Andem - 10:51 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: Andem at 11:06 pm (utc) on Sep 5, 2012]
We have to assume the content was acquired legally (else a site as prominent as Ehow would bleed dry through lawsuits)
I also agree with you, 1script. But (IMO), sites like Pinterest were created outside of the spirit of the law. Precedence has been set with services like Kazaa, Napster, Megaupload, etc.: These sites were created specifically as a place to distribute copyrighted content. How is Pinterest different? Do they produce any real content themselves?
Services like YouTube, forums, image hosters, Facebook and other user-generated content sites were created with the intent of being a platform, not as a source of content (though we could debate the intentions of the aforementioned).
PirateBay was created as a place to distribute copies of music, videos, software they don't own. Pinterest was created as a place to upload and share content they do not own. Ehow has always been a place to distribute and profit off of content they didn't create (it's virtually all rewritten content -- precedence (against this practice) has been set on that topic several times in US law).
YouTube is a platform to share videos, but they have implemented sophisticated technology to disallow sharing of copyrighted media and have a very straight-forward DMCA policy (though I digress). Forums are generally a place for people to discuss facts and opinion. Image hosters seem to be used for sharing screenshots and other random photos to share on forums. Facebook is a social networking platform that was created without the intention of distributing other peoples intellectual property and UGC sites are much like forums.
There is a huge difference between protection under DMCA and the intent of profiting off of the intellectual property of others. I hate to drag this on, but these are very valid points.
But to the point: I think Google profits from sites which have no regard for intellectual property rights. This can be seen by the constant appearance of torrent sites which are nothing more than pirates or those profiting from piracy. Most of them aren't even well-designed, encourage malware distribution, have tons of pop-up ads and are generally harmful to both users and copyright holders... but users love free stuff and thus they thrive in Google. Wasn't Google's motto "Don't be evil"? Again, I digress.
The "don't be evil" [unofficial] motto has all but disappeared. If free stuff and gimmicks make their search engine more popular, then Google will continue dealing with the devil and creativity will dwindle.
Google wasn't always like this.
[edited by: Andem at 11:06 pm (utc) on Sep 5, 2012]