TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Last Laugh! Google and Reality Reset

Last Laugh! Google and Reality Reset
Wed, 2 Nov 2005 21:38:24 -0600

Back in the early 1980's, a frequent contributor to TELECOM Digest was
Lauren Weinstein; in fact his satirical piece dealing with the demise
of the Bell System is part of our archives and is brought out here to
the Digest every year or so, typically around January when the
anniversary of the Bell System divestiure is recalled. We do not hear
much from Lauren these days, but he has stayed quite busy as a look at
his web site reveals. He does a lot of
audio work on the net these days, with his 'Day Think' and 'Fact
Squad' features. A regular column he does is what caught my eye today,
however, which is called 'Reality Reset' and his latest column, from
October 23 is printed here, with his
permission. You may with to get on his mailing list (see details on
his various web pages) for his commentaries, both audio and written.

"Free for All: The Google Excuse"
October 23, 2005
Satire by
Lauren Weinstein

"Hey Lauren, it's Sal, how go things?"

"Oh, hi Sal. Nice of you to call. I probably shouldn't ask what you've
been up to lately."

"Now, Lauren, what kind of attitude is that to take? And me calling to
tell you about my latest great idea!" said Sal.

"That's what I was afraid of," I said.

"This one's a sure thing. I've figured out a way to get all of the
music and movies anyone could want, and all without paying for them. And
it's completely legal!"

"Yeah? How so?"

"I got the idea from Google's book project -- you know -- that Google
Print for Libraries thingie where they scan copies of all the copyrighted
books that they get for free through those library deals they made -- they
don't even have to pay the copyright owners one thin dime!"

"Haven't there already been a couple of lawsuits filed against Google
about that plan, from the author and publisher groups?"

"Never mind those. Listen -- I can use Google's logic to get free
copies of films, music -- anything I want! All I have to do is borrow the
CDs or DVDs, downloaded music or video or whatever, copy them, and then
offer some sort of 'fair use' excerpt index service, just like Google is
doing with the books. It's the perfect gimmick. Maybe I could runs ads with
them too -- that's where Google is really raking it in. Hell, if Google can
do this sort of thing with one kind of copyrighted work without paying, why
can't anyone else do it too, and why should it be restricted just to books?"

"Well I don't know. Isn't Google offering some sort of opt-out to the

"Oh yeah, sure, as long as the publishers specify each individual
title and abide by Google's deadlines and other demands. But don't you see
the beauty of this? Google is making all of the rules, and the copyright
holders are at their mercy! Those Google guys are geniuses!"

"How are you going to offer an excerpt index for music and movies?"

"Well, remember that this is really just an excuse to get the stuff
for free, but I figure like if someone searches for the word 'lemon' I'll
give them thirty seconds of lemon tunes -- 'but the fruit of the poor lemon
is impossible to ...'"

"I know the song, Sal."

"And for the movie lookups I can give them little video clips from
'Hard Day's Night' and 'Help!' and ..."

"That's John Lennon, not Lemon."

"Lennon? Are you sure?"

"Yeah, pretty sure."

"Hmm, I'll have to make a note of that, thanks."

"Look, Sal, don't you think that the record companies, movie studies,
RIAA, MPAA, and half the population here in L.A. is going to come after you
on this one? Is this really fair to the copyright holders, to make and keep
complete copies that way, when you haven't even paid for their works once or
asked their permission? Do you really think that what you're talking about
is fair use?"

"Google thinks that doing it with books is fair use! And like Wernher
von Braun said, 'Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department.'"

"That's from an old Tom Lehrer song, Sal."

"Really? I'll have to add his albums to my copy list ..."

"Sal, shouldn't you wait on this at least until you see how the
lawsuits against Google come out?"

"Naw. No way -- Google can't lose."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Are you kidding, Lauren? With that mass of data Google's got salted
away on everyone's search activities, what judge is going to dare cross
them? Do you really think that some stuffy old guy is going to risk having
his S&M site searches and browsing exposed? Man, compared to the goodies
that Google's probably got, the FBI files must be a drop in the bucket."

"Well, I must admit that you've got quite a concept there, Sal. It
could change the recording and motion picture industries forever," I said.

"Yeah, I figure the idea is worth a mint. I wonder if I can patent it
before I get ripped off," said Sal.

= = = = = =

Lauren Weinstein

For information about the author, please see:

"Reality Reset" Home Page and E-Mail Info

Copyright 2005 Vortex Technology. All Rights Reserved.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Adam Pasick: "Usenet Search Engine Preps Porn for Video iPod"
Go to Previous message: "Re: Remote Call Forwarding"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page