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Google wins battle in Usenet archive case

     
4:38 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In a legal win for Google, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a writer who claimed the search giant infringed on his copyright by archiving a Usenet posting of his and providing excerpts from his Web site in search results.

[news.com.com...]
5:00 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've been pretty vocal on this one before, so I'm disappointed to see this.

I really do believe that the people making decisions on this are not completely understanding of all the facts. Cache in the form it was intended, and the "Google Cache" are completely different things.

Google uses this content for it's own benefit. It asks users to "bookmark" it's cached version, not the original. Google's sole ploy in doing this in to increase the average time people spend on it's site, thus increasing it's own "value" as an internet destination.

I bet that none of the judges that have ruled on this have ever published a webpage, nor ever done business online, so I really thing that makes them ignorant to the issues. I mean, I would never attempt to rule on whether or not Andrew Wileys proof of Fermats last theorm is correct or inaccurate, simply because I wouldn't have a god damned clue.

I would be ok with the cache is they removed the bookmark link, were required to have all caches done at least within the last 7 days and removed their name from the cache, but included all and any ads.

I just thing judges are afraid to rule against Google because they know that would be a blow to them and that investors would be sending them death threats!

5:38 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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That bookmark option is indeed disconcerting, but these types of lawsuits are going to be popping up everywhere now that Google is what it is. People are always going to want to make a quick buck and there is always a lawyer willing to take the case.

All these little lawsuits end up hurting the chances of a real complaint getting taken seriously, and it simply creates precedence in Google's favor.

5:48 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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given that it went to court .. I think it is safe to assume that the facts were made clear...

no point going to court with out expert testamony, so I believe that point would have been made clear...

Given that it is still a real victory for google..

So who was paid off ;-) who was got at .. let's start a conspiracy theory :-)

6:18 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This battle is completely covered under law and the judge ruled appropriately.

If the judge were to rule against Google in this case, I could potentially put the owner of webmasterworld.com in legal jeopardy simply by cutting and pasting a passage from "The DaVinci Code" into this message.

In other words, if you dont protect internet service providers, then you cannot have any community services on the web, period.

Google's content caching is clearly designed to provide access to page content in the event the site is unreachable and facilitate search - googles content cache doesnt even serve ads. To infer that Google designed the cache to infringe on content is frivilous.

However, what I want to know is if Google was served a DMCA notice and if they fulfilled it.

6:45 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"When an ISP automatically and temporarily stores data without human intervention so that the system can operate and transmit data to its users, the necessary element of volition (willful intent to infringe) is missing," the court said.

Makes me think of MFA's.

8:00 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If the judge were to rule against Google in this case, I could potentially put the owner of webmasterworld.com in legal jeopardy simply by cutting and pasting a passage from "The DaVinci Code" into this message.

Not true, I'm sure. Almost all jurisdictions have a concept of "Fair Use" when it comes to copyright issues. If you pasted an entire page, or the whole book, then WebmasterWorld may have trouble... but it would be removed by the mods in that case anyway.

I don't think publishing aka "cacheing" entire pages from websites could really be considered fair use.

8:56 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Damn the judicial system and their ignorance in regards to the ways of the internet.

They obviously do not understand that Google is literally copying nearly every page of the internet in its EXACT form and re-producing it for their own personal gain.

The bookmark option is personal gain.
The Google colors are personal gain on the caches (branding anyone?)

They should not be caching anyways, if it is a file that has been deleted, it's because the webmaster wanted it gone, not cached forever.

What is so hard to understand about that?

Google's cache is nearly on the same level as About and the other skeezy copywright infringement giants. It's pure and simply BS, and I hope that someone with enough money to fight this properly steps up to the plate. It is simply WRONG.

[edited by: NoLimits at 9:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2006]

9:00 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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ya this is horse**** ....... so if a company's computer electronically infringes on a massive scale it's ok because the computer doesn't know any better? but if it's done manually by a human that had a willful intent to infringe, then its wrong? that's what i took from this ruling.

so does that means google's plans to photocopy all the books is infringement if a human is photocopying them page by page.... but if they build a AI robot to sit in front of the photocopier it's not?

maybe i should build myself a robot and program it to murder people too, i could get off by saying it wasn't me, it was the robot... then i could start my own mob enterprise. think of all the revenue my company could generate by getting these paid hit-bots to do my dirty work while i get off scott free.

9:12 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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the words cat and pigeons seems to spring to mind... lol

but great!

I'm sick of all you people harping on about how precious your content is... if that is the sole apsect of your product then it is how your are selling your product that is in question...

I love the spirit of the original concept of the web and believe that the whole apsect of protectionism has already gone far enough ... too far even ..

if this is the begining of fighting back and clawing back some of that freedom, then all power to them..

Stop moaning!

1:26 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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<Admin note: here's another article, that looks more at the character defamation angle of the lawsuit.>

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Google Inc.'s Web search systems infringe on a publisher's copyright, a minor victory for the company which faces numerous suits charging that its services trample on the rights of authors."

Gooooo Goooooogle!

Full story
[today.reuters.com ]

[edited by: tedster at 10:04 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2006]

10:58 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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@ Lobo -

Sticky me your URL so I can copy all your sites and host an exact replica on my server with a bookmark link at the top and my logo.

But honestly, do you not see how important it is that the cache dies? It is the tip of the content theft iceberg. It's not okay for me to do it, so it's not okay for Google to do it - got that? Good. Being the most used search engine doesn't give them the right to copy content with no reguard to copyright laws.

12:40 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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That's really too bad. I hope they plan to appeal?
5:58 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What a load of crap....

This ruling suggests that it is perfectly legal to cache the entire web, put your logo and name at the top of the copied pages (not to mention your ads) and to re-use and provide this content to your viewers as you wish, regardless of copyright issues.

It also suggests scrapers & mfa's are perfectly OK.

Unreal... :(

10:44 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This case is about a usenet archive, not about general cached pages. General cached pages do not have adverts, apart from anything else. If you knew more about the way in which usenet's own mechanisms work then you would be of the same opinion as me that the idea of protecting that content is somewhat foolish.
3:46 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think Google bought out DejaNews, didn't they? They saved UseNet for millions of people who wouldn't have the first clue how to get into it.
4:28 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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<quote>
<quote>If the judge were to rule against Google in this case, I could potentially put the owner of webmasterworld.com in legal jeopardy simply by cutting and pasting a passage from "The DaVinci Code" into this message.</quote>

Not true, I'm sure. Almost all jurisdictions have a concept of "Fair Use" when it comes to copyright issues. If you pasted an entire page, or the whole book, then WebmasterWorld may have trouble... but it would be removed by the mods in that case anyway.

I don't think publishing aka "cacheing" entire pages from websites could really be considered fair use.
</quote>

The applicable law isnt 'Fair Use' in terms of the webmaster's liability. The webmaster's liability is defined in the DMCA. The *posters* liability is defined in 'Fair Use'.

Remember, there are millions of services larger then Webmaster World where human editorial is not technically feasible due to scale, Google being the prime example, which is why the DMCA exists.

Under the DMCA, a web service is not liable for reproducing copyrighted content originated by someone else, however, they are legally required to remove it when served a legally compliant DMCA request by the owner of the copyright.

5:06 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This case is about a usenet archive, not about general cached pages. General cached pages do not have adverts, apart from anything else. If you knew more about the way in which usenet's own mechanisms work then you would be of the same opinion as me that the idea of protecting that content is somewhat foolish.

My post refers to the following example the court used to justify Googl's position.

"When an ISP automatically and temporarily stores data without human intervention so that the system can operate and transmit data to its users, the necessary element of volition is missing," the court said.

3:28 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hmmmm...how is 'temporarily' defined?
6:35 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No, the Google cache is of no importance at all, either to webmasters or to copyright law. That was settled in the LAST case, settled by the simple fact that notice could be given by anyone who cared: there was no need to invoke the authority of the law when a simple file tweak or server tweak could make any conceivable Google "copyright violation" good.

This is another issue. Plaintiff was whining about Google caching material that it had explicit permission to cache -- after all, a cache is the essence of a newsgroup, and you can't post to a newsgroup without intending for it to be cached! And in newsgroups, Google is not acting as a cache (however intrinsically good or evil that may be) but as an ISP, automatically accepting content generated by others for redistribution, and redistributing it. That was a no-brainer, no matter how much you hate and despise Google. And nobody, not the Godfather, not Bill Gates, not a petty mullethead third-world dictator, NOBODY can be ALWAYS evil.

11:16 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Slightly off topic, but would no placing the content inside a div wit ha background colour and positioning it at 0,0 overlap and hide the google cache notice?

Any layouts I have with absolutely positioned elements get screwed up but the elements overlab googles notice.

12:42 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I do not really see what the problem with Google cache is:

So, they redistribute a page from my site: but it still shows my ads, it still links to other pages on my site, it still shows my ads, the page even shows up on my external stats service.

The only problem is that the pageview does not show un in my server logs, but people looking at Google cache are far too low a proportion of total visitors for that to be an issue.

So what problem should I have with Google cache.