Rosetta Stone Says Google Is A 'Gateway For Criminals'; Urges Congress To Make Google Liable For Infringement Via COICA

from the translate-this dept

Rosetta Stone seems to be working overtime to make sure I never buy its software. It's actually too bad, since I was recently looking for some language training software (if anyone has recommendations on decent competitors, please let me know). Lately, the company has been on a tear trying to blame Google for the fact that some users are putting up AdWords on trademarked terms -- sometimes pointing to unauthorized versions of Rosetta Stone's software. Of course, like with nearly every other such lawsuit, Rosetta Stone lost badly in the district court, and the appeal is ongoing.

However, we noticed that Rosetta Stone was one of the companies that had signed a letter in support of COICA, and assumed it was just about trying to stop sites from offering unauthorized versions. However, it appears that Rosetta Stone actually would like the censorship law to go much further, specifically suggesting that COICA include making Google liable for any infringement found via the site.

The company's CEO even made this absolutely ridiculous statement:
"Think of Google as the gateway for criminals into America as it's currently configured,"
Google correctly responded that Rosetta Stone's "exaggeration doesn't belong in a serious conversation." Of course, it really makes me wonder what the folks at Rosetta Stone are doing and thinking. Promoting and supporting censorship and blaming third parties for infringement is no way to run a business.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    crade (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Well it is a gateway for criminals. It's a gateway for everyone. Much in the same way the water the city sends to homes is supplying water for criminals.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:42am

      Re: And more

      Yep, and to re-iterate:

      Most crimes in cities happens on concrete. Obviously this material is a draw for criminal activity. As such, concrete should be outlawed and removed from all major cities in the US--for the children.

       

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        Spaceboy (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re: And more

        Rosetta Stone is a gateway for criminals that want to learn another language.

         

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        crade (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re: And more

        nonono, no need to ban anything. Just make the concrete manufacturers responsible for ensuring that crime doesn't happen on their concrete.

         

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          Kevin (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 9:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: And more

          I like the way that you are thinking, but does the liability lie with the concrete company that mixed the concrete? Or does it belong with the contractor who poured the concrete?

           

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      Highways are gateways for criminals and drug dealers lets hold the contractors liable, better yet: destroy all highways since they are being used by drug dealers.

       

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    Anonymous a-hole, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:51am

    By that logic...

    ... Rosetta Stone is a gateway to terrorism because they have Arabic language as an option.

     

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    loof, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Fluenz is good for learning French.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Rosetta Stone: "Wahwahwahhhhhh!!!!! Our business model is flailing!"

    US Senate: "There, there, we'll fix it for you, just give us a billion dollars."

    Google: "Okay then, I'll go to China, rather than stay in this dictatorship."

     

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    kyle, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:56am

    tm infringement

    they do have half a point. ebay polices its auctions to find people who sell fake items.
    i dont really see a difference other than googles sheer volume of ads.

     

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      Spaceboy (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:59am

      Re: tm infringement

      Except that there is no ebay equivalent in google. No google marketplace. So no, they don't even have half a point.

       

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      Hephaestus (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:02pm

      Re: tm infringement

      e-bay should not have to police its auctions, the same way a land lord should not have to police the businesses it rents to.

       

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        crade (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re: tm infringement

        They don't "have" to. Ebay polices it's auctions as part of the service it provides customers for their money because that is what it's customers want.

         

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        realistic, Sep 10th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

        Re: Re: tm infringement

        You sir, are an idiot.
        As a landlord I AM responsible if my property is being used as a meth lab.
        And as shopper on ebay, who has been stung by crooks, ebay took full responsibility and refunded my money and shut down their store.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

      Re: tm infringement

      Ebay sort of polices it's auctions. They're not going to be able to get them all though, it's impossible as they don't have any direct way of knowing if a sale was authorized or is legit. They do it so they look good and are a trusted auction location by consumers (if it was overrun with fakes, it hurts their business so they do what they can).

      That is completely different from them being criminally liable if there is a fake/counterfit/etc item on their site. That is an unattainable position for them to comply with.

      Same with Google. As a 3rd party, they have no direct knowledge of any agreements, copyrights, licenses, etc that are applicable. Ad sales included. They can't investigate every single one of them to ensure they're legit. They can guess and probably be right most of the time, but due to the shear volume they can't be right all the time.

      Therefore, how can you impose criminal liability?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re: tm infringement

        Same with Google. As a 3rd party, they have no direct knowledge of any agreements, copyrights, licenses, etc that are applicable. Ad sales included. They can't investigate every single one of them to ensure they're legit.

        What would you say though if Rosetta Stone went to Google and said "only these sites or companies can purchase advertising for our product". Google would then have the knowledge and would be able to work a solution.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: tm infringement

          Rosetta are the rightsholders. As such it comes with the territory that they would have to do policing for infringement against them on their own.

          Would you suggest that companies constantly update Google or the internet in general that they are updating their policies or license agreements or acquisitions or partnerships or properties, etc.? Hardly efficient for anyone involved.

          They want to brandish their ownership, they can do the work.

          Quoth Superchicken: you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 10:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: tm infringement

          I would say that is anti-competitive behavior that impedes commerce.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: tm infringement

            IN what way? If Rosetta Stone only licensed it's brand and rights to certain companies, they should be able to say who can and cannot sell first run merchandise, no?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: tm infringement

              Simple, if I buy a thousand units of that product and try to sell it and I'm not in their list they are stopping me from making a profit or doing business, are you saying I need to ask permission to resell anything I legally bought?

               

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

      Re: tm infringement

      eBay polices it's auctions to find scammers, not infringers. This is a courtesy they provide to their users, not content owners. Google polices it's search results for scammers, not infringers.

      In both cases it is physically impossible for ether of them to police their sites for infringing items. If the content owners can't keep straight who is allowed to use their content and who isn't, how is a party that has no ties to the owners?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:17pm

      Re: tm infringement

      There is no comparison between a search engine and a commercial networking site. Even if there was, the fact that Ebay is required to police their users is absurd. If someone parks in a MacDonalds to sell a dime bag, should MacDonalds be held accountable for their actions?

       

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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Just got a powerful enemy

    COICA seems like it is all but certain. Proponents are vocal and the corporate opponents have been relatively subdued. (Corporate proponents and opponents are the only ones that actually matter in the US Congress, of course.) Perhaps this will help Google understand the need to oppose COICA vocally.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Just got a powerful enemy

      I tend to agree. This is poking a sleeping giant or ten if you throw in speech and constitutional advocates.

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:35pm

        Re: Re: Just got a powerful enemy

        I am hoping it will pass actually. The backlash will be lobbying from the tech sector which is serveral times the size of content, public, legal, and perhaps cause IP laws to be fixed. Public scrutiny is a great thing.

         

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    LAM, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Rosetta DRM

    I looked into Rosseta Stone once. Total joke. The DRM/License model is absurd.

     

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    bdhoro (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Not worth the money

    I have pirated copies of the software in every language available, and have used them to learn some languages at a beginner level. It using the software at first seemed amazing, a great tool for learning languages. But then as I began to look into using it for many different languages it became clear to me that they wrote the same exact program for each language, changing very little across languages.

    My point is just that the prices they charge for each language and each level is ridiculous when you consider the amount of work involved and the amount of piracy reflects that and little else.

     

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      identicon
      Ron, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 6:39pm

      Re: Not worth the money

      You a fucking idiot. It's ok for you to steal things because you think they charge more then they should. You are a loser and thief!

       

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        someone (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 6:59pm

        Re: Re: Not worth the money

        You a explicative idiot. It's ok for you to copy things because you think they charge more then they should. You are a loser and copier!

        Fixed that for you.

         

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    JFS (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    I don't know of any replacement for Rosetta Stone (and I would suggest more traditional means than software for language training), but as a linguist I do know that the software has been shown to be ineffective, with wrongheaded methodology and blatantly overstated claims. Also it is rumored that parts of one study (http://casl.umd.edu/node/541) had been blocked from publication by RS because it made them look bad. That is only a rumor though and I do know not the people who can confirm or deny this.

     

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    Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    For just introductory learning ...

    I highly recommend the Pimsleur language learning system. You're not going to get a very broad vocabulary from it (they average around 600 words, maybe more depending on the language), but I've found their lessons an enjoyable and useful experience.

    It's pricey (like most language programs as far as I can tell), but it is DRM free (unlike some others).

     

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      GregSJ (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:27pm

      Re: For just introductory learning ...

      I second using Pimsleur language learning system. I had tried Rosetta briefly in the past and didn't find it to be very engaging or help much with retention.

      Pimsleur on the other hand has been much more engaging and I have retained a high percentage without even really trying (you just have to keep pushing play).

       

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      Spyder, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:02pm

      Re: For just introductory learning ...

      I have also found Pimsleur to be an excellent way to learn a language

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 5:40pm

      Re: For just introductory learning ...

      Never tried it myself, but I have two friends who have both recommended Pimsleur to me. It's supposedly best with a textbook - it handles immersion well, but doesn't have as much breadth as a standard language course.

       

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    AG Wright (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Who has the best lobby RS or Google

    I have a feeling that if it comes to a contest between behind the scenes lobby power that Google can whip Rosetta Stone quite easily.
    Google is a service that millions of people depend upon, maybe billions.
    Rosetta Stone has a service that hundreds to thousands of people depend on.
    If Google feels threatened they can buy Rosetta, shut them down and not even notice the spare change.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Ya know what would be cool, type Rosetta stone into Google and get all it's competitors, then Rosetta stone.

     

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    Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    @ the Library!

    Check and see if your local library subscribes to an online language learning service you can access off-site with a valid card. You are already paying for services through your taxes, so use them.

    You could try Mango Languages which I have heard good things about - http://www.mangolanguages.com/ - not sure of the cost.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Used Pimsleur CDs. It's great for basic conversation. Takes a while to work through, but follow the program and it will stick for a while. Pimsleur isn't that hard to find on ebay for a decent price.

    Tried Rosetta Stone, but IMO it is useless for Japanese, for example, where the grammar is very different from English. I think Rosetta would be weak for anything where the grammar is more than a little different from one you know.

    If you want more than basic conversation, look at a true language course, either online or in person or self-teach supplemental material, much of which is available online.

     

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    CaptainCode - Josh (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Suggested course

    If you are looking for excellent competitors, take a look at www.spanishprograms.com if you are learning spanish, or www.learnalanguage.com if you want a different language. A decent portion of our customers are frustrated Rosetta Stone customers.

     

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    Jay (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Alternatives

    I find the Livemocha.com approach to work quite well. Other than say Busuu, there really aren't too many ways to learn a language other than constantly working at it with a native speaker.

     

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    Shawn, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    I wonder if RS is blaming Google for its poor fiscal performance? I read that RS is going to report losses around $10 million this year, wiping out all their profit from the year before. Sounds like they are looking to blame others rather than taking responsibility for their failed new and "improved" Total-e P.O.S.

     

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    Chief Elf, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Best Spanish language training is free.

    I have free use of RosettaStone via my employer, and it has it strengths, but I actually find this free web site better: http://www.spanishdict.com. SpanishDict only supports Spanish, but it does a great job!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    I would suggest a different approach.

    Download movies and songs in the language you want to learn, find english subtitles, and lyrics. Use all that to expose yourself to the language. Then get some e-books, preferably books you already read in english, and further your usage of the language.

    Cost: ZERO

    And you can have a lot of entertainment while learning.

    Oh, and it WORKS.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Free language courses

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    OK. Close all roads because they are get away routes for criminals!

     

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 1st, 2011 @ 3:46pm

      Re:

      And close all sports shops because they might sell things that might be used for running from a crime scene, too! YEAH! That'll show them dirty criminals!

       

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    Bleak Masterson, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Mango Languages

    Mango Languages is a good alternative to Rosetta Stone. It is wholly online, has more languages, etc.

    Also, many public libraries have a subscription to it, so if you have a library card it is free!

    http://www.mangolanguages.com/

     

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    OneEye, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 6:45pm

    by that logic #2

    ...most criminals in prison claim to be Christians,

    therefore;

    outlaw Christianity.

     

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    OneEye, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 6:46pm

    by that logic #2

    ...most criminals in prison claim to be Christians,

    therefore;

    outlaw Christianity.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 10:33pm

    Alternative suggestions.

    Live Mocha (Online learning social network)
    FSI-Language Courses (Online learning U.S. initiative)
    Festival Speech Synthesis System (TTS - Text To Speech, open source)
    Ivona(TTS, commercial. Very natural sound)
    Mnemosyne (flash-card learning tool, Spaced repetition software, open source)
    STELLA (Online Learning E.U. initiative)
    Performous (Singing game, open source. Since you need to get the pitch right it helps with the detonation of the words or something around those lines)

    Wikipedia: Language Learning Software
    Wikipedia: Language learning video games
    Wikipedia:Spaced repetition software

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Compilation of resources till now.

    Language Learning

       Online Language Learning:

        ∘ Government Initiatives:

          ‣ FSI-Language Courses
          ‣ http://fsi-language-courses.org/
          ‣ STELLA
          ‣ http://www.eulanguages.net/

        ∘ Social Networks:

          ‣ http://www.learnalanguage.com/
          ‣ http://www.livemocha.com/
          ‣ http://www.busuu.com/
          ‣ http://www.mangolanguages.com/

       Flash-Card:

        ∘ http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/ (open source, flash-card, spaced repetition, GPL v2)
        ∘ http://ankisrs.net/ (open source, commercial, flash-card, spaced repetition, android, iPhone, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Blackberries, cellphones, mobile, GPL v3)

       TTS:

        ∘ http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/ (open source, Festival Speech Synthesis System, TTS, text to speech, X11 type licence)
        ∘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Speech_Synthesis_System
        ∘ http://www.ghacks.net/2010/10/09/linux-text-to-speech-with-festival/
        ∘ ; http://www.ivona.com/ (commercial, TTS, text to speech, voice synthesis, Unit Selection with Limited Time-scale Modification (USLTM), proprietary license)

       Educational Games:

        ∘ Singing games:

          ‣ http://performous.org/ (open source, karaoke)
          ‣ http://www.canta-game.org/ or http://88.80.202.45/ (open source, karaoke, education, canta-game.org)

       Other resources:

        ∘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Language_learning_software
        ∘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Language_learning_video_games
        ∘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Spaced_repetition_software

    Powered by: Zim - A Desktop Wiki, Gedit and Referencer.

     

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    Justin, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:08am

    Maybe Rosetta Stone's comments were just a poorly translated from another language. That happens all the time.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:14am

    SCREW COICA and all those who voted it in.
    never be voting for their corupt parties again if this passes

     

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    identicon
    Christophe Pralong, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:23am

    alternative to Rosetta Stone

    The best language learning software is TELL ME MORE.
    www.tellmemore.com

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:31am

    OHHH NOOOOS

    dem nastey terroids arez gonna blow up .....a website LOL
    no wonder your country is fucked you allow retards to run it

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 7:33am

    @62

    yes yes yes
    your fucked doing business with the usa

     

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    GigglesJS, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:04pm

    Best Alt to Rosetta Stone

    check out Berlitz... www.berlitz.com

     

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    identicon
    Ecots, Mar 5th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Shame on Rosetta... And to top it off their approah simply does not work

    Like google says: this doesn't even belong on a conversation.

    The best out there for truly learning a second language as an English speaker is Fluenz (www.fluenz.com)...

    I have tried everything out there and nothing compares. These people truly care and have given some aerious thought as to how adults learn. They explaim things in english and focus on material that you can envision yourself using- asking for the check, directions, etc, none of : the boy is under the table which is what Rosetta teaches.

    And best of all they are not out there calling google a gateway for criminals...

     

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    identicon
    Brian, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:41am

    http://www.worldwordexchange.com is a good and cheaper alternative to Rosetta Stone, in my opinion

     

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    lrobbo (profile), Jun 8th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    byki dot com has free software I believe .. .

     

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