Thursday, March 15, 2007

Google News Roundup - 3/15/07

There have been some very interesting developments around Google over the last couple of days. Of course, there's the news that Viacom has leveed a lawsuit against Google claiming copyright infringement under and requesting almost $1.5 billion in damages, but Google has taken two very interesting actions since news of the lawsuit broke.


Google Responds to Viacom Lawsuit

In a recent statement, Google has declared that not only is it not responsible for monetary compensation for content that its users post on Youtube, but that it is also protected under the same law by which Viacom is requesting damages.
"YouTube is great for users and offers real opportunities to rights holders: the opportunity to interact with users; to promote their content to a young and growing audience; and to tap into the online advertising market. We will certainly not let this suit become a distraction to the continuing growth and strong performance of YouTube and its ability to attract more users, more traffic and build a stronger community.”
Further, they state that the reason for youtube has so much "protected" content on it is due to a failing on Viacom's part, not Google's. From The Economist's article:
Google's response is a subtly effective dig at Viacom's own failings. Why are Viacom's clips so popular on YouTube? Because Viacom does not make them easily available on its own sites and thus, says Google, is missing a chance to connect with users, promote its content and generate advertising revenue. Because Viacom is a dinosaur, in other words.
I think The Economist put it best: War is declared. Google believes that the DMCA provides a sufficient safe harbor for Youtube, and will not simply settle. Further, Viacom's problems with Youtube are due to Viacom's own failure to embrace the changing way that media circulates on the internet.

Let's all hope that Google stands as tall against Viacom as IBM did against SCO.


Google to Make Anonymous All Search Information after 18-24 Months

In a move that will no doubt appease privacy and information rights activists, Google has released plans to make anonymous all search information after storing it for 18-24 months.

The statement, released for the first time on Google's company blog, references a desire to protect their users' privacy and create more transparency with regard to their stance on customer privacy. Google has a relatively positive history with regard to its stance on privacy - it was the only large search engine to stand up to subpoena from the US Government for search records last year.

Hopefully this will start a trend of companies deciding to make anonymous more consumer information - it's only with this type of action can we truly ensure privacy and the free flow of important and sensitive information across the internet.

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