NewsFlash: Google Reckless on Copyright

Perhaps smelling blood in the wake of recent setbacks rival Google has suffered regarding its infringing use of video and news headlines on YouTube and in Google News Belgium, Microsoft attorney Thomas Rubin is set to go on the attack today at the Association of American Publishers’ annual meeting in New York. During a keynote address, Rubin will accuse Google, which hosted its own flashy event for the book publishing industry just last month, of not playing by rules when it comes to trademarks and intellectual ownership.

Well duh. But it’s interesting to note how he goes into the advertising implications of Google’s track record of disregard for copyright laws.

The speech, which can be read verbatim here, accuses Google of preparing to run ads against book content it doesn’t own — despite the fact that Google has stated it won’t do any such thing.

While Google says that it doesn’t currently intend to place ads next to book search results, Google’s broader business model is straightforward — attract as many users as possible to its site by providing what it considers to be “free” content, then monetize that content by selling ads. I think Pat Schroeder put it best when she said Google has “a hell of a business model – they’re going to take everything you create, for free, and sell advertising around it.

Rubin will urge any publishers persuaded by Google’s promise to keep digital copies secure and only display snippets of copy for discovery and promotional purposes to gaze on the copyright landscape over at YouTube. And he’ll call out Google’s reported practice of assisting advertisers in building keyword packages for pirated music, movies and software. That story was reported last month by The Wall Street Journal.

Related reading