What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

Summary: Murdoch recently called Google a 'piracy leader' over Twitter, and a British student faces extradition to the U.S. over TV-Shack. What do these events have in common?

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Rupert Murdoch, a recent addition to the Twitterverse with over 140,000 followers, has recently used the social networking site to fire allegations haphazardly against the search engine giant Google.

According to sister site CNET, Google has responded with disdain at Murdoch's tirade:

"This is just nonsense, last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads...We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day."

Murdoch's decision to place the president and the Internet giant in the firing line is due to the SOPA battle still being fought in Congress, with its anticipated repercussions still fresh in the minds of the tech community.

The online war against SOPA continues, with the majority of the tech community and online corporations viewing the bill as a means to limit free speech, due process, innovation, and cause investment to dwindle.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is backed by numerous industries, including media corporations, music labels, and household names within the film industry. Supporters suggest the legislation is a means in which to protect copyright materials overseas -- therefore, perhaps, U.S. based law has the right to be enforced on a global basis.

Considering the scapegoat case of TV-Shack's creator, the UK justice system appears inclined to agree.

Murdoch stated across Twitter that Google was profiting from advertisements through pirate links, and furthermore, the Internet giant is a "piracy leader".

A report filed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), who represents music labels globally, chastised Google for not being tough enough in tackling illegal file-sharing and copyright infringement. 'Modest steps' have been made according to the report, but this is not enough to placate the entertainment industry.

As both the IFPI report and Murdoch insinuated, by directing results, search engines are earning revenue from sponsored advertising. However, I cannot see the link between generated revenue and pirate links being a central part of a search engine's function, nor does it seem to be an avenue that keeps profit margins high enough for CEO's to dine on champagne and oysters, cackling over their Rolls Royce being courtesy of The Pirate Bay.

Perhaps the future for search engines, especially if SOPA forces its way through, will be immediate liability no matter where the users are in the world. The barriers between international laws are already beginning to blur. The case of TV-Shack creator Richard O'Dwyer has demonstrated this more than ever.

The British student's website is thought to be hosted on a server in Sweden, and the .cc domain name belongs to the Keeling Islands. Without any solid and obvious connection to the United States, minus the fact that users of the service may happen to live there, it seems incredulous that the student lost his appeal and is soon to be shipped over as a politician's sacrificial goat.

TV-Shack apparently made more than $230,000 in advertising revenue, according to U.S. prosecutors. Even though the British student's website isn't illegal in the UK, and is little more than a search engine as it does not host pirated material, he is still facing charges of breaking U.S. law. O'Dwyer now faces the prospect of serving years in a U.S. prison.

This landmark case sets a precedent that law in one country expects itself to be imposed anywhere else in the world -- so we can all be culpable for crimes across the pond. Murder, perhaps, but acting as a search engine?

Should I be extradited for tweeting a link to The Pirate Bay, even though in my current country of residence I am not breaking the law?

So, where is the link between these two cases?

What SOPA does, since governmental and industry figures seem to have given up on targeting the perpetrators of piracy online, is focus on the connections between websites and services. So, in both these cases, the primary function of both services is to connect material and user, without hosting any of the suspected files themselves.

Google falls within the scope of a service that offers links to pirated material, as does TV-Shack.

Murdoch's ranting personifies what many industries would like to press as opinion in the minds of those who have the power to instigate or rebel against the SOPA legislation -- that whether or not you host pirate material, if you have any connection whatsoever to it, you are culpable. So, forget going after the ones 'seeding' torrents, or allowing films to be downloaded off their servers, go for the ties that bind information and users together instead.

Perhaps one of the only reasons the British student is being trussed up for the sacrificial feast is to placate American authorities -- British law appearing to decide it falls under the hand of the U.S. justice system for the sake of foreign policy.

Large corporations are too heavy a target to hunt currently, so go for the individuals instead.

Wait until SOPA is in place, then target the major connective services -- perhaps Google or Bing's CEO will be next to find themselves in front of a U.S. judge.

Image source: Twitter.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Google, Piracy, Security

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19 comments
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  • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

    Lets just add a little bit of context here. Richard O???Dwyer created a site that site was subsequently closed because of linking to pirated material and no charges were brought.

    He then recreated his website using a URL f***thepolice , which is when he then faced charges, he decided to poke the bear which is never a intelligent move

    Finally I can't find dates on this but to say he absolutely did nothing wrong is stretching it abit as the Digital Economy Act is very vague in places
    the.nameless.drifter
    • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

      @the.nameless.drifter [b]He then recreated his website using a URL f***thepolice , which is when he then faced charges, he decided to poke the bear which is never a intelligent move[/b]

      Okay so this makes it even [i]less[/i] the United States' jurisdiction... this new site should have been handled in the UK IF the URL is illegal according to UK law.
      athynz
      • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

        @Pete "athynz" Athens <br><br>My point was that after he had the website closed he then opened it up again and gave it a name to deliberately antagonise law enforcement, thats just not very smart.<br><br>THe URL isn't an offence but in providing links to pirated material he may have violated the Digital Economy Act, but that act is such a disgrace (it was pass in a washup session) and so unclear its a toss up
        the.nameless.drifter
  • It is a hard issue.

    Your view is typical of the "iGeneration".

    "However, I cannot see the link between generated revenue and pirate links being a central part of a search engine???s function..."

    Let me just put it out front. I don't like SOPA. It is too far and over-reaching.

    That said, you are also presenting the white washed story of TV-Shack. You can argue till you are blue in the face that "TV-Shack" was fully legal but it was fundamentally unethical (and questionable on legal). It was a center of allowing the outright theft of intelectual property owned by others. If Richard O???Dwyer thought the TV-Shack was a "good idea" and had no issue with it, then a trip through the justice system might educate him and do him some good.

    Does Google profit from these sites? Yep. Do they profit from the theft of books? Yep. Is SOPA, as it is written good? Nope.
    Bruizer
    • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

      @Bruizer [/b]That said, you are also presenting the white washed story of TV-Shack. You can argue till you are blue in the face that "TV-Shack" was fully legal but it was fundamentally unethical (and questionable on legal). It was a center of allowing the outright theft of intelectual property owned by others. If Richard ODwyer thought the TV-Shack was a "good idea" and had no issue with it, then a trip through the justice system might educate him and do him some good.[/b]

      Yes - and no. What he did was illegal in the US [i]but[/i] he was not in the US when he made the site but in the UK, the server was in Sweden. If he murders a US citizen in the UK is he to be held accountable by the US legal department or the UK legal department? Obviously the jurisdiction the crime took place in would have precedent.

      The whole case sets a very bad precedent.
      athynz
  • Its really this simple...

    Imagine an author guilty of plagiarism publishes a book. Now imagine the Library of Congress includes an entry in its card catalog telling visitors where to find that book. Is the Library of Congress now guilty of plagiarism? Of course not - and neither is Google or Bing.

    Its really that simple.
    paw@...
    • Plaigiarism is not a criminal offense

      @paw@... <br>It's against the generally accepted rules of academic and authoring ethics, and the rules of every reputable school, but it's not against the law of the land. Copyright violation is; plaigiarism is not.

      That said, search engines work both ways. If they can point users to illegally published materials, then they can point law enforcement to those very same materials.
      John L. Ries
    • Big difference

      @paw@... The Library of Congress does not make money out of having the book available .... and they only have ONE. When you read that book, you have to return it.

      Google makes money out of publishing the link and the links generate a copy of the book that can be copied again and again .... in other words, not only is the book never returned, it is published more.

      Not that I think Google is guilty of piracy for publishing a link auto generated with a web crawler ..... but there is a HUGE difference between a book linked by Google and a PHYSICAL book in the Library of Congress.
      wackoae
    • Library of Congress

      paw@ - obviously you do not know anything about the Library of Congress. It is not like ordinary Libraries. The Library of Congress is only for members of Congress, the Supreme Court and other high ranking Government officials. It is used primarily for researching questions by the above government officials. Individuals may do research there, but are not allowed to take out the books.
      crazy.mama
  • Perhaps Murdoch's talking about Youtube...

    ... when he calls Google a piracy leader. After all, there's still tons of proprietary video there, including complete television episodes and feature films. The fact that Google reaps hundreds of millions in revenue from Youtube implies that they're profiting from piracy, given that a good portion of Youtube's attraction is to see this proprietary video. While the consumer benefits from seeing things for free, let's not pretend that Google is wearing a white hat here.
    DJC88
    • Not perhaps

      @DJC88 That is what he is talking about .....
      wackoae
  • He should talk.....

    His own organization (newspaper) has hacked into phones and computers stealing information and publishing it. This fool has no business calling any other organization a piracy leader until he cleans up his own mess.
    linux for me
    • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

      @linux for me
      +1
      Jean-Pierre-
    • RE: He should talk.....

      @linux for me <br><br>+1,000 for me<br><br>Murdoch is the [b]last[/b] person on the planet that should spout off about 'legalities' when his [i]News of the World[/i] broke a sh!tload of laws.<br><br>I would appreciate the irony if the UK government demanded the extradition of Murdoch to stand trial for [b]expediting the blatant invasions of privacy of UK citizens, [u]all in the name of increased profits for his company[/u][/b]. While they are at it, it would be karma if the UK government decided to seize all of Murdoch's holding in the UK, as they are a part of a `criminal empire`.<br><br>Karma is a b!tch, isn't it.
      fatman65536
  • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

    Your not looking very hard if you can't see the connection between Google's profits (from ad revenue) and piracy. Point of fact, Google just agreed to pay out half a billion dollars in fines to the federal government to avoid prosecution from earning income off their ads on illegal pharmacy websites. Yes, there is a law against that so Google got caught with its pants down. So far, their making money off sites that offer stolen/pirated content is NOT illegal, hence the need for some action on the part of Congress. It's not hard to see, nor hard to figure out a solution.

    I will say this. This is probably the ONLY time in my life that I think Murdoch is right about something.
    KyleDickson
    • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

      @KyleDickson What are you trying to say Murdoch is morally right? No, no no. The man is beyond the pale regarding morals. The man is legally right? Very questionable, depends on your concept of common law, statute law and jurisprudence. What is wrong under common law, statute law, international law and jurisprudence, is the assumption by the US that they have the right to prosecute a citizen of a foreign sovereign state in US courts for an offence which is only an offence in the USA. Typical of the US, we decide, we are bigger than you. Total arrogance and stupidity. Keep pushing Congress, eventually countries will start to review their extradition treaties and start arresting and trying US citizens, then what are you going to do? go to war with the rest of the world. With some US politicians they would probably be that stupid.
      bobmattfran
  • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

    Well, you need to realize "the USA" is not the authority making the laws. It is just the puppet the corporations are using for their own profiteering.

    Consider just Monsanto's domination of agriculture and their policy on legally owning the products that were germinated when pollen blew across a roadway and germinated a smaller farm - with laws giving them the small farmer's produce grown that shows any genetic link to their genetically engineered seed. The FDA which suppresses cures for cancer ever since 1922. The pharmaceutical giants OWN the FDA - wink wink.

    And the same money controls the corporations - the big banks. You know - the Federal Reserve bank, BOA, Chase, etc. And gee! Who owns the banks? the Rothschild, the Getty's, the Morgans, etc. (Excuse me if I misspelled the names - they are the same people who own your banks and money).

    Only the truth people like Murdoch reveal will convince the sheep of the world the truth. people will get hurt along the way - but not a fraction of the people being hurt and used already.

    Unfortunately, if this is posted, I am also a target of the system. But worth it if enough people wake up!

    "Just because you are paranoid,. it doesn't mean people are not out to get you!"
    bubbasbear
  • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

    Removed - was a repeat
    bubbasbear
  • RE: What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?

    removed - was a repeat
    bubbasbear