CyberTech Rambler

March 8, 2007

Microsoft blasting Goolge over copyright is a wrong move

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:22 pm

The main stream media (such as this one) has picked up on Microsoft blasting Google over its “cavalier” approach to copyright. It is about Google’s effort to catalog books held by libraries for the purpose of searching. Microsoft says Google is “cavalier” because Google wants to catalog books still in copyrights against express wishes of the copyrights holder, and its procedure for copyrights holder to “opt out” is too burdensome.

The reason why Microsoft put out such a statement is of course to promote its similar effort to catalog books held by library of course. However, is Google’s behavior shows that it has a “cavalier” attitude?

Copyrights give authors certain rights, but not blanket rights. If Google’s use of the books does not falls into these rights, then Google has every rights to do it. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of copyright law, the way Google intends to use it, coupled with  Google victory over the use of thumbnail and excerpts, says that Google is likely to be in the clear.

Copyrights holders will of course like to reserves as many rights to themselves as possible. People like me (and Google) will like to restrict their rights as narrowly as possible. The boundary between their rights and ours is constantly shifting. What Google does is to challenge this boundary. If Microsoft choose not to, that is Microsoft’s choice. Personally I applaud what Google is doing and hope that the case do go to court. I also think that the copyrights holders are unreasonable in their demands and is disappointed that Microsoft chose to capitulate to them.

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