This post contains what could be a blogger's worst nightmare. If you've never paid any attention to Google's business tactics, this post will give you the briefest, yet easieast synopsis of the Google giant, and just may scare the pants off you. (Please put them back on as soon as possible.)
I don't know how many of you have previously heard about Google's 2002, attempted launch of it's venture called "Book Search". Basically, Google wanted to create a huge online library of sorts. But this plan led them to one huge roadblock: thousands, if not millions of copyrights, for which Google would have to pay tens of millions of dollars, for the rights to scan/digitize every book into their "Book Search".
Well, during the last 6 years, while the copyright battle has continued to wage between Google and the publishing houses, all along, Google has continued to scan/digitize these copyrighted materials, long before any resolution was reached. But just last week Google finally decided to settle on this massive copyright copyright case, by agreeing to pay astronomical amounts of money to the publishers. Sounds like a win for the publishers, right? Read the details more closely!
Now many of you may have seen in my comments, how frequently I mention my dislike of Google. Not the products, but the conglomerate and their "bully" tactics. Before I continue with my copyright post, here's a bit more Google history...
- To my knowledge, only one other time, has Google actually backed down from a battle (sort of). That occurrence happened when Google tried to force eBay to use "Google Checkout"; when eBay already had it's own payment plan, Paypal, and refused to comply with Google.(Yay!) Fortunately, eBay and Paypal had the money to stand toe-to-toe against Google. So in a truly petty fashion, Google then decided to have a little party in Boston that just happened to be during the same week of the annual eBay Live user conference, when the eBay "power sellers" get to rub elbows with the powers-that-be at eBay. But the real clincher was the shuttle service that Google was offering, to bring eBay's power sellers from the eBay party, to Google's party, where they could introduce "Checkout" to them. So eBay's counterstrike was to pull ALL of their ads from Google! (I loved it!) This was a truly shocking move, since Google relies heavily on it's "AdWords" and "AdSense" revenue. And they've done their job at convincing many people that they can't survive without paying the Google monster. But eBay's final move did the trick. Google quietly cancelen their party. And eBay eventually began advertising on Google again, but on a much smaller scale. And interestingly enough, eBay lost very little revenue during the boycott! (Hah!) However, Google still launched one more bomb against eBay, with their "programmable search", which WE have all been using for over a year now! (And as usual, all the internet users care about is the convenience of the Google products.)
Now back to the topic at hand. When you look beyond the surface, and consider the long-term ramifications of Googles' "copyright settlement", and the continued digitization (Is that a word?) of millions of books, I wonder if we may eventually, all be at risk of losing the rights to our automatically copyrighted works. After all, if we wrote it, we own it, right? I'm not so sure. It looks to me like Google has back-doored us, and changed the laws as we know them. As we continue to face an ongoing battle to stop the scum suckers who steal the hard work of others, has Google just laid the groundwork for laws to be changed?
Read this article about Google's Alleged Settlement in the amount of tens of millions of dollars to the publishing houses that own the rights to the books that will now be digitized. Be sure you read all the way to the end. Then compare it to the results of the "programmable search" slam that they used on eBay.
Google has an alleged history of repeatedly stomping all over the rights of smaller companies, and even laws, by taking their battles all the way to the supreme court, while allegedly bleeding all the money out of their adversaries. (I personally see Google as a corporate giant that represents the stereotypical U.S. Conglomerate... read between the lines on that one.) It has always been my opinion that Google is a corporate bully. I don't deny that they have some excellent products. I use many of them myself. But I despise their tactics. Do your own homework on Google. They have great products, so of course nobody wants to think poorly of them, or make waves. But does the end justify the means? How would you feel if you were up against them? With this copyright settlement, you very well may be!
OK. I'll stop my tangent now. Follow the links, then after reading the article(s), let me know if you think this settlement just drilled a huge hole in our own personal ownership of what we place online. I've seen many blog posts, expressing concern about losing their work to the owner of the platform to which they're posting. Before Active Rain was sold, there were MANY of these types of posts... all questioning if we owned our own works. And Active Rains repeatedly said that yes, our work is indeed our own!
Compared to Google, Active Rain is hardly a blip on their radar. (Let's just hope AR never gets large enough to find themselves in Google's cross-hairs.) But aside from that, what if Google suddenly decided to take your work and place it elsewhere, as part of a huge compilation/blog database, or whatever they think of next? Could... or Would you even pay the first attorney's fee? And how many Google products do you use, thus feeding this corporate giant even more?
Here's a line from the first link in this post, about the Book Search settlement... "By settling the case, Google has made it much more difficult for others to compete with it's Book Search service." It sounds like Google had a lot of this planned, right from the beginning.
One last tidbit... Did you know that in Google's early days, their "statement" was... "Don't Be Evil". I'm not saying they are... I'll just let you read all the links I've found about Google and their business practices, (And you can find hundreds more) and let you draw your own conclusions. But as far as our own copyrighted materials go... in the face of Google's "copyright settlement", do you think your work is safely copyrighted? Or would you end up like so many of the publishers in the settlement, that can still say they own these copyrighted works, but have no real protection? At least the publishing houses received a settlement, (after 6 years) but I wonder if the settlement even covered their legal fees?
*P.S. I just received a very informative, yet long e-mail from someone who truly has the lowdown on Google. I'm going to ask for permission from this individual, to post some of his e-mail here. If you think what I posted is surprising, or if you don't think it's a big deal, you'll be truly shocked by what I know now! This goes WAY beyond what even I had ever imagined!