Wall Street Journal Editorial Apparently Clueless Over Copyright

from the let's-try-that-again,-shall-we dept

The Wall Street Journal has some really top notch reporters, but sometimes their editorials get a little out of whack. Tim Lee points out that a Wall Street Journal editorial about Google’s relationship to copyright law cites his excellent paper on problems caused by the DMCA. However, they appear to have only looked for a quote they could take out of context and trash, rather than bothering to read the whole paper or, actually taking the time to understand the issues at hand. The entire editorial mixes and matches different situations to try to make their point (that Google is ripping everyone off and deserves to be punished), but if you look at each specific situation, none of them stand up to any scrutiny. Tim Lee points out a few problems with them oddly confusing notice and takedown safe harbor with the ruling that Google can use thumbnails of images — two totally unrelated issues. The rest of the article trots out a bunch of weak arguments that we’ve discussed before, that can basically be summarized as jealousy that Google figured out how to make money by making others’ content more valuable. They all jump to the conclusion that it’s illegal to make any money by making it easy to find other’s info, but if that were true, phone book companies, map makers and travel guides would all be equally guilty. The article brushes aside why things like the DMCA provide safe harbor, and why it makes a lot of sense to not blame service providers for the actions of their users. However, it seems that all the editorial writer can see is that Google is making money… and therefore deserves to be sued.


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