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Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-29-2006, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Google has profited to the tune of billions of dollars by display without permission of copyrighted materials. Photographers and models are among the main victims. But other copyright-holders are also victimized. Here is one of the latest reported developments... Google seems to be following a policy of "buying off" the Plaintiff victims, but that may only last so long, since Google's essential method of operation rests foursquare on thievery and infringement. Following is the article: note that Google has bought off two of the five plaintiff victims. However, bear in mind that copyright infringement is a criminal act as well as a civil tort, and Google and its directors could theoretically face handcuffs and criminal charges here in the USA, as well as elsewhere.

===================

BRUSSELS — The judge in the Belgian copyright case against Google Inc. said she will deliver her verdict after the Christmas break.
The announcement coincided with Google’s settlement with two of five groups that seek to prevent Mountain View, Calif.-based Google from linking to Belgian newspaper articles.

The case is being looked at closely by numerous adult webmasters who, like the Belgian papers, say they are being infringed upon because the search engine giant displays their content without paying them or asking their permission.

What’s more, many webmasters complain that most search engines do not make it clear to searchers that the images they find are not public domain property, leaving images vulnerable to theft.

In a similar suit in the U.S., adult content publisher Norman Zada, who owns Perfect 10 magazine and its sister website, charges that Google’s Image Search violates U.S. copyright law because it allows the search engine and other companies to profit from the use of his content without permission. That case is currently before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

In the Belgian case, Google failed to appear at an earlier court date that saw a judge order Google to remove newspaper content from its news index, threatening daily fines of $1.3 million until it complied with the ruling. A judge for the Tribunal des Referes in Brussels later agreed to give Google another hearing.

Attorneys for Copiepresse, which represents 17 newspapers, claimed Google hurt the rights of authors because it effectively gave away free archived articles they sell on a subscription basis.

But Google counsel accused the newspapers of protectionism, insisting the company hadn’t broken copyright law by showing headlines, text, photos, and other material without permission of the copyright owners.

Google also has run into trouble in Scandinavia, where it launched several weeks ago. It delayed the introduction of the news service in Denmark after publishers there objected to having to opt out if they didn’t want their content displayed on Google’s website. Also, a publishing group in Norway has protested the use of its photographs, which it says is not permitted under Norwegian copyright law.

Copyright experts have claimed for years that Google's business model is based on massive infringement. In response to searches, Google displays text and photos without permission of the owners, while selling advertising exposure and click-throughs to the traffic generated by such display.
 
 
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Google provides a valuable service. They index the web so that people can find what they are looking for. When they do find a photo (for example), then usually end up on the site of the webpage that provided the photo. This generates valuable traffic for websites.

The laughable thing is that any webmaster can prevent Google from indexing anything on their site. It is an extremely simple process. Implement the process and Google will not spider the site or folders on the site that you designate. But the fact of the matter is that these websites profit by being in Googles Index so they usually don't use the process to hide their information or photos from Google.

I was hired a few years ago to do SEO (search engine optimization) work for a very large European company that couldn't understand why they weren't getting any signficiant traffic from the web and why people couldn't find them in the search engines. When I looked at their site, I had to laugh. They had used the very process I mention above of telling the search engines not to index their site. Needless to say, may tens of thousands of dollars later I had them in number one position in all the search engines.

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Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-29-2006, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My learned colleague misunderstands the nature of copyright and of Google's thievery. Google is entitled to index and "link" surfers to appropriate search results. However, this does NOT entitle Google to steal images and text wholesale for its own profit - and then demand that the victims catch Google and "opt out" of their material being stolen and used for profit.

Google could operate legally, simply by setting up a mechanism whereby content owners could "opt in" at their desire, allowing Google to do various things with the content.

Google's current dishonest policy as to photos is especially outrageous since even thumbnails now have commercial value (for display on cellphones, etc.) This technical change as to thumbnail value is part of the factual issue underlying Perfect 10's present lawsuit(s).

LET ME CLARIFY THIS FOR MY LEARNED COLLEAGUE: Copyright means the OWNER - NOT GOOGLE - has all rights until THE OWNER affirmatively allows Google to make use of the OWNER'S property. Google's implicit claim that it is free to copy, distribute, steal, until the owner catches Google and demands a stop, is akin to a burglar or any other thief claiming he has a right to steal until caught in the act and ordered to stay away from that particular house.

Google is, and remains, possibly the biggest copyright infringer in history. Let's start talking about not just civil litigation, but handcuffs and federal charges.
 
 
Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-29-2006, 08:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamourpics View Post
My learned colleague misunderstands the nature of copyright and of Google's thievery. Google is entitled to index and "link" surfers to appropriate search results. However, this does NOT entitle Google to steal images and text wholesale for its own profit - and then demand that the victims catch Google and "opt out" of their material being stolen and used for profit.

Google could operate legally, simply by setting up a mechanism whereby content owners could "opt in" at their desire, allowing Google to do various things with the content.

Google's current dishonest policy as to photos is especially outrageous since even thumbnails now have commercial value (for display on cellphones, etc.) This technical change as to thumbnail value is part of the factual issue underlying Perfect 10's present lawsuit(s).

LET ME CLARIFY THIS FOR MY LEARNED COLLEAGUE: Copyright means the OWNER - NOT GOOGLE - has all rights until THE OWNER affirmatively allows Google to make use of the OWNER'S property. Google's implicit claim that it is free to copy, distribute, steal, until the owner catches Google and demands a stop, is akin to a burglar or any other thief claiming he has a right to steal until caught in the act and ordered to stay away from that particular house.

Google is, and remains, possibly the biggest copyright infringer in history. Let's start talking about not just civil litigation, but handcuffs and federal charges.

Be careful! I understand your passion about this and applaud it. But don't insult someone who has forgotten more than most us know.

Google is only showing the thumbnail and then the full page on the owner's site opens up when the thumbnail is clicked. By strict defintion of the copyright law, yes they are in violation. But ultimately, it's a service that drives traffic to the site where the image is.

Couldn't that be considered the equivalent of allowing people to listen to a snippet of music for free before selling it to them? I'm sure Circuit City doesn't or pay royalties for music that people listen to in their stores, but the labels do benefit when a records sells.
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Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 01:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dynamike View Post
Google is only showing the thumbnail and then the full page on the owner's site opens up when the thumbnail is clicked. By strict defintion of the copyright law, yes they are in violation.
No, they are not. Court cases (in the US, at least) have already established that displaying thumbnails and using them as links is not automatically an infringement of the copyright owner's rights. Sorry, I don't have the citations handy. It's a matter of fair use, which does not require advance permission, an issue that many copyright owners fail to understand and accept, even when it benefits them in the long run. The original poster's description of Google as "thieves" is an example.
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Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 08:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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No, they are not. Court cases (in the US, at least) have already established that displaying thumbnails and using them as links is not automatically an infringement of the copyright owner's rights. Sorry, I don't have the citations handy. It's a matter of fair use, which does not require advance permission, an issue that many copyright owners fail to understand and accept, even when it benefits them in the long run. The original poster's description of Google as "thieves" is an example.
Fair use is tricky in this case. I'm sure that arguments could be made either way, but I really think that Google is in the clear on this one.

I tend to agree with you and the courts that have ruled in the favor of Google.
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Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 01:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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MY LEARNED COLLEAGUE AND NOTED BIKER DYNAMIKE OPINED:

...But don't insult someone who has forgotten more than most us know.
/// I respond: I'm not insulting anyone intentionally, other than the thieves at Google.


Google is only showing the thumbnail and then the full page on the owner's site opens up when the thumbnail is clicked.
/// I respond: This is a factual misstatement and misunderstanding. The "full page" doesn't open up. Rather, Google forces the owner's server to serve up the full image OUT OF CONTEXT making it appear on the Google site. Thus Google is stealing bandwidth, as well as use of the full image.


By strict defintion of the copyright law, yes they are in violation. But ultimately, it's a service that drives traffic to the site where the image is.
/// I respond: The first sentence is correct. They are copyright violators. As to the second, it is a factual error, since the surfer can simply steal of view the image without visiting the owner's site. In addition, my learned colleague ignores the fact that THE OWNER has the right to determine whether Google's theft "benefits" the owner or not.


Couldn't that be considered the equivalent of allowing people to listen to a snippet of music for free before selling it to them? I'm sure Circuit City doesn't or pay royalties for music that people listen to in their stores, but the labels do benefit when a records sells.
/// I respond: No. The analogy is wrong. Because Google is serving up the ENTIRE full-size image, for its own benefit, without permission of the owner, and stealing the owner's bandwidth in the process. A correct comparison would be distributing the entire songs without permission. Circuit City or music shops do not allow people to make copies of entire songs without payment.


Two other points, not yet touched on. The first is that Google's business model wildly violates the 18 USC 2257 recordkeeping laws. Google is in criminal violation of those laws. The second is that the trend of the law is going AGAINST thieves like Google. See, inter alia, recent cases by Perfect 10 against various infringers, and the spate of recent cases in Europe against Google text thievery.

BTW, who is the person who has forgotten more about copyright law than most of us ever knew?
 
 
Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Personally I think it is a bunch of crap.

Google not only adhears to search engine rules they wrote most of them. They publish plenty of documentation on how things work.

If you don't want your work displayed don't put it online. Google provides a search service, they are not charging for your images. Just because their business model does not include paying you for content you place online for public viewing does not make them crooks. It means you have a flawed business model.
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Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 02:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Personally I think it is a bunch of crap.
/// I RESPECTFULLY REPLY TO MY ELOQUENT GENTEEL COLLEAGUE, per below.

Google not only adhears to search engine rules they wrote most of them. They publish plenty of documentation on how things work.
/// I RESPECTFULLY REPLY TO MY ELOQUENT GENTEEL COLLEAGUE: This is a wild, nonsensical statement. I have no clue what he means about "rules." Indeed, Google is noted for keeping its search algorhythms secret. As far as documentation, they certainly haven't documented their own well kept secrets, at least not for public view.


If you don't want your work displayed don't put it online.
/// I RESPECTFULLY REPLY TO MY ELOQUENT GENTEEL COLLEAGUE: The statement is nonsensical. The learned colleague is saying that one must accept thievery as the price of publication. That isn't the way it works with books, magazines, TV, movies, or anything else. Indeed, if one takes my learned colleague seriously, it means that NO ONE has a right to protect his published creative work.


Google provides a search service, they are not charging for your images. Just because their business model does not include paying you for content you place online for public viewing does not make them crooks. It means you have a flawed business model.
/// I RESPECTFULLY REPLY TO MY ELOQUENT GENTEEL COLLEAGUE: The above is a bizarre misunderstanding. Google makes money off the pilfered images by using them to create traffic into Google, then making money (banner ads, clickthroughs, etc.) from the immense traffic. The fact that Google makes money via the TRAFFIC generated by misuse of images, does not make Google less of an infringer-for-profit than if they sold the images directly. As far as my learned colleagues comments that "you have a flawed business model" I do not understand the flaw. Creating art and literature, then selling it, has been a legitimate business model for centuries.
 
 
Re: Google Ripping off Photographers; More News
Old 11-30-2006, 03:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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See, inter alia, recent cases by Perfect 10 against various infringers, and the spate of recent cases in Europe against Google text thievery.
As for the P10 case vs. Google, the court found that the evidence slightly favored P10 for their direct infringement claims and issued a ruling against Google, but it wasn't a slam dunk case. The court also denied P10's claims for relief from contributory and vicarious infringement. As a result, both sides have cross-appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In short, it ain't over 'till it's over.
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