after its release, 700,000 views. Multiply that by a $10 cinema ticket.

Hateful 8 producer Richard Gladstein said a few weeks after its cinema release that it had been illegally downloaded 1,300,000 times. A few months later, same site, 1,870,000 views.

Expendables 3 producer Avi Lerner claims he lost $250,000,000 because of illegal downloads. Same site, 2,000,000 views. Gladstein and Lerner blame you and Lerner calls Obama a coward for not standing up to you.

Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd claims her season 5 premiere was illegally downloaded 1,200,000 times. She Googled “watch Fear the Walking Dead.” The first hit you gave her was AMC. The second was a pirate site.

I emphasize most of these statistics are for one site. Multiply the views times the number of pirate sites, add DVDs to the formula, and you begin to see the magnitude of piracy.

After my investigation of piracy in the “Plan 9” case, I typed the search formula “download videos” into the Google search box and discovered that Chrome offers a video downloader accompanied by a disclaimer about piracy.

I have the screen shots to prove all this.

Thus Google facilitates piracy but gives lip service to copyright, all the while practicing far more piracy than anyone.

The director of Plan 9, John Johnson, whom I also interviewed, Matthew Warner, the actors, and the production crew at Darkstone have bills to pay, mouths to feed, careers to forge, college tuition to save up for. And you’re taking food out of those mouths.

Nor are my encounters with Google my first major encounters with large-scale piracy.

I travel extensively as an ESL teacher. So far, 18 countries on 4 continents.

I’ve seen movies, TV shows, documentaries, albums, and books on sale in every nook and cranny of Asia – subway stations, bus stations, compound gates, bridges, alleys, vans, even a restaurant. I’ve seen entire markets with numerous shops selling thousands of titles. (Yes, thousands.) More than once, I have found pirated versions of Hollywood movies on sale before they were scheduled to be released in American cinemas. When I was in a Beijing [CHINA] bus station, pirates were selling DVDs without fear. When I was in the main Greyhound station in New York City, pirates were brazenly hawking the leaked draft version of X-Men Wolverine. When I was in SAUDI ARABIA, they were selling copies of Fahrenheit 9/11 right outside the biggest bookstore in Jeddah. I am very sure the DVD shop in BURMA on the Thai border across from Mai Sot has no business arrangement with anyone in Hollywood. Same with the DVD markets on Beijing’s south side, in the Morning Market in Vietiane [LAOS] on the Lao-Thai border, and in MBK, Bangkok’s [THAILAND] biggest mall. If there is anyone you would not expect to sell pirated merchandise, it would be the major retailers. But in Beijing’s largest bookstore, I bought the complete Friends series, only to discover that the episodes were taped from Channel 14.

ESL is big in China. A slew of ESL MAGAZINES print dozens of articles per issue. Almost all of these articles are pirated from American and British periodicals and news agencies. In CAMBODIA’s ESL schools, pirating textbooks is standard operating procedure. Worldwide, it seems the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary [DICTIONARIES] is the pirated desk dictionary of choice. Windows is popular in China. American and British pop music is almost as popular as Chinese pop music among China’s youth. Every one of my students has a smart phone and every one of those smart phones has numerous American and British pop [SONGS].  International credit cards are not widespread in China, especially among high school/college students. I’ve traveled to and taught in so many cities in China, I’ve lost track. I’ve used countless computers in offices, dorms, and Internet cafes. I’ve yet to see a Windows [OPERATING SYSTEMS] or NOD 32 [ANTIVIRUS] program that isn’t pirated.

And piracy is not limited to western countries being the prey. Chinese students take an awful lot of standardized local and national academic and professional exams. Free pirated pages of Chinese written and Chinese published exam prep books are readily available online.

Back to sci-fi and piracy. Galaktika, a Hungarian magazine, has been publishing translated short stories without permission or compensation. The SFWA continues to challenge and expose Galaktika and its editor continues to spout increasingly sincere sounding spin doctor excuses.

Foreign language magazines and publishers represent a huge market for speculative fiction authors. Some authors draw more income from their foreign sales than their English sales. This investigation is only one magazine. Factor in the enforcement problem of not being able to read multitudes of languages. Also, the original magazine draws income from reprints until the copyright returns to the author.

I experienced this scenario too. A major science fiction magazine in China translated and published one of my best interviews. They promised to compensate me, quoted their rate, and asked for my bank account information. The money was never transferred. Thus I have joined the ranks of authors who have been burned.

For the record, I not only have never downloaded a pirated movie, I have never downloaded any movie. I am technology challenged. I’ve never used Bit Torrent. I don’t even know how.

I have a collection of 1500 movie DVDs carefully selected for language learning purposes. When I want to use a movie in the classroom to teach ESL – conversation, listening, idiomatic usage, report writing, cultural context – I never assign a student to download it from the Internet, although they are abundantly available through the Youku and Tudou cyberlockers. Instead, I buy the DVD.

The DVDs I have bought have half a dozen voice languages, 10-15 subtitle languages, and several bonus features. So they are obviously copied from the master. Pirated movies usually don’t have these extras. So these DVDs don’t appear to be pirated.

When I use a book excerpt as a classroom handout, I retrieve the handouts at the end of the lesson. I certainly don’t give them the book and a wad of cash and tell them to feast themselves at the copy store.

For several years, I was the editor of ESL Book Review, which used the domain name, you guessed it, ESL BOOK REVIEW DOT COM. The books I reviewed, I got from bookstores or publisher’s marketing agents, never the copy store, never the street.

(When I landed in Beijing, the translator for my host school said, “Where do you want to go?” I didn’t ask to visit The Great Wall, The Forbidden Temple, or the Summer Palace. I said, “Take me to the biggest bookstore in Beijing.” When I finished shopping, she said, “Where do you want me to take you next?” I said, “Take me to the second largest bookstore in Beijing.” And where did I ask her to take me after that? The foreign language bookstore, of course! Oh the money I spent in those bookstores; oh trail of book collections I left with school colleagues across the globe; oh the boxes of books I donated to my university English department and library. Not to mention time building a massive website and time typing a running list of titles.)

BTW, when I was in Washington DC, I went to the Copyright Office, which is inside the Library of Congress, and asked in person if my classroom activities violated copyright law.

The point is, whether discs or books, I took the high road. You haven’t taken the high road.

In response to criticism from Ari Emanuel, you came out with The Emanuel Update and The Emanuel Penalty. Or some such thing, I can’t remember the details. But it was all damage control.

With over 75,000,000 takedown requests per month and with the rate doubling on a yearly basis, it’s undeniable that you are not practicing preventative medicine on any significant scale. Instead, you are The Little Dutch Boy with too many holes in the dam and too few fingers. I can state categorically that you are not and never have been serious about piracy on any front except that which directly affects you.

And if you ever get serious about piracy, pirates will be in serious trouble. You built a driverless car. You designed arguably the first authentic AI. You mapped the world. And those glasses. I don’t even know what they do. But those glasses got an awful lot of buzz. And some people are intimidated enough by those glasses to ban them from their establishment. (What DO those glasses do?) This and much more coming out of your lab. It’s only a matter of time before you invent a brain chip that allows us to operate gadgets, type, and yes, hack technology –  right out of a sci fi story. And all this is in addition to a search engine that has eliminated the need for a second opinion.

In all the years I’ve been using Gmail, I honestly can’t recall receiving even one spam message. So why is Gmail utterly spam free while Yahoo and Hotmail are swimming in spam? Because one of your awesome geeks there in Mountain View designed it to recognize spam. Why can’t you give us software that can recognize piracy? You didn’t make excuses about spam, you just dealt with it. So why are you making excuses about piracy?

On the same note, when I subscribed to NOD 32 antivirus software, my virus problems completely disappeared instantly and I did not have even one virus problem during the entire subscription (and as part of my job, I use a lot of copy store, classroom, and office computers, so my USBs are virus magnets). Same explanation: Because an awesome geek at ESET designed it to recognize viruses. They don’t make excuses about viruses, they just deal with them.

You and the rest of Silicon Valley have given us STAR TREK TECHNOLOGY IN ONE GENERATION. But there is a conspicuous gap in this string of impressive technologies. To this day, you pretend you can’t design effective anti-piracy software. I suggest you can and would if Ari Emanuel wrote you a big enough check instead of asking you to do it out of moral obligation and civic duty.

For ESL Book Review, I used a pagebuilder that was as simple as Word. (Let there be Word and let there be only Word; let it be XP and let it be 2003; text-based command buttons, no freaking hieroglyphics.) Contributors to a couple of magazines I’ve written for are required to do their own pagebuilding and I’m ready to exile HTML to an alternate universe. So as I explained before, I am technology challenged. So correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t anti-piracy software as simple as comparing 2 lists and eliminating anything not on both lists?

Cinemas, DVD shops, bookstores, and agencies get their piece of the action. Retailers have documents on their front windows certifying they are authorized to sell copyrighted products. And they all sign contracts with studios, production companies, publishers, and authors. Pirates don’t want to settle for their piece of the action. They want everyone’s piece of the action. So they don’t sign contracts.

Copyrighted material is on file with the Library of Congress. Copyright owners have a list of people who have signed a contract to use their creative content. Pirates are not on the second list. Isn’t anti-piracy software as simple as comparing the 2 lists and eliminating from the search results anyone not on both lists?

Like I said, I’m not tech savvy, but it seems to me Silicon Valley, a community with the most talented, skilled, and experienced geeks in the world, could perform this task blindfolded, half asleep, and with one hand tied behind their back.

A talk show host who interviewed you and Susan Wojcicki counted 22 times Ari Emanuel criticized you during his notorious rant. This talk show host then posed a question to you about anti-piracy software, then posed a question to Wojcicki about customized advertising. You said Google technology is woefully inadequate, Wojcicki said Google technology is impressively precise and reliably predictive. We’re talking back to back comments. I laughed uncontrollably at the hilarity of this contradiction. Dude, you can’t have it both ways.

One minute, you’re saying to victims of piracy, “We have no way of telling you what you want to know.” The next minute, you’re telling advertisers, “We have the means to tell you exactly what you need to know.” What’s the explanation for this duplicity? Oh that’s right, advertisers are paying you lots of money for the information you provide them. How many zeros does Ari Emanuel have to write on that check before you stop indulging in this Pentagon style doublespeak?

Your legal department threatened me through an email address I was required to provide when I registered those domain names you demanded from me. So don’t tell me you can’t track down contact info for pirates through their domain name registration.

There was an awful lot of spin doctoring in the media in response to Ari Emanuel’s comments about Google. To the effect that Google has no control over the situation and that he and other entertainment industry leaders are responsible for piracy through their refusal to adapt. (I’m looking at you, Mike Masnick.)

Intellectual property is owned by the people who create it. Just as much as buildings, land, vehicles, livestock, jewelry, precious metals, insurance policies, stocks, retirement accounts, art collections, etc, belong to the people who buy them.

Protection of intellectual property is an inalienable, longstanding, universally recognized right. That right does not disappear just because technology changes. Any more than free speech, religion, assembly, redress, due process, etc, disappear because any other aspect of society changes.

You can’t publish my book without my permission. For the same reason you can’t sleep in my house, drive my car, wear my clothes, play my musical instrument, cook with my gas, wash with my water, make calls on my phone, or eat the produce from my garden without my permission.

If someone stole your coveted algorithm, you would press criminal charges. If that person was a Google employee, you would have them escorted out of Google headquarters in handcuffs. If a rival reverse engineered that algorithm, you would file a claim in civil court. You challenge anyone, including me, who registers a domain name with the word “Google” in it. If someone in your accounting department embezzled so much as $5, if one of your cafeteria workers walked into the parking lot with so much as a box of chicken strips, you would fire them. You would dismiss without any consideration whatsoever any spin doctoring they put on their behavior. You would take action to protect your company and you would do it completely unapologetically, as would any responsible CEO.

So you clearly have no reservations about applying property rights to yourself, but you have repeatedly refused to apply that same principle to the rights of others, whether it be defacto publishing or enabling pirates.

What do robbery, burglary, shoplifting, pickpocketing, carjacking, identity theft, embezzlement, extortion, blackmail, ransom, insurance float, welfare fraud, Ponzi schemes, scams, counterfeiting, and forgery have in common? They are all forms of theft.

Piracy is theft and theft is a crime. Google Books is a copyright violation and copyright violation is a crime. Pirates are criminals and protecting criminals makes you an accessory to crime. There, I’ve used the word crime 5 times in the same paragraph in reference to piracy and you.

Meanwhile, you have in your archives the entire contents of what will eventually become every book ever printed in every language, past, present, and future. As any honest geek will admit, anything in electronic form is hackable if it’s accessible; and if it’s accessible to you, it’s accessible to hackers. And you have made available a treasure more than one hacker will find irresistible. So don’t talk to me about your security protocols.

Seriously, haven’t you ever heard of Wikileaks? Hackers have gained access to massive government and corporate files and dumped the entire contents online. What’s going to happen when they hack Google Books? Or a Google employee steals them?

That’s right, they’re going make all those books available online, not in snippet form, but in their entirety, either for free on the light net or for sale on the dark net, depending on the identity of the hacker. Either way, the content creators will be left out of the financial loop and the investment of their time and energy and money will evaporate in the time it takes Bittorrent to do its thing.

Oh but wait, that means your investment in scanning those books will evaporate too. (How much money DID you spend on your book project?) Hmm, I suppose then you’ll get serious about piracy.

So I’m giving you a chance to shut it down. Shut down your threat of legal action against me, shut down your book project, shut down the piracy charade, and shut down the abuse of entertainment industry leaders who have addressed your involvement in piracy.

Otherwise, I will have to post this letter online and distribute paper copies to the media.

Postscripts:

Shortly before finishing this letter, I tested the password for I HATE GOOGLE DOT COM. (Curse you, Captcha!) If I don’t get the appropriate response to this letter, you and everyone else on the web will be able to access this letter online by typing I-H-A-T-E-G-O-O-G-L-E-.-C-O-M into your browser.

In spite of being technology challenged, about 5 minutes ago, I somehow figured out how to open a Twitter account and tried to tweet you this letter. Oh I see, only 128 characters per twit or tweet or whatever the terminology is. OK, how about this twit-tweet for under 128 characters:

I own these:

www. I Hate Google .com

www. I Love Google .com

www. I Like Google .com

@teachenglishab1

The twitter note was yesterday. Today, I read this headline in Yahoo News: “Google Wins Long US Court Battle on Book Scanning.” The Supreme Court sided with you, declining to even consider the Authors Guild’s case. The Borgle has just assimilated a very large sector of the galaxy. In light of the Supreme Courts decision, I decided to go live with this letter instead of waiting for your response.

No sooner than the Supreme Court authorized your assimilation of 30,000,000 books, Getty Images filed suit against you for pilfering their archive of 80,000,000 photos and illustrations. What’s next? I’ll tell you what’s next. You’ll target Getty’s 50,000 hours of stock film footage, that’s what. It’s only a matter time before you offer a service called VGoogle and find a “fair use” fig leaf for posting Hollywood’s entire collection of movies and TV shows. Whether the Supreme Court let’s you keep your hand in Getty and Hollywood’s cookie jar remains to be seen.

I consulted with Ari Goldberger of ESQWire.com, a domain name defense attorney with a track record for winning cases against high-profile corporate claims.  He told me I have a right to these domain names. I’ll take Ari Goldberg’s legal opinion over your legal team’s any day.

Authors Guild, MPAA, RIAA, BPI. Ari Emanuel, Kurt Sutter, Richard Gladstein, Avi Lerner. Lamar Smith, Bob Goodlatte. Too many people writing guest editorials about you, not enough people suing you.

Carl Slaughter has a degree in journalism and radio/tv. For several years, he was editor of ESL Book Review. He was a stringer for the Associated Press. He has written 300 reviews, interviews, features, profiles, news items, and essays for Tangent, Diabolical Plots, SF Signal, File 770, and Amazing Stories ezines, plus 200 critiques for the Critters online workshop. For the past 15 years, he has traveled the globe teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in 6 counties on 3 continents. Carl has traveled to 18 countries and counting. (He’s tired.) His essay on Chinese culture was published in Beijing Review. His essay on Korean culture was published in The Korea Times, as was his expose on the Korean ESL industry. His travel/education reports about Thailand occasionally appear on the Ajarn website. When he’s not distracted with chronic visa issues or major culture clash, he enjoys interviewing famous science fiction authors, who by coincidence enjoy being interviewed.

110 thoughts on “Carl Slaughter’s Open Letter to the CEO of Google

  1. Copyright applies even if judges refuse to enforce it, just as it applies even if pirates violate it.

  2. A judge can’t give you permission to use an author’s entire book without compensating the author. Even in cases of public domain, when society takes someone’s property to build a highway or dam, when the government says “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one,” property owners must be compensated the current market value.

  3. As long as you have to get permission from the author or publisher or estate to use a book for whatever purpose, the content creators or proprietors retain control of the copyrighted property. If you scan and offer an entire book in any capacity, you take control of the book from the copyright owners. Using the entire book without permission or compensation crosses the line beyond “fair use.” The whole purpose of Google Books is to redirect reader traffic to Google’s site, to make Google rather than the publishing industry the access point for literature.

  4. Amazon, bookstores, and literary agencies form partnerships with authors, just as cinemas, DVD shops, and talent agencies form partnerships with entertainers. Same with Netflix and HBO. In that sense, their relationship with content creators is SYMBIOTIC.

    By contrast, Google neither creates content nor partners with content creators. It only assimilates content and cuts the content creators out of the formula. In this sense, their relationship is PARASITIC.

  5. @Carl From your post:
    Copyrighted material is on file with the Library of Congress.
    No, the vast majority of it isn’t. Registration isn’t required, and hasn’t been for a long time. The LoC knows absolutely nothing about works I have written which are protected by copyright.

    Copyright owners have a list of people who have signed a contract to use their creative content.
    No, not always. I’ve written magazine articles which were sold and published without a contract. The magazine has since been sold, but I don’t know who the new owner is. Orphan works exist because owners and publishers don’t know about each other. Estates of deceased writers often have no idea about contracts signed by the writer.

    Your proposed “anti-piracy software” solution will not and cannot work.

    If someone stole your coveted algorithm, you would press criminal charges.
    Most likely not. Copyright is generally a tort, enforced by civil courts, and criminal law usually doesn’t enter into it.

    From your responses:
    Copyright applies even if judges refuse to enforce it,
    No, copyright applies only when judges will enforce it.

    A judge can’t give you permission to use an author’s entire book without compensating the author.
    Unless, of course, you are Google.

    Even in cases of public domain,
    I believe the phrase you are looking for is “eminent domain.”

    Using the entire book without permission or compensation crosses the line beyond “fair use.”
    Unless, of course, you are Google.

  6. I believe the phrase you are looking for is “eminent domain.”

    Yes, that’s what I meant. Eminent domain.

  7. When you’re worth over $200 billion, a couple hundred mil to buy legislation and good PR is an easy check to write. That’s what is happening before our eyes. And the reason why this information may seem startling is that they’re doing it so well; it just looks like business as usual.Google’s manipulation of public opinion and their proxy campaign for the dissolution of copyright protection will become so codified in law and will dominate the debate to such a degree that it will be mindlessly accepted on every level. Then it will be the back half of this century by the time people realize what’s been done, how it was done, and that they’ve been thoroughly *ed. Google is in the process of systematically destroying our artistic future, and more importantly, the future of our children and grandchildren. If the we don’t intervene now, we will be bound to a multigenerational cluster* that will take 40 to 50 years to unravel. Kurt Sutter, Variety

    Think this is an exaggeration? It’s already happening.

    The Authors Guild spent 10 years fighting Google Books. Now that the Supreme Court has sent us down the proverbial slippery slope, who is going to challenge Google or one of its competitors when they start displaying paragraphs instead of sentences, then pages instead of paragraphs, then chapters instead of pages? Who is going to spend a decade and a lot of money in legal fees each time the amount of displayed text is increased? No professional asssociation can afford a multi-generational legal battle against a major corporation.

    But even if the Supreme Court clamps down on attempts to display more text, someone will start a service named BookTorrent.

    I repeat, once the entire book has been coopted, it’s only a matter of time.

    The ink had hardly dried on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Authors Guild case when Getty filed suit against Google for pilfering their archive of 80,000,000 photos and illustrations.

    Movie subtitles from sites like Open Subtitles and Sub Scene, but with minimal clicking and no downloading. Subtitles of video sites like Youtube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion. Article archives of watchdog and advocacy groups. Member sites like Critters, Codex, SFWA, and Yahoo Groups.

    Once we come under the Jedi mind trick spin doctoring of information access purists – “I don’t need your permission to republish your novel. I’m not the copyright criminal you’re looking for. Move along.” – all doors open.

  8. I am sorry Carl, but your central thesis that Google Books scanning is piracy is simply wrong. The Supreme Court says so. The laws that lay out the right of copyright also include provisions for Fair Use that do not need the copyright holder’s permission. Copyright is not a natural right is is one defined in the legal code and one that was meant to, as per the Constitution, exist for a limited time. Perhaps this would not seem such a big deal if media companies had not conspired to expand the copyright period to such an extreme extent. Google Books is perhaps the best thing that has happened to the authors of mid list and forgotten books in a long time. Piracy is not their enemy, obscurity is.

  9. Carl Stated that

    The Authors Guild spent 10 years fighting Google Books. Now that the Supreme Court has sent us down the proverbial slippery slope, who is going to challenge Google or one of its competitors when they start displaying paragraphs instead of sentences, then pages instead of paragraphs, then chapters instead of pages? Who is going to spend a decade and a lot of money in legal fees each time the amount of displayed text is increased? No professional asssociation can afford a multi-generational legal battle against a major corporation.

    As someone mentioned above the Author’s Guild no more represents authors than the NRA represents gun owners. They both represent the corporations who pay their bills (publishers and gun manufacturers respectively).

  10. Copyright applies even if judges refuse to enforce it …

    Copyright law is what the Supreme Court says it is. The courts decided it’s fair use for search engines to index an entire book and present relevant excerpts in response to a search. Some of our greatest universities and libraries participated in Google Books because they regard it as a significant advancement in knowledge.

    I repeat, once the entire book has been coopted, it’s only a matter of time.

    You make it sound as if Google Books is the reason books are pirated. I think we all recognize that book piracy would be happening whether or not Google Books exists. I know I was suffering piracy long before it began in 2004.

    Google Books would be a cumbersome way to pirate a book. It’s far easier to find a copy through a web search or in a torrent.

    I have 31 books indexed in Google Books. In the last 12 years I have never seen evidence a book I wrote had been pirated because it was searchable on that site.

    I have seen plenty of websites and torrents pirating them. Every book I write shows up in torrents.

  11. just one comment: if you buy a book that doesn’t have what you are looking for in it, you RETURN IT. (Or put it in the library for the other stuff it DOES have in it.)

  12. if you buy a book that doesn’t have what you are looking for in it, you RETURN IT.

    But if you are able to search the book, you no longer have to waste your time and effort buying a book you don’t need and then returning it. Thus, Google has made your life a little bit easier and more convenient. Thank you, Google! Keep up the good work!

    Summer is coming. (Say the Australians.)

  13. Pingback: Guest Editorial: NO GOOGLE, YOU CANNOT USE MY BOOK ... OR MY MOVIE ...OR MY - Amazing Stories

  14. Larry Page is a criminal.

    So says:

    — Department of Justice
    — 5 million subpoenaed internal Google documents
    — grand jury testimony of subpoenaed Google employees
    — Wall Street Journal investigation
    — Wired investigation

    Google’s $500,000,000 settlement with the Department of Justice was one of the largest criminal fines in history. Why would Larry Page, or any other corporate CEO, write such a large check to the federal government?

    One reason is to avoid going to prison. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret, but Page’s attorneys heard that testimony. They also knew what was in those 5 million documents. Page’s attorneys told him in no uncertain terms that Google would lose the case if it went to trail. Then they told him in no uncertain terms that he and many Google employees were looking at serious prison time. The Attorney General’s prosecutor in the case claimed he could prove, based on the grand jury evidence, that Page knew of and approved of the criminal business dealings in the case.

    Another motive is to avoid a public scandal. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret, but criminal trail proceedings are public record. Page is viewed as a tech folk hero. Had the public discovered that Google engaged in longstanding, institutionalized, criminal activity, with Page’s knowledge and approval, instead of being listed with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, he would have been listed with Bernie Madoff, Michael Milken, Charles Keating, AIG, and Enron.

    Is it any surprise that an entrepreneur who signs off on large scale, repeated felonies would commit massive piracy, take a decidedly light duty approach about targeting pirates, and treat the spokesmen for victims of piracy with undeniable apathy and callousness?

  15. In a 3000 word investigative feature, The Washington Post, under the headline, “GOOGLE, ONCE DISDAINFUL OF LOBBYING, NOW A MASTER OF WASHINGTON INFLUENCE,” demonstrated how savvy, sophisticated, and subtle Google has become in their efforts to influence government policy through soft money.

    Google’s Washington expenditures are second only to GE. SOPA demonstrated to Google executives that they can play with the big leaguers and that Washington is no longer exclusive domain of the entertainment and literary worlds.

  16. No Carl, he’s a criminal if convicted of a crime. If his company settles a case then that’s on the company. You don’t mention that the whole case was about a technical interpretation of US law as to whether taking ad buys from Canadian pharmacies amounted to Google being effectively an accomplice to those Canadians selling cheap drugs to Americans, which really doesn’t reflect either way on their attitude to copyright.
    You want to argue your point about copyright, fine, but doing it by casting around for other stuff to smear google with doesn’t help you.

  17. It’s only a matter of time before they learn how to use that soft money influence on the media. Then voices against piracy, against copyright violation and subversion, and against Google activity and influence, are relegated to a handful of unquoted and unlinked to blogs.

    They are the Borgle and they are highly adaptive.

  18. Many high tech entrepreneurs have corporate and personal fortunes into the tens of billions of dollars. And what do they do with this money? Well, they launch foundations to “make the world a better place.”

    Making the world a better place involves digging wells in Africa, feeding the hungry in Haiti, providing relief to Indonesian tsunami survivors, exposing human trafficking, donating computers to cash strapped rural libraries, and other worthy causes.

    They know the world is plagued with ills. But how many of these foundations are devoted to fighting piracy? Silicon Valley’s participation in that fight is conspicuously absent.

    Why? Because they want your book and they want it for free, they want your movie and they want it for free, they want your song and they want it for free, they want your article and they want it for free. And they’re convinced technology will give them what they want. And guess what, they’re right.

    In the case of Google, they not only want it free, they want to make large amounts of money on it and leave you out of the financial loop.

  19. Motion Picture Association of America
    Recording Industry Association of America
    Authors Guild of America

    Google has been taking on the THREE BIGGEST ENTERTAINMENT/LITERARY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AT THE SAME TIME. And they have been prevailing.

    In the case of SOPA, the took on Congreess. And won.

    Now they are taking on Getty. Judging from their track record, they will probably win.

    They are the Borgle and they are not intimidated.

  20. doesn’t reflect either way on their attitude to copyright.

    Their attitude toward advertising is the same as their attitude toward piracy. And now they are learning how to get away with bribery. This is a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil.”

  21. he’s a criminal if convicted of a crime.

    Not in a million years would Larry Page or any other corporate CEO pay a $500,000,000 fine to the federal government to avoid going to trial unless he was 100% certain of conviction.

    Larry Page is a criminal and he knows he’s a criminal.

  22. No Carl, he’s a criminal if convicted of a crime.

    Just to note:

    That’s the definition of “convicted criminal,” not “criminal.” A criminal is someone who’s committed a crime, not merely someone who’s been convicted.

  23. The New York Times 2011 article about the settlement specifically addresses some of the questions being raised here:

    The United States attorney for Rhode Island, Peter F. Neronha, whose office was responsible for the investigation, said Google’s conduct was not the result of a few rogue employees, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Neronha said the company’s chief executive, Larry Page, “knew what was going on.”

    The statute prohibits the “introduction or delivery” of the drugs, but Google was not involved in any way in their actual transfer into the United States, which is the usual means of proving a violation of the statute. Instead, the Justice Department viewed Google as an accomplice to the crime by enhancing the ability of the Canadian pharmacies to reach American consumers.

    Can a search engine be held responsible for how consumers use the products or services allowed to be advertised on it? That question goes to a core issue in the criminal law regarding the responsibility of suppliers for the use of products they sell.

    There were negligence lawsuits in the early 1990s against Soldier of Fortune magazine for advertisements it ran for people willing to engage in criminal acts, including murder. These cases were brought by victims of attacks and involved a question about whether the magazine published ads that were a “clear and present danger” to the public, and therefore unprotected by the First Amendment.

    Unlike a private lawsuit alleging negligence, the Justice Department’s nonprosecution agreement with Google involved an assertion that the company aided a criminal violation — i.e., that it was an active participant in a crime.

  24. “Many high tech entrepreneurs have corporate and personal fortunes into the tens of billions of dollars. And what do they do with this money? Well, they launch foundations to “make the world a better place.”

    And many billionaires do not help others. I can see this as an argument for raising taxes to make development a long term thing and not subject to the whims of the 1%. I can’t see this as an argument against piracy.

    Actually, that was more an argument for piracy. Because of people like this.

    http://wonkette.com/594159/douchebag-pharma-ceo-raises-drug-price-5000-because-screw-your-sick-baby

  25. A 5000 word investigative story in Wired details the Department of Justice’s sting on Google.

    Whitaker started claiming that Google had helped him create and grow his illegal steroid site. Initially Reich was skeptical. Whitaker was a con man and a convicted felon. He was a terrible witness, without any corroboration. Still, it couldn’t hurt to hear him out. Whitaker began by explaining his business—how he started out selling HGH and steroids but eventually sent customers vegetable oil and protein powder instead. He also said that the Google employees he worked with knew that he was in Mexico, selling mainly to Americans in the US—and that they knew his business was illegal. Further, he stated, they helped him tailor his advertising to increase the number of clicks it received. Reich couldn’t deny a growing sense of curiosity. Like many prosecutors, he had a crusading impulse, and the chance to go after the almighty Google was too juicy to dismiss. But even if Whitaker were telling the truth—a big if—how could he prove that this was official Google policy rather than the actions of a few amoral individuals? He asked Whitaker to write a detailed account of his interactions with Google and to provide a complete dossier of all his activities. Whitaker was happy to oblige. In follow-up memos and additional interviews, Whitaker delved into further detail. Because he had been spending around $20,000 a month on Google ads, he qualified for a dedicated representative, a kind of one-on-one concierge service that helped him run analytics, pick keyword search terms, geo-target, and monitor myriad other factors. Whitaker said that his rep helped him bid on keywords like “steroids,” “HGH” and “testosterone.” Whitaker also claimed that the rep had helped him reposition his ads after Google’s automated screening policy initially rejected them. Instead of blatantly selling illegal drugs, the rep advised, Whitaker could skirt Google’s safeguards by making his site appear to be educational in nature. He needed to remove the drug photos from the homepage and get rid of the Buy Now buttons. Whitaker followed his rep’s advice and resubmitted a much tamer, more benign website. As promised, his site passed the internal Google review policy. Moreover, Whitaker said, his rep then helped him walk back some of these changes, eventually reincorporating the photos of drugs and some of the obvious sales language. Meanwhile, Reich and Simonian were conducting their own parallel inquiry, vetting Whitaker’s intel, hitting up sources, and reviewing all the documentation they could get their hands on from anyone having anything to do with Internet pharmacy sales. His story was checking out. It was time to take the investigation to the next level—to have Whitaker re-create his experience under the watchful eye of the FDA.

    https://www.wired.com/2013/05/google-pharma-whitaker-sting/

  26. For me, law is always interesting, but with new technology there will always have to be adaptions. So the question here is more of what we want to be legal or not.

    The questions are then:
    1) Do authors lose anything by having their books indexed and searchable, letting people see a bit of them together with a link to where they can buy the book?

    2) Is it for the common good to let people find information they might otherwise miss out on and to see what books contain the information?

    Those are the questions to be asked. The rest is only a discussion of how the law looks and is interpreted, not about how we would want the law to look.

  27. The questions are then

    The question is how we define copyright. If we restrict the question to whether readers benefit from Google’s activity, well, readers benefit from piracy.

    By framing the debate in a convenient context, Google diverted the courts’ attention from the real issue. They claimed to be asking the courts to give them permission to offer the public snippets. What they were really doing was asking the courts to fundamentally redefine copyright.

    Fair use used to mean a writer would quote half a dozen paragraphs in a review, a student would cite a dozen paragraphs in a thesis, a teacher would copy a passage for a handout; a scene or commercial in a history or culture class, a film in a film appreciation class, a reading in a library.

    Now fair use means making the entire book searchable in electronic form on a global basis. This takes the definition of copyright into an entirely different realm.

  28. Same issue in a music context:

    The Music Publishers Association entered legal proceedings against tablature and lyrics websites. The position of the MPA is that these sites infringe upon copyright by offering this material for free, without any licensing from the artist or record label. The MPA issued a statement in which they explained their position on websites that distribute unauthorized sheet music and tablature. Several points are made in the statement.

    — MPA members invest a significant amount into arranging, engraving, editing, marketing, and distributing sheet music products, and illegal tablature cuts into their sales.

    — Sharing the tabs is bad enough, but even worse is when sites make money off the illegal tabs.

    — Guitar tabs do not circumvent copyright laws just because they’re claimed to be personal interpretations.

    — Viewing illegal tabs is equivalent to stealing sheet music from a store.

    — The MPA isn’t targeting authorized websites, and will work with sites that want to build a legitimate business.

  29. COPYRIGHT LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE COPYRIGHT TO ADAPT TO TECHNOLOGY, COPYRIGHT LAW REQUIRES TECHNOLOGY TO ADAPT TO COPYRIGHT.

  30. But I guess you meant to only argue against the piracy regarding books.

    Copyright is copyright, piracy is piracy, regardless of the genre, regardless of the medium.

    If you BookTorrent George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, you have violated his copyright. If you download his Game of Thrones series, you have violated copyright. Same with J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, print or screen.

    If you portrayed Luke Skywalker and you discover that people are making money off fake autographs of Mark Hamill, you’re going to view those people as pirates. Because they ARE pirates. No matter how much you might be ridiculed in press, no matter how effective the legal remedies you seek.

    If you’re Google and the second hit you offer a searcher for “watch Fear the Walking Dead” is a pirate site, you have enabled 1,200,000 illegal downloads of producer Gale Anne Hurd’s 5th season premire.

    If you’re the editor of Galaktika and your spin is that short story copyright violations are essentially free advertising when you publish the same author’s novel, you may have won the spin doctor of the decade award, but the SFWA is still going to put you on their watch list.

    Books, short stories, plays, poems, essays, editorials, articles. Movies, TV shows, music. Sports broadcasts. Sheet music. Software. It’s all connected.

  31. Your name is Steve Davidson. You register the trademark to the legendary Amazing Stories. You launch an ambitious plan to restore the magazine to its former glory.

    You discover that trademark pirates are making money off the Amazing Stories name. Money that should go toward building your magazine. What do you do next? That’s right you spend money on legal expenses trying to shut down these pirates. Again, money you should be using to buy fiction or hire an editor. So trademark pirates have stolen your money twice.

    Oh but you discover that the trademark pirates have spin on their illegal activity. Spin, pirates and their defenders always have spin. Reasonable sounding, even compelling sounding spin.

    Nevertheless, your name is Steve Davidson and you are the owner of the Amazing Stories name and the publisher of the Amazing Stories magazine, and spin be damned.

  32. Ok, I think ALL CAPS is where this conversation jumps the shark, if it hadn’t done much earlier.

  33. ALL CAPS is where this conversation jumps the shark

    It’s just for emphasis. Don’t read too much into it.

  34. Speculative fiction is no stranger to copyright controversies:

    In the early 1960s Donald A. Wollheim, science fiction editor of the paperback publisher Ace Books, claimed that The Lord of the Rings was not protected in the United States under American copyright law because Houghton Mifflin, the US hardcover publisher, had neglected to copyright the work in the United States. Ace Books then proceeded to publish an edition, unauthorized by Tolkien and without paying royalties to him. Tolkien took issue with this and quickly notified his fans of this objection. Grass-roots pressure from these fans became so great that Ace Books withdrew their edition and made a nominal payment to Tolkien. – Wikipedia

    Houghton Mifflin held the American copyright for 5 years, then let it lapse. According to Ace’s reasoning, Lord of the Rings had therefore entered public domain in America. Not so. The American copyright only meant that Houghton Mifflin was the authorized American publisher. It did not mean Ace automatically had the right to publish in America just because Tolkien did not currently have an authorized American publisher.

    This is another example of pirates finding ostensible excuses for violating copyright.

  35. The quoted Wiki piece on Ace and Wollhein is from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings#Editions_and_revisions

    Let me quote footnote number #43:
    Reynolds, Pat. “The Lord of the Rings: The Tale of a Text”. The Tolkien Society. “There was a campaign against Ace, who, as a result, agreed to pay royalties, and not to print any more copies. But, as a result of being advised that he had lost his copyright, even before the Ace edition was issued, Tolkien began to revise The Lord of the Rings, so that there could be an authorised paperback which would be a new edition, and more importantly, a new edition for which he would still own the copyright. This was published by Ballentine [sic] Books in October 1965.”

    Let me add this from the Kirkus piece you linked to:

    “At this point in time, the U.S. had yet to join the International Copyright Convention, and most laws on the books existed to protect domestic creations from foreign ones. As the trilogy became incredibly popular, Houghton Mifflin was technically in violation of the law when they exceeded their import limits, and failed to renew their interim copyright.”

    And this from In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress:

    “Approximately 45 years later, in the same time frame The Lord of the Rings trilogy was being published in the United Kingdom and the United States, the U.S. was engaged in negotiating the Universal Copyright Convention. Article II, section 1 of this convention states: “Published works of nationals of any Contracting State and works first published in that State shall enjoy in each other Contracting State the same protection as that other State accords to works of its nationals first published in its own territory.” Both the U.S. and the UK ratified this convention but at different times.

    It is therefore perhaps not surprising that Ace Books believed the American edition of The Lord of the Rings was not protected by copyright, and published a paperback edition of the work. ”
    https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/11/j-r-r-tolkien-paperbacks-and-copyright/

    And lastly …

    “In 1965, Ace Books discovered a copyright loophole regarding the American edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Houghton Mifflin edition had been bound using pages printed in the United Kingdom for the George Allen & Unwin edition. This placed them outside of U.S. copyright law as it stood at the time. Exploiting this loophole, , Ace Books published the first ever paperback edition of Tolkien’s work …”

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ace_Books

  36. One more item about Ace and Tolkien … in 1993 in alt.fan.tolkien noted Tolkien scholar Wayne Hammond wrote:

    “Ace Books seem to have relied on the lack of a formal U.S. copyright
    statement in the Houghton Mifflin _Lord of the Rings_ as well as the clear
    fact that HM had imported from England, for sale under their imprint and
    in their binding, more than the maximum number of copies then allowed under
    American copyright law, which was heavily protective of American printers.

    Granting these facts, however, does not make the Ace Books edition
    necessarily legal (let alone morally sound). Ace themselves determined
    that _LR_ had fallen into the public domain in the U.S. The issue of
    the American copyright of _LR_ is in fact still being argued in the courts.
    Last year, a judge ruled that though Houghton Mifflin had committed
    irregularities in its handling of the American copyright, that copyright was
    not thereby forfeited. That decision has been appealed by the plaintiff, a
    publisher who wants to print his own edition of _LR_, and is being fought by
    the Tolkien Estate.

    In Houghton Mifflin’s defense, they did properly file for copyright for _The
    Fellowship of the Ring_ and _The Two Towers_. The first American _Return of
    the King_ was not submitted for American copyright because it was initially
    imported in more copies than the law allowed. (HM were cautious about _FR_
    and _TT_, but by the time _RK_ was ready, they knew they could sell a lot of
    copies.) Also, HM and Allen & Unwin were aware of potential problems over
    American copyright, and even before the Ace edition appeared had started
    Tolkien to work on a revised (and therefore newly copyrightable) text.
    Once the Ace edition appeared, of course Tolkien revised more quickly.'”

    https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.fan.tolkien/k2GC3Qtm4pM/vl3BA4npTBwJ

  37. “Copyright is copyright, piracy is piracy, regardless of the genre, regardless of the medium.”

    You think so? Then let me tell you that I think piracy is morally obligated in medicine when it saves lives. And that I think many copyright lawyers are morally corrupt when they try to hinder people to get cheap medicines.

    “If you’re Google and the second hit you offer a searcher for “watch Fear the Walking Dead” is a pirate site, you have enabled 1,200,000 illegal downloads of producer Gale Anne Hurd’s 5th season premire.”

    If you walk on a street and see someone selling drugs, the street has enabled 1,200,000 drug users. Better close down the streets.

  38. You think so? Then let me tell you that I think piracy is morally obligated in medicine when it saves lives. And that I think many copyright lawyers are morally corrupt when they try to hinder people to get cheap medicines.

    Technically, medicines are subject to patent, not copyright.

  39. COPYRIGHT LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE COPYRIGHT TO ADAPT TO TECHNOLOGY, COPYRIGHT LAW REQUIRES TECHNOLOGY TO ADAPT TO COPYRIGHT.

    No, that’s not so. When radio came along, copyright law adapted to allow the free play of audio recordings. When VCRs came along, copyright law adapted to allow time-shifting.

    Copyright law has adapted (sometimes by judicial decision, sometimes by formal amendments by Congress/President) to technological changes such as satellite TV, digital copying, xerography, cable TV, digital rights management schemes, photography, analog TV, digital TV, and others.

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

  40. Bill: copyright law adapted to allow the free play of audio recordings.

    Not sure what you’re referring to here. Music was licensed for airplay on a mass basis through ASCAP, etc.

  41. Normally, a copyright owner can prevent performance of his works. If you write a play, a theater needs your permission to perform it. If you produce a TV show, a station or network needs your permission to broadcast it. If you own the copyright to a recording, you don’t have the ability to stop others from playing a legally purchased copy. It has compulsory licensing.

    A typical audio recording has two copyrights associated — composition, and performance, which may be owned by different parties. If a record is played in a juke box, both owners get royalties. If it is included to the soundtrack of a movie, you get royalties. If, however, they are played over the air on an FCC-licensed AM or FM radio station, the station owes royalties on the composition copyright (paid through BMI, ASCAP, etc., as you mentioned). But it does not owe royalties on the performance copyright. The thinking is that playing the record on the air acts as an advertisement for buying the recording (a concept which made more sense 50 years ago, in the days of 45’s and LP records, and no digital distribution), and so the performance copyright owner still benefits.

    It is the “no royalties wrt performance copyrights” that I was referring to when I said “free play of audio recordings”.

  42. I remember when I was legally buying records in MP3-format for one dollar each. It was from a Russian server. The cost was as if you played the record once on a radio station for an expected audience of one.

    Then they changed their laws.

  43. When radio came along, copyright law adapted to allow the free play of audio recordings.

    John Cougar Melloncamp has a different version:

    Right after radio was invented, they played music and sold advertising. Then it dawned on some: “Hey, they’re playing our music, and they’re selling advertising on our backs; we should get paid.” So performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI were established with the express intention of protecting the intellectual property of artists who create it. These, in essence, turned into collection agencies. They were able to collect money from radio stations, jukeboxes, movies, television which were all then fledgling delivery systems, and provided a livelihood for their members. They were able to keep track of what was being played and sold all over the world with pencil and paper. The government held these systems responsible for keeping track of their respective broadcast neighborhoods. They turned new delivery systems into multi-billion dollar businesses. That was progress.

  44. Fred von Lohmann, Google’s legal director for copyright:

    We are not in a position to decide what is legal and what is illegal online. Downloading a movie, in order to watch it without paying for it, is infringing. That is not the problem. The problem is when you have over a trillion websites, you have hundreds of thousands of film titles, millions of song titles, not just in English but every language around the world … as a search engine there is no magic way for us to know in advance what is legal and what is illegal online. We rely on copyright owners to inform us.

    When there is a problem on the Internet and there is money to be made for Google, the response from Google executives is, “Go ahead and write that check, because our technology performs miracles as standard operating procedure.” But if there is a problem on the Internet and there is no money to be made for Google, Google executives respond with an awful lot of hand wringing.

    Their excuses and their inaction contradict their own description of their own company and their own well deserved reputation for being an incubator of futuristic technology.

  45. We rely on copyright owners to inform us.

    Yes, rely on copyright owners to inform you. But don’t insist they hunt down every copyright violator and notify you one offense at a time. Use your technology – that same technology you have used to assimilate 30,000,000 books, indeed that same technology have used to assimilate most of the vast Internet – to assimilate copyright registration, partner contracts, and commercial sale. Use that awesome, futuristic technology to thump any commercial site that isn’t on all 3 lists. Stop requiring copyright owners to use the equivalent of stone age reporting methods to protect themselves.

  46. The problem is when you have over a trillion websites, you have hundreds of thousands of film titles, millions of song titles.

    The Google search engine algorithm was designed precisely to access the vast information on the Internet.

    In one situation, Google is the IT company in a league of its own with technology straight out of a Nebula winning, best selling, critically acclaimed hard science fiction novel. In another situation, they are the little IT company that couldn’t, the geek team without a solution when the barbarians were at the gate.

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