coachm - 10:01 pm on Dec 1, 2012 (gmt 0)
@coachm, copyright law is not relevant. I do not know what you mean by the "spirit of copyright law", especially given that modern copyright law derives from the Statute of Queen Ann which was the result of a lobbying campaign by formerly government licensed printers to soften the impact on their cartel by the abolition of censorship laws. Um, that does sound like how things still work!
Can you please tell me of anything Google does that would put you in jail if you did it?
I do not want a web where every statement that someone finds objectionable is removed from the public eye.
Graeme, as an author and publisher I have to know a lot about the copyright issues. The reason copyright exists, and it's clearly stated in the appropriate legal documents, is to encourage the development of intellectual property. Seriously, that IT. The purpose, the spirit, the reason.
My bet is you can figure out the rest of my "lecture" on the issue of accountability or lack. Had Google acted consistent with encouraging intellectual property over the last years?
Finally, your comment about objectionable. uhhuh. But that's not the issue. The issue is whether some companies can be involved as intermediaries for illegal activities, and then shield themselves and avoid responsibility and accountability. And, that when a company is informed that this has happened with valid specifics and refuses to act, then in my opinion, they should be subject to punishment.
I actually think things should go even further, and that companies SHOULD be held to a standard that requires them to proactively vet content before its published, or be liable, but I recognize that really isn't practical. Although sometimes I wonder why it's ok for Google NOT to hire people do the work, just because its "costly".
There's an analogy here with other criminal activities, like sexual exploitation, terrorism and drug trafficking that makes things clearer.
Facebook does a lot to combat exploitation of minors online - they allocate significant money to do that. Why? Give them credit for maybe thinking it's the right thing to do, but beyond that, they know that 1) if they don't government will end up forcing them to do it, and 2) they know that the business costs of NOT doing it could eventually be almost fatal for them.
The point though is that while they proabably aren't doing enough, what they do is because they know they will be held accountable in a number of ways, because the crimes are so heinous.
Where there is no accountability, there's nothing done. The giants have had a good profitable run off the backs of user gen. content without having to spend more than pennies to follow the spirit and letter of the law.
Google as an example, has paid huge fines for its legal oopsies, so things are getting better, BUT for them its simply the cost of doing business, so there isn't any real accountability in their business space.
And whether its' libel, copyright, whatever for those of us who don't have tens of millions of dollars to sue, and that's almost all of us, all we can do is suffer, and complain.