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Google’s Contempt for Copyright

April 3rd, 2007 by Bob Bly

Google makes no secret of its contempt for copyright and intellectual property ownership — believing, as so many Netters do, that “information should be free.”

To which I say, “Bull*(#$%*!!!”

In February, Viacom asked Google-owned YouTube to remove more than 100,000 unauthorized video clips of copyrighted TV shows from its site.

When YouTube did not comply, Viacom filed suite against YouTube and Google for copyright infringement, seeking over $1 billon in damages … in a case that DM News (3/19/07, p. 1) says “may determine the future of content distribution over the Internet.”

Some argue that the exposure of the video clips on YouTube is good for Viacom, promoting their shows to a wider audience — and so Viacom should be happy that YouTube is giving them all this free exposure.

But they miss the point, and the point is this: the decision of whether to let someone reproduce or distribute copyrighted material lies solely with copyright holder.

To take someone else’s copyrighted music, video, article, or story — and distribute it online or elsewhere without their consent — is stealing, pure and simple.

Internet types love to talk about the importance of “permission-based marketing.”

How about “permission-based Internet publishing”?

That makes sense.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 at 9:34 am and is filed under General, Writing and the Internet. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

28 responses about “Google’s Contempt for Copyright”

  1. Jim Logan said:

    Well said!

    To take someones article, video, audio, etc. and distribute it without permission is stealing in my book.

    Your comment on permission-based marketing is priceless.

    I recently confronted a person who had a website strikingly similar to a friend of mine. The person I confronted admitted they had “lift” the CSS and page design from my friend’s site. Their answer to my claim this was stealing??? “That’s the way the Internet works.”

  2. Robert Kopacz said:

    Boy, have you stepped right into an interesting issue! I reflect on this all the time. On the one hand, creators should have protection for that which they have created. On the other hand, Lawrence Lessig is correct, I think, when he says that a big part of creativity is based on tinkering with someone else’s invention, and even you yourself, Bob, advocate the creation of a “swipe file” for copywriters. I agree with the basic premise — that if Viacom does not want its copyrighted material on YouTube, YouTube should take it off. YouTube should be a place for unknowns to show off their stuff, with the hope that one day, they will be copyrighted and own big mansions in Beverly Hills despite the fact that they never finished high school. It is simply another forum to audition new material from new artists, and that will be its most appropriate role.

  3. Michael A. Stelzner said:


    I think this is more about YouTube and less about Google.

    However I agree with you.

    I just had someone steal a post a wrote and claim it as their own.

    I reported them to — the site hosting them.

    Not sure it will make a difference.

    I added a copyright statement to my footer of my blog to protect myself.

    I advise you do the same Bob.


  4. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    I had someone steal an article from me a couple of weeks ago. It was posted on his website with just a few words changed. When I contacted him, he explained that his site is a “Wiki” and, therefore, the information on it is never credited to any particular author. “It’s about community and the free exchange of information,” he said, “not ego.”

    I was eventually able to set him straight. But what really scares me is that his philosophy is becoming more commonplace on the Internet.

  5. Lisa Preston said:

    Strangely enough, I recently posted an article about this on my own blog… and then I myself became a victim of copyright infringement! My issue revolves around the theft of my graphics rather than an article, but the principles are the same.

    Mike (from previous comment) – if you wrote or created an original work, then YOU own the copyright whether you post a copyright notice or not.

    In order for someone to use your work, they must obtain permission. In the case of a wiki, the person who includes the content must cite their reference source, providing a link to the original. You also have to option of erasing the information or adding to the wiki for clarity.

    Lisa Preston

  6. Bob Bly said:

    Lisa, Mike: even though Lisa is write, Mike’s idea is a good one, because it REMINDS the visitor of the fact that it is copyrighted material, which may head some thievery off at the pass….

  7. Doe said:

    I believe that nothing comes free in this world. There’s no free time, no free stuff (because you have to sacrifice your email address), no free web hosting (ads), and so forth.

    I believe people have rights to use the contents but they should cite their source instead of claiming them as their own. Maybe internet users are mostly egotist and self-centric people.

    “Ask for permission? Come on, it’s ridiculous you know? This is internet. It’s supposed to work this way!”

    Permission-based marketing? What that supposed to mean to ordinary guy? Ethics? They don’t have one.

    (I think most will get the point)

  8. Google Accused Of Interweb Robbery | Gate911 News said:

    […] Direct marketer, Bob Bly says: Google makes no secret of its contempt for copyright and intellectual property ownership — believing, as so many Netters do, that “information should be free.” […]

  9. DF said:

    Complaining about copyright issues on the internet seems to me a completely unoriginal idea. Surely we can use our time better.

    Ultimately it’s not the work we’ve already produced that feeds us, it’s the work we’re currently and have yet to produce. Don’t rest on your laurels. Keep producing good work, charge well for it, pocket the proceeds, and move on.

    May I suggest a good read:
    Francois Joseph de Kermadec’s article on the
    O’reileyNet site

    “Enough with Copyright”

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