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Re: Google in Wall St. Journal

Quite happy with that, but for whom is it beneficial? The point about copyright and IP in general is that this type of right was invented and defined (and recognised in the US constitution) not primarily for the benefit of the inventors or artists, but primarily for the benefit of society and culture ("To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"). The justifcation for copyright, as the friends of copyright should recognise, is lost if it does not promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts. Where the limits to this property right are drawn is a matter of balance.

A dramatically changed and global technology will lead to the balance of rights and obligations shifting. The supporters of copyright should welcome and encourage this. Since computer systems can use and compute texts in new ways the concept of 'fair use' of literary copyrights is due for some development and loosening. Not for entrenchment and stasis.


On 12/5/06, Joseph Esposito <espositoj@gmail.com> wrote:

You use the phrase "not necessarily beneficial."  How does this
differ from "possibly beneficial"?  That's what the argument is
about, the difference between those two formulations.

Joe Esposito

On 12/4/06, adam hodgkin <adam.hodgkin@gmail.com> wrote:
This is a tricky issue.

As it happens, the Financial Times has an interesting article a
day earlier in which John Sulston (Nobel Prize winner and
far-sighted outright winner of the dispute as to whether Genome
information/data should be free or proprietary), points out the
seriousness of the poverty gap and the information imbalances
between the developed and the developing world.

(edited extract from Sulston's BP lecture at the British Museum)

Increasing open-ness and availability of information is essential
in many of the most serious issues which face us. Extending and
entrenching the rights of patent and copyright owners is not
necessarily beneficial or the best use of legislative powers. The
WSJ essayist's phrasing is somewhat tendentious, the question
that is in dispute, is whether or not Google IS pirating
copyright owners property (is it really so clear that Google is
*pirating* copyright material?). If it is, it will doubtless have
to withdraw and/or pay substantial fines. My guess is that they
are being quite careful about what they do....and broadening the
accepted uses of copyright material may be in everyone's
interests (especially the copyright holders and even the


On 12/2/06, Joseph J. Esposito <espositoj@gmail.com> wrote:
There is an essay in today's (Dec. 1) Wall Street Journal on Google and
copyright.  An excerpt:

"In coming months the courts will have to work toward an equitable
compensation system for intellectual-property owners whose works are being
pirated for the financial gain of third parties like Google. The Institute
for Policy Innovation estimates that each year the U.S. produces roughly $1
trillion of intellectual property -- 40% of the world total. It is our
primary export in the global marketplace.

"The U.S. government is rightly fixated on deterring piracy of U.S. patents
and copyrights in nations such as China and India -- a theft that costs
American firms tens of billions of dollars. If the U.S. government won't
fully protect these intellectual-property rights at home, it undermines the
case for protecting them abroad. Google ought to steer clear of this
expensive legal thicket by accelerating what it has already started to do:
Enter into revenue-sharing agreements with such content providers as Sony,
Reuters, and the Associated Press."

Note that sentence:  "It is our primary export in the global marketplace."

Joe Esposito