“Copyright Google Inc.”
That’s what you see shimmering in the background over each image from Google Street View in what has to be the creepiest of many creepy freaks that spring from the intellectual loins of the Leviathan of Mountain View.
Just so we’re clear–that is NOT a Creative Commons license.
In addition to harassing peaceful English villages (“A Very English Revolt Sees Off Google’s Spies“), somebody…ahem…decided to deal with those who resist the Leviathan in typically 4Chan style:
“Members of social networking site Twitter are calling on Street View enthusiasts to sweep into action as a protest against the villagers [who don't want Google to own images of their homes].
They have already begun posting pictures of the village online and used the photographs to post tongue-in-cheek ‘masterplans’ on how to plot robberies, by climbing on red phoneboxes and swinging off tree branches.”
Because, after all, “none of us are as cruel as all of us“. That makes “tounge-in-cheek masterplans” so much more easier to tolerate, yes? Particularly if the images were of your own home?
According to Google: “Householders are entitled to request their property is removed from the site but only after the picture has appeared.” In other words, drop dead.
But is that really the law or is that what Google wants the law to be? I’m sure there are a bunch of MPs that will be more than happy to point out that law. The only way that the homeowners can make Google go away is to chase their car out of town (cheap) or to sue (expensive) or to call on their MP to make Google stop (unlikely given Google’s massive worldwide lobbying campaign).
The good thing about the physical world is that they still have the former option.
The latest in the collision between Stanford’s finest and Western Civilization occurred last week in Switzerland, but this time it was the Swiss government who told Google to stop. Did Google care? Nope.
Have your people call our people. Google intends to enforce their copyrights.
Now where is William Tell when you need him?
An excellent op-ed by Terence Corcoran of Canada’s National Post on “The Telcom Trotsyites” north of the border.
As the witching hour of the Google Books Settlement draws nigh, a telling slip from the Association of American Publishers counsel Allan Adler, from whose intellectual loins sprang this freak (at least in part):
“As for having to wait until October to see whether the settlement is approved, there’s only one thing that bothers Adler: ‘The downside is that it gives people who are opposed to this more time to rabble-rouse.'”
Let’s see…rabble like the governments of Germany, France, New Zealand and–oh yeah–the United States. And then there’s Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon and the Internet Archive. A host of academics and commentators.
And then of course the fairness argument: “‘Generally speaking,’ Adler says, ‘nobody will be able to argue there wasn’t enough due process here.'”
Hmmmm. No, that’s exactly what “they” are arguing. And they’d be correct.
An excellent article on Google Books from the New Zealand Herald:
“‘The deal is cultural imperialism on a par with the 1980s US flexing of military might over nuclear ship visits, says the Auckland branch secretary of the Society of Authors, Adrian Blackburn. ” … This monopolistic pre-emptive grab by a hugely wealthy US business – ‘we’ll just do it and you can sue us if you can afford to’ – is an arrogant flexing of business muscle…’ ‘If New Zealand’s laws and international treaties are not to be over-ridden by the arbitrary and oppressive conduct of private interests beyond our shores, the Government must do everything in its power to ensure that the intellectual property of New Zealanders cannot be used by Google or anyone else without the explicit consent of the copyright holders.'”
The Kiwis join up with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Open Book Alliance, the Germans and the French in calling foul on the Leviathan of Mountain View.
These arguments apply equally to all authors, US or ex-US. Why? “The slow dawning may be a combination of the deal’s considerable complexities and disbelief that a private settlement in the US could have global ramifications for authors. The culprit, apparently, is the reciprocal nature of the Berne Convention, one of the oldest copyright treaties, to which the US and most other countries are signatories.”
And of course the evil machinations of those who believe in what Professor Lessig calls “The Starving Artist Canard“, or, as Fred von Lohman of the EFF once told me, “Artists will just have to learn to get along on less money.”
In one of the best summaries I’ve seen on the implications of the Google Books settlement for ex-US rights holders, the New Zealand Society of Authors told its members:
“Unless New Zealand authors or publishers formally opt out of the settlement, or formally opt in but request Google not to digitize and/or display their books, Google will have the non-exclusive right to digitize any of their books that were published anywhere before 5 January 2009, whether it has digitized them already or not.”
New Zealand joins Germany in opposing the Google Books Settlement, largely for the same reasons.
One doesn’t want to count one’s chickens before they are in the pot, but Google’s latest attempt at cornering the world’s information–well maybe not the latest, but a significant one–just got a little less likely to succeed. According to the AP, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon and the Internet Archive are going full bore at opposing the Google Books Settlement.
Now what might this lead to? “[T]he alliance will try to persuade the U.S. Justice Department that Google’s broad settlement with authors and publishers could undermine competition in the digital book market.”
You never know where that kind of investigation will lead.