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Judge echoes Google critics in digital book ruling
Viacom’s lawsuit revolves around allegations that YouTube employees regularly allowed pirated videos to be remain online in an effort to attract more viewers, a practice that Google’s executives knew about before buying the service. Since the acquisition, Google has created technology to block or quickly remove copyright-protected videos from YouTube.
The wording of Chin’s decision may even be strong enough to prod Google into rethinking its approach to copyright law, said Jim Pitkow, CEO of Attributor, which makes tools for flagging online copyright violations.
“If Google were going to set out on this (book) project in 2011, I suspect they would have a different perspective than they did when they first started it all those years ago,” he said.
Chin also concluded Google designed the proposed settlement to gain control over material that would have likely attracted even more traffic to its search engine, which serves as the hub of an Internet ad network that has raked in more than $100 billion during the past six years. Google already processes about two out of three search requests, an advantage that critics say the company abuses by highlighting its own services, such as mapping and video, over its rivals.
One of the main reasons that the ITA deal remains under review is because the Justice Department is looking into whether Google could combine its market power with ITA’s technology to stifle competition in the online travel market.
Google maintains its huge lead in the Internet search could quickly erode with an even bigger company _ Microsoft _ spending billion to improve and promote its Bing search engine. Meanwhile, Facebook, the owner of the Web’s most popular hangout, keeps developing products designed to more deeply immerse its site in people’s online lives.
Meanwhile, Chin also was sympathetic to concerns that Google would be able to learn even more about its users than it already knows if it gained control of such a vast library of digital books, as the company would have records on what people read.
Google already has been criticized around the world for collecting personal information sent over unprotected wireless networks while its cars photographed neighborhoods and streets in more than two dozen countries from 2007 to 2010. Just this week, France’s privacy watchdog fined Google about $141,000 for the intrusions in that country.
Although he said worries about data collection by themselves wouldn’t have been enough for him to block the settlement, Chin emphasized: “The privacy concerns are real.”
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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