Tag Archives: Guardian

Viacom Wins Appeals Court Reversal Against Google

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Uh oh, looks like Google might be in a bit of a mess. Remember that epic legal battle between Viacom and YouTube a few years ago? Well, it’s being given new life.

Back in 2007 Viacom sued Google for knowingly allowing users to post copyrighted material on YouTube. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for over a billion dollars and the video-sharing site was founded in 2005. Viacom, along with other companies, believe that YouTube wasn’t doing enough to take down their content and sought over $1 billion from Google. However, Google always believed that it shouldn’t be held responsible for what its users do and the company says that it takes down copyrighted content when notified.

Viacom and Google fought over this issue for several years until June 2010 when a lower court ruled in favor of Google. The court agreed with Google’s argument that it shouldn’t be held responsible if its users infringe copyright. The court upheld an interpretation of the 1998 federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that protects companies from liability for what its users do online. It was seen as a big victory for Google at the time.

Fast-forward almost two years later and this issue is back to give Google some headaches. Viacom filled an appeal in October 2011 saying that the dismissal of their lawsuit was “fundamentally flawed”.  Today, a panel of judges at an appeals court agreed with Viacom and reversed the decision of the lower court saying that it’s quite obvious that YouTube knew about the copyrighted content being uploaded but did nothing to stop it.

Viacom is obviously thrilled by the reversal and released a statement:

“This balanced decision provides a thoughtful way to distinguish legitimate service providers from those that build their businesses on infringement. The court delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law. We are confident we will prevail when the merits of our case are heard”

This also opens the door for several other companies who have issues with Google’s video-sharing website. It includes several sport leagues, music publishers, artists, and news agencies. They are delighted by the appeals court decision and will seize their chance to protect their material.

Viacom seems to have a love-hate relationship with Google. Viacom has a reputation for being quite litigious and so it suing Google is to be expected – but the two of them have also been working with each other. Viacom now has YouTube channels set up and receives revenue from it. And just yesterday it was announced that a deal was made so that online users could rent Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom) movies from YouTube’s rental store.

Awkward….anyway, we’ll see what happens between these two as they get ready to rehash this old argument.

For more information:

The Guardian, “Judge reanimates Viacom’s $1bn copyright suit against YouTube” – click here

CBSNews, “Revived Viacom suit spells trouble for Google” – click here

The Register, “Viacom’s anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead” – click here

Reuters, “Viacom wins reversal in landmark YouTube case” – click here

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Embarrassing, Apple Is Responsible For The Vast Majority Of Google’s Mobile Revenue

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

There are new revelations about the health of Google’s mobile business and it looks like Google is in really bad shape. Thanks to documents submitted in the legal battle between Google and Oracle over patents, the public gets a new look at exactly how well Google’s Android is performing.

Google is secretive about letting the public know about how much revenue Android brings in – but now we know that Android actually doesn’t make much money for Google at all. Google’s overall 2011 revenues totaled about $40 billion and much of that is from ads from search results on desktop computers. Very little of Google’s overall revenues is from mobile.

According to The Guardian, Android generated less than $550 million between 2008 and 2011 – pitiful. Google produces the Android software which it then gives away for free to handset makers to sell. Google makes its money from ad revenue on the mobile devices and from applications on Google Play (formerly known as Android Market), which is doing extremely poorly compared to Apple’s App store.

Here is where it gets particularly interesting – Google actually makes more money from Apple’s mobile devices than it does from its own Android powered smartphones! Now isn’t that hilarious, ha-ha, especially considering the recent bad blood between Google and Apple.

Apple is responsible for generating more than four times as much revenue for Google! This is because at least half of all smartphone owners use an Apple device and Google is the default search engine. Apple also extensively used Google Maps – but as recently told Google to get lost and is now using a mixture of its own acquired mapping technology and free crowdsourced mapping.

Who knew that Apple had such a big role in Google’s mobile business?

Majority of Google’s mobile traffic can be credited to Apple. Google should be grateful to Apple for being so helpful, but Google treats Apple like crap. Google expressed its gratitude to Apple by trying to impose itself into Apple’s territory, which infuriated Apple.

What did Apple do as payback?

Apple no longer extensively uses Google Maps, Apple added other search engines as alternative options to Google’s, and Apple appears to be ditching Google altogether in China (a huge and attractive market). And we all know about how Apple set its Safari Web browser default to automatically block third-party tracking cookies  – however, it was exposed last month that Google illegally circumvented this security feature, but is now facing countless lawsuits from Apple users.

Psst…hey Google…don’t bite that hand that feeds you.

For more information:

The Guardian, “Google’s Android has generated just $550m since 2008, figures suggest” – click here

AppleInsider, “Google earns 80% of its mobile revenue from iOS, just 20% from Android” – click here

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Britain and Brazil Are Concerned About Google’s “Vague” Privacy Policy

Google is getting a lot more pressure from international privacy watchdogs. This time it’s coming from Britain and Brazil.

Britain’s deputy information commissioner, David Smith, made his first public comments against Google’s new privacy policy last week. His comments against Google’s more intrusive privacy policy was made a week after it took effect. He criticized Google at a conference in Westminster where he said that Google’s new privacy policy is “too vague”:

“The requirement under the UK Data Protection Act is for a company to tell people what it actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do at some unspecified point in future. Being vague does not help in giving users effective control about how their information is shared. It’s their information at the end of the day”

Other European regulators have recently said that Google’s privacy policy is misleading and fails to disclose the whole truth to its users. The EU data protection authorities are currently working on an investigation of Google and will have their results some time soon. Their preliminary finding was scathing and said that Google’s new privacy policy was difficult to understand “even for trained professionals”.

The European Union takes the privacy of its people very seriously. Their data protection laws from the 1990s are one of the toughest in the world and they recently announced that they plan to revise their laws to make it more stringent and uniform. There is a plan to introduce a “right to be forgotten” which will allow people to demand Internet companies remove personal data about them permanently. Of course, Google is extremely worried that more privacy protections for Europeans will harm their bottom line. The company has been lobbying European authorities for a while now, trying to block any chance of more protections for Europeans to pass.  David Smith said this about the right to be forgotten,

“Google can’t just say: I’m just a messenger, I have no responsibility at all for the messages I carry. Given their dominant role and their huge influence here they have a responsibility to ensure they operate in a fair and reasonable way. Where things are drawn to their attention and it can be established they are delivering content which is defamatory, where it is harmful to individuals and there is no public interest justification Google have a responsibility not to serve up that information”

It’s a good thing that European regulators are keeping a close watch on Google. Let’s hope that they support their harsh words for Google with real action against the company. Later this month, the French data protection authority, CNIL, will release their full report. Data protection authorities from all EU member nations will respect the findings and coordinate their actions against Google. It may include hefty fines and even criminal prosecution if Google doesn’t comply with their laws.

Alright, let’s move away from Europe and head on over to South America – Brazil to be exact. The Brazilian Justice Ministry wants some serious answers from Google and they want it very soon. Brazil doesn’t want to play games with the company and has said that if Google’s privacy policy breaks their laws they will sanction Google. Brazil said a full investigation of Google is imminent if Google doesn’t respond back with satisfactory answers justifying their new privacy policy. The ministry’s Department of Consumer Defense and Protection is particularly concerned about how understandable Google’s new privacy policy is and whether users are fully aware of the implications of using Google’s products.

Interesting – things could get a lot worse for Google and a lot better for the average Internet user. We’ll wait and see how things develop.

For more information:

The Register, “Google’s privacy policy: Incoherent and confusing” – click here

The Telegraph, “Google’s privacy policy branded ‘too vague’” – click here

The Guardian, “Google’s privacy policy ‘too vague‘” – click here

Reuters, “Brazil questions Google’s new privacy policy” – click here

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,