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The trial of four Google employees has begun in Milan with an engineer from the search giant giving evidence.
The employees are accused of breaking Italian law in allowing a video of a teenager with Down's Syndrome to be posted online.
The video, posted on Google Video in 2006 shortly before the firm acquired YouTube, showed a teenager with Down's Syndrome being bullied by four students in front of more than a dozen others.
YouTube is a perfect example, last I heard it's still not making a profit even without having to pay an army of reviewers. It's essentially a community service subsidized by a corporation.
A COMMUNITY SERVICE?
Subsidized, sure. But a community service? Gimme a break, please. Google is in for the money. They did not care about the trouble they got themselves into when they shelled out $1,600,000,000 for Youtube.
It's not that there were no signs of trouble - there were plenty of signs and warnings! All kinds of problems (not just copyright). But they wanted a video service to end all other video services (including their own failure, Google Video), and they looked away. They almost got the video monopoly and complain now that there are problems with it.
If they realize only now that it is not feasible to run the product profitably within the borders of the law (in each market they operate in), they better re-think their product strategy presto! If they don't do this, please let them see the consequences of their actions. Where is the problem with that?
Google is in for the money.
Of course they are, but at this point it remains the community service with future revenue potential is has been since before Google was in the picture.
If they don't do this, please let them see the consequences of their actions. Where is the problem with that?
In this case the potential "consequences" make it impossible, in Italy, for anyone to create a (fill in the blank) sharing site without backing from a giant corporation. Perhaps not even then.
It amazes me how much the fact that Google is attached to something clouds people's vision on the underlying issues.
I suspect you hate Google because you feel they are too large and powerful, yet you support internet regulation models that would make it impossible for anyone but large and powerful corporations to run certain kinds of websites.
yet you support internet regulation models that would make it impossible for anyone but large and powerful corporations to run certain kinds of websites
Au contraire, mon ami!
I support internet regulation models that can be run within the various laws that existed before the internet came along.
If someone runs, for example, a forum - does the person running the forum have to switch on images? No, not at all. They could block images. Yet almost everyone running a forum decides to allow images because it is MORE ATTRACTIVE to the end users. At the same time he creates the massive problem of hotlinking and copyright infringement. If he'd simply disallow images, that problem would go away automatically. But okay, he decided to go for images for whatever reasons. Now, I think it is only fair that he takes care that the forum is still run within the boundaries of the laws. Just because he does not want to spend money on monitoring the forum does not mean that it is impossible. It may be impossible to run this service profitably, yes, but it's not technically impossible. Also, please remember, that that person could still turn off images.
Our sites have been running for ages with unique content that we did produce; we have secured the rights; we know the sources. We're not trying to get rich using the content of others (some may think this is dumb, I know). Of course, this is expensive and not a way to get rich quick. But from a legal point-of-view, we have always been on the safe side. If you take "community" services like Youtube - these are only possible by taking massive risks (e.g. copyright issues) and allowing substantial subsidies (for the huge bandwidth bills). Does this sound like a good business model? No. Just because people want to have a free host for their videos does not mean that someone has to offer that. Nobody forced Youtube to do what it does. If someone choses to take the risk, they should also take the RISK part in this statement and not complain later when issues pop up.
What we are seeing today is the disruption of existing models that worked responsibly within the legal boundaries in the past, replacing them with services that are more efficient and probably also demanded by the consumers, but not always within the laws. If you want to make these services compliant with the laws, the business model would be unattractive (i.e. loss making forever), and you'd have no service. If someone decides to take a risk and fails, so be it.