March 6, 2007 1:49 PM PST

Microsoft chastises Google on copyrights

Google's narrow view of the protections that copyright law offers creators has famously made enemies of book publishers, news organizations and professional photographers over the last few years.

Now Microsoft, which is increasingly competing with Google in business software and other areas, is piling on its rival as well.

Thomas Rubin, Microsoft's associate general counsel, told an audience of book publishers on Tuesday that Google "systematically violates copyright" law. Rubin singled out Google Book Search and YouTube for specific criticism, saying the services take a "cavalier approach to copyright."

The audience was an unusually receptive one: the Association of American Publishers, which filed a lawsuit against Google in October 2005 claiming that the search giant violated copyright law by scanning and distributing books protected under copyright law. A trial will not take place before next year.

Google's very business model invites clashes over copyright, of course. As the company becomes more deeply interested in books and video, and expands its search domain beyond Web pages, it has found itself increasingly at odds with established content industries. In addition, its keyword advertising has antagonized some trademark holders, and last month drew allegations of profiting from movie piracy.

So far, Google's intellectual property foes have been scattered throughout industries and without any prominent allies among technology companies. Their complaints about the limits of copyright law being stretched or exceeded have attracted more derision than applause in Silicon Valley. And Google has been winning far more of its legal battles over intellectual property than it has lost.

What Rubin's speech seemed designed to do was compile and air many of the complaints about Google and copyright law--a criticism that has some additional heft because Microsoft itself operates the MSN.com search engine and benefits from legal flexibility when capturing and indexing Web content.

"Google's chosen path would no doubt allow it to make more books searchable online more quickly and more cheaply than others, and in the short term this will benefit Google and its users," Rubin said. "But the question is, at what long-term cost? In my view, Google has chosen the wrong path for the longer term, because it systematically violates copyright and deprives authors and publishers of an important avenue for monetizing their works. In doing so, it undermines critical incentives to create."

Tom Rubin
Thomas Rubin

That kind of pointed attack may help to erect the scaffolding for a kind of anti-Google coalition. In addition to the book publishers and the Authors Guild, there's Agence France-Presse and its lawsuit over Google News, and Perfect 10 and its allegations over Google indexing its adult images. The American Society of Media Photographers, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the National Music Publishers Association have already filed friend-of-the-court briefs before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals--siding with the adult photo site and against Google. (Listen to CNET News.com's podcast discussing whether Congress will take aim at video-swapping sites.)

What's remarkable is that the RIAA and MPAA had taken those positions in mid-2006, months before Google acquired YouTube and the vast numbers of video clips of dubious legality that appear on the service. Since then, big media companies as varied as News Corp. and NBC Universal have taken swings at YouTube for not taking adequate steps to block pirated content. In February, Viacom demanded that YouTube remove pirated clips from properties including MTV, Comedy Central, and VH-1.

For its part, Google denies any wrongdoing. The company circulated a statement on Tuesday from David Drummond, its chief legal officer, that said: "The goal of search engines, and of products like Google Book Search and YouTube, is to help users find information from content producers of every size. We do this by complying with international copyright laws, and the result has been more exposure and in many cases more revenue for authors, publishers and producers of content."

This week's potshots at Google over copyright invites comparisons to Microsoft's criticism of free software six years ago, which led company co-founder Bill Gates to characterize the GPL (the GNU General Public License) as having a "Pac-Man-like nature" that consumes other software. Other Microsoft efforts called GPL-released software "viral," and the so-called Halloween documents warned that Linux poses a serious threat to Windows' hegemony.

See more CNET content tagged:
copyright law, intellectual property, Google Inc., RIAA, YouTube

27 comments

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Microsoft is so righteous
And they are right to point the finger because they are soooo moral in all their business dealings.

Yeah right!

Making the competition look bad doesn't make Microsoft look good. This is just a way for them to try and improve their dismal image. But it doesn't work for me.

Microsoft's motto is still "Do Evil".
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are so unbiased
I would say your motto is "Microsoft Is Evil Whatever They Do".
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
You are so unbiased
And you have the right to bash Microsoft because you are soooo unbiased in all your comments about this company. Of course. Bashing Microsoft for everything without even trying to see who's right doesn't make you right. Your comment is just a way for you to try and look cool and ease your frustration of depending on Microsoft whether you want it or not. But that doesn't work either for educated and unbiased people. Your motto is also still "Microsoft Is Evil No Matter What".
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
Introductions
Mr Pot meet Mr Kettle
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is funny
Sounds like a case of "if you can't beat them, b*tch and moan about them"

I guess it's hard for MS to accept the fact that outside of the desktop the playing field is level, and, IMO, their products just don't cut it.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
typical microsoft ... how about chastising MSN.com's search engine?
microsoft hasn't had a single innovative product since windows 95 ...

xbox - copied playstation
msn messenger - copied icq
msn search - copied google
internet explorer - copied netscape

on and on ...
Posted by alexkab (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
more...
Live copied Google
Windows Vista copied MAC OS

Copy then bundle with OS. That way you can take the market off the innovators.

MS should be fined till they are bankrupt.
But whatever happens Google will be (and is) the biggest Internet player because on the Web, people actually have a choice and most people choose Google.

On the PC consumers do not get much choice. It's Windows or Windows.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Don't Forget
Windows - copied Macintosh
Posted by georgiarat (254 comments )
Link Flag
Windows 95 wasn't original...
it was just better than the previous version; Windows 3.1.

With Windows 95, they just had a better OS that was a step
closer at mimicking the Mac. But in no way was Windows 95
even comparable to the Mac OS back then. When it was first
released it still needed work. (the irony is they are still copying
Apple's OS X with Vista)

Not to many people know this but Microsoft was one of the first
software developers ever to create programs for the Mac
platform.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtba2GkVOII" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtba2GkVOII</a>

These programs included Word &#38; Excel which both originated on
the MAC. And it was because of this Apple depended on them,
to sell more Macs. They ultimately used this dependency as a
bargaining chip in exchange for Apple OS technology from then
CEO of Apple, John Sculley. With no other option for him to
make, rather then to see Mac sales drop, he had to sign the
agreement. And the rest is history.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL4hyATkQ74" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL4hyATkQ74</a>

In hindsight, if Steve Jobs was there back then. I don't think
Microsoft would've had a hope and a prayer at gaining Apple
technology. Thats why Apple's so secretive these days.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upzKj-1HaKw" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upzKj-1HaKw</a>
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Link Flag
almost right....
I agree with everything you said except for the xbox comment. The xbox was one of Microsoft few innovative moments. Yes it was a console, and yes it came out after the PS2 but it was so different that you can't say that it's a copy.
Posted by Penguin Warlord (14 comments )
Link Flag
What?
You're right they copy lots of things, but nothing you've listed;
-there were many consoles before and after the playstation, and the Xbox architecture was vastly different than the playstation.
-again, there are a lot more message clients than icq or msn. Same principle, yes, but very different.
-Copy google? What? How?
-Netscape? How? They both seem like browsers to me.
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft chastises...That's like the pot calling the kettle black!
Let's see, first MS COPIED the Mac, then they went after (copied) WordPerfect, then Novell, then Borland, then Corel, then... How much software can MS BLATANTLY change and market under its own name? Sure I like and use MS Software, but they have no business whatsover chastising any computer comapany... Hell, they just recently copied Google's Google Earth and we now have MS Virtual Earth!

Give me a effin break MS! Oh, MS and their release of Vista has to be their weakest marketing effort to date!!!!!
Posted by jharris28 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Redmond retards strike again.
The only time microsoft care about a patent or a copyright is when they can buy them cheap and then beat everyone in the marketplace to death with them, restricting ideas, crushing competition, etc etc etc.

Hopefully Google will market their office apps a little more and then we can all look forward to Bill Gates as a bad fading memory.
Posted by nothingavailable (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I totally agree
The sooner the Web replaces Windows the better.
The era of Microsoft wasn't a good one for consumers.

Consumers will realise this in time, when most stuff is done through the Web. They will look back to the days of Microsoft OS and Office and think what a lot of money for so little benefit, not to mention the viruses.

At least Google innovates and their vision of online apps is the future.

Go Google.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
pot calling the kettle...
sounds just like the whining/finger pointing of the bamkrupt
republican party
Posted by svengalilleo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft, less usefull everyday.
Microsoft's copyright maximalist attitudes may end up hurting it with it's consumers. If caving to the content industry means making inferior products that consumers aren't really interested in or are more hassle then companies like Apple who are little more balanced will prevail.

I don't see a lot of people raving about how great the Zune's crippled WiFi is or how great it is that Vista denies you the ability to watch legally purchased HD content if it doesn't like your hardware. I also don't see people happy about the fact Microsoft broke comptability with their Play For Sure brand for the Zune, so people have to re-buy all there music or spend time burn and ripping. As far as the three day limit on songs, there is plenty of content who's license forbids wrapping it in DRM (Podcast under Creative Commons licenses for example). The only thing DRM does is annoy the people who were honest and bought the content. The people who pirated it don't have to deal with arbitrary restrictions that go far beyond what copyright requires.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You know what they say about moral indignation
it's just jealousy with a halo. It's not secret Microsoft envies Google's success in search and online advertising.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft systematically violates copyright
Got to laught that they are accusing google of the same thing. Microsoft is evil.
Posted by ozidigga (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"MicroSoft's chosen path would no doubt allow it to make more money ..."
"MicroSoft's chosen path would no doubt allow it to make more from content in the public domain more quickly than others, and in the short term this will benefit MicroSoft, but the question is, at what long-term cost?"

MicroSoft has chosen to make it dificult for users to legally use content in the public domain without repaying for the privilege again and again. In so it is depriving the public of what belongs to the public (and transfering public wealth into it's own and its partners deep pockets).

The first paragraph in this post is derived from MS's attorney's statement. I believe it is my fair use right to paraphrase his statement in this way. However if I am wrong, please erase the paragraph and replace it by a notice that copyright protected content was removed. Also please notify me about how I may obtain explicit permision for this derived work from the copyrighted content (presumably quoting it in a Cnet article means Cnet was able to obtain permision to quote) and how much it would cost me in payment to the copyright owner to purchase my right to free speech which obviously is becoming less important than the right of a copyright owner to prevent publishing of what is their's and what is not their's.
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But inside Google there aren't saints
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://danielemi.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!8C925022BC6009BC!2599.entry" target="_newWindow">http://danielemi.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!8C925022BC6009BC!2599.entry</a>
Posted by par7133 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft vs Google
Holy flying moose muffins. Isnt the pot calling the kettle black?????
Kripes....open WINDOWS media player....and what is at the top?....duhhhh......RIP CD!!!
hmmm...isnt that taking advantage of the recording industry?....MS has seen fit to tell me I can copy a cd with one click....yet...slaps google for letting people put clips on their site and letting people watch them...for free....hmmmm
I have a clip on YouTube...and I DONT WANT TO BE PAID!!....that keeps my amateur standing....

Sorry microsoft.....but maybe google has the money to shove your accusations up your...uh...err....biass...
Posted by ikswortso (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Reality vs Ignorance
Holy moly, how ignorant you are. Do you even know what you're talking about? Is putting RIP CD at the top of a media player taking advantage of the recording industry? No, it's giving you the right to copy your CD's to your personal use, as it's your right by law. So it's not MS who has seen fit to tell you you can copy a CD with one click, it's the government. And Microsoft doesn't slap Google for letting people put clips on their site and letting people watch them for free, it slaps Google for infringing copyright laws in its Google Book Search service. Maybe you don't wanna be paid for your crappy video, but something tells me Hollywood studios and TV channels want to be paid for theirs. Because they're not exactly amateur companies. Sorry dude... but maybe you should learn and research a little before you comment and humilliate yourself on the Internet making stupid guesses like Google having money than Microsoft if you don't wanna have to shove your ignorant accusations up your... bias.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
Why is this the 2nd article about the same?
The chastized Microsoft chastizes Google just doesn't cut it.

It's like the kettle calling the pot black!!!

What are the ulterior motives?

For Microsoft to hold onto it's 15-year dominance... that's it... nothing more... so why write two articles about the same crap.

Crap is crap is crap... least of all... it doesn't need to be reported TWICE!!!

That makes it double-crap!!! (* GRIN *)

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mansons Decry J Dahmer's Table Manners !
Sure, it would be interesting if mass murderers did condemn a cannibal's table manners, but it wouldn't be news.

MSFT search model is little different. They know their search products are pathetic, useless imitations of Google's so all that is left to them is to play legal angles.

Remember the MSFT rule. Never compete. Attack the competition by any means other than the marketplace. Establish a bottleneck MSFT's controls. Rake in the money.

In the case of Google, MSFT is having fantasies about leveraging the publishing industry against Google. While the publishers may be sympathetic, they know that whatever Google is doing to them is probably a European vacation compared to what MSFT has in mind for them.

Yes, like having Charles Manson suggest you and he take care of this Dahmer psycho before he eats you. . .
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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