free html hit counter February 2007 - Page 5 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

More on Belguim

By - February 13, 2007


Danny has a good overview and history of the case here, anyone who wants to look more deeply into this issue should read it. You can get lost down the rabbit hole with cases like this, in particular cases involving European law, which suffice to say does not work like US law. Precedents are less important here, but they can still matter (watch France, for instance). My take is to step back and do some chin stroking and ask some questions out loud. The first one seems obvious….

Q. So is this why Google hasn’t put ads next to Google News anywhere?

A. I think so, but Google has told me that has nothing to do with it. Doing so might tip the scales to potential plaintiffs such as the ones in this case. Including in the US. If Google is making money directly off their content….well. That’s just too much of an FU.

Q. But theoretically, it could?

A. Sure, of course. Does it all day long with all the rest of the content in its search engine, and the precedent of robots.txt is well established, as Danny points out.

Q. Will this case mean Google can’t index news sites?

A. No, just the ones who complained, and since Google is appealing, not necessarily even those, and from what I can tell, Google can still index them outside of their narrow regions.

Q. Is this good or bad for Google?

A. It’s bad, but not that bad. This is a fight it knew would come, and one can’t win every fight. Even Google. If it clarifies the law around this, that is good. Even if the clarification is initially bad, it will allow for rational business deals to get cut.

Q. Huh?

A. Well, the enemy of innovation is uncertainty. Google (and all of us) has been uncertain about whether it could commercialize its News service. So far, the answer is sure, if you pay us enough. And so far, Google has not wanted to do that.

Q. So this is all about renegotiating the relationship between traditional media companies, their distribution networks, and the role of search in the new media landscape?

A. Yup.

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350Px-Baseball (Ball) Closeup

I usually don’t write about totally off topic stuff here but….Pitchers and catchers report this week. There’s light at the end of the long winter tunnel.

Veoh (re)Launches Today

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Veoh, out of beta today, is Eisner’s bid to create something for his pals in the entertainment biz to buy so as to combat YouTube/Google, in my very jaded view. On the other hand, it was a strong second tier player before he got involved. And Lost Remote likey. More here. PS – when you go to the site, a TV Guide channel thing starts running with typical Hollywood schlock. Ugh.

News: Google Does Not Win a Legal Battle

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Will have more to say on this asap…

BRUSSELS — A court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Belgian newspapers that sued Google (GOOG), claiming that the Web search Internet search leader infringed copyright laws and demanded it remove their stories.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company that operates the world’s most-used search engine immediately said it would appeal, claiming its Google News service was “entirely legal.”

A Brussels court ruled in favor of Copiepresse, a copyright protection group representing 18 mostly French-language newspapers that complained the search engine’s “cached” links offered free access to archived articles that the papers usually sell on a subscription basis.

It ordered Google to remove any articles, photos or links from its sites — including Google News — that it displays without the newspapers’ permission.

The Next Shoe Drops In Google v. Media Cos

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From the WSJ (no public link):

A group of major media companies has accused Internet giant Google Inc. of benefiting from the sale of pirated movies and providing business support to two Web sites suspected of offering access to illegal film downloads, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The allegations are an embarrassment for Google, which assured the companies on Friday it would take measures to prevent a recurrence of the episode.

The flare-up comes amid what have been often-tense negotiations between Google and the big film and TV studios over the unauthorized use of copyrighted programming by YouTube, a free video Web site Google bought last year after the site quickly became a cultural phenomenon.

… On Friday, Google responded to the complaints by agreeing to implement a series of measures it believes will help thwart piracy. In an afternoon conference call with studio representatives, lawyers for Google said the company would remove certain ads the companies objected to, create a list of approved advertisers and refrain from selling keywords used by rogue sites to lure users to pirated material. In addition, the Google lawyers said the company would introduce internal guidelines on monitoring keywords and train its ad sales force about how to avoid selling such ads.

As I posted last week, the honeymoon is over. Seeking Alpha has more coverage here.

YouTube Holy War? Updated

By - February 11, 2007

Apparently this fellow made a video showing violent quotes from the Koran, putting the holy book in a bad light. It was a slide show, that’s it, no commentary. YouTube banned his account and pulled all his videos. He’s an atheist, but not a nut. This is a bad precedent. His explanation is in the video above. Interesting where I found this – Xooglers, the blog run by ex-Google employees. From that post:

This really bothers me for four reasons. First, to deem quotations from a holy text to be “inappropriate content” is outrageous on its face. Second, Gisburne was given no warning. Third, YouTube didn’t just delete the video in question, they deleted Gisburne’s entire account. And fourth, this makes a mockery of Google’s “don’t be evil” slogan. There can be no possible reason for this action other than caving to intimidation, and sanctimonious cowardice in the face of oppression is a particularly pernicious breed of evil.

This story got Slashdotted as well, here.

Update: YouTube has posted a clarification here. It leaves me still wondering what happened, but it seems there was some kind of violation of DMCA/Copyright stuff. I’ve asked for more info…

DMarc Founders: $100mm Is Apparently Enough

By - February 09, 2007


When Google bought radio advertising play dMarc, there was more than a billion dollars in earnout to be had, if the company hit its targets. There was also $100 million or so in cash.

It’s hard to say what happened since, but the founders have left, and Google’s radio plans are discussed in the MediaPost as unproductive so far.

Radio advertising ain’t AdWords, that much is clear. What remains to be seen is whether Google is really committed to this business, and by extension, its dabbling in magazine and newspaper advertising. There’s a lot left to learn, I’m guessing, and the markets themselves are a long way from Google’s way of thinking. That I can say with some authority…

Update: This story was broken over at Paid Content….

and the Times weighs in

IBM Research and Multimedia Search: A New Project

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Reader JG points me to this release, from IBM Research in Haifa:

IBM recently announced the launch of a new EU 6th Framework project for Search on Audio-visual content using Peer-to-peer Information Retrieval (SAPIR) to build a large scale information community that will make multimedia files more accessible.

SAPIR is geared towards finding new ways to analyze, index, and retrieve the tremendous amounts of speech, image, video, and music that are filling our digital universe. The ultimate result will be a peer-to-peer distributed space that can be searched by content or example rather than using the current methods, which are limited to keywords and text-based tags.

Random Reading

By - February 08, 2007

GigaOm: Telcos Target Google in ‘Neutrality’ Fight

If you like your wrestling with mud, this is the place to watch.

TechCrunch: NBC Piles On Google – YouTube Strategy in Question

And…we’re surprised?

The deals are not going as the majors want them to go. The millions are not in their bank account, and the honeymoon is over.

Digg: Cingular CEO bragging about Apple “bending” to his lock-in demands

Old, but good. Steve Jobs calls them “orifices”. But we all need an asshole now and then, don’t we Steve?

Threadwatch: Google and Other Internet Giants to Create a Code of Conduct

I predict that this will be forgotten in about…wait, this was a week ago. It’s already forgotten.