Wait, So The RIAA Is Offended That Google Won't Do Work For Free?

from the i-thought-free-was-bad? dept

The RIAA and the IFPI have been going on and on for years about just how ridiculous it is for people to suggest music should be “free.” They will go on, at great length, to talk up the “value” of music and how it should be paid for. But, apparently, they don’t think that applies to anyone else. They’re apparently screaming angry at Google because Google (gasp) responded to their request to provide them tools to help them track down unauthorized copies, by quoting their standard prices for how much it costs to use Google’s API. So, RIAA, please explain: why is it sacrilege for you to demand people pay up, but it’s even worse if Google asks you to pay to use its resources?

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Companies: google, riaa

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Comments on “Wait, So The RIAA Is Offended That Google Won't Do Work For Free?”

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Benaiah (profile) says:

Re: Re:

To quote your article, “They’re apparently screaming angry at Google.” Where is your reference for this? How do you know beyond pure assumption that they are angry? Have they written a letter of complaint? Perhaps they are more then happy to pay for the service they have requested Google to provide.

I think that that the Author may now owe the RIAA an apology.

Shawn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

or even:
“What this means is that Google isn’t a big enough copyright headache to prevent some in the entertainment world from doing business with it.” What it actually means is that there is no way for the entertainment world to get a fair share of the profit Google makes from pirated material, or prevent them publishing pirated material. The Viacom case has shown that under current law Google can freely pirate material, make a profit from it, then just take it down if it is found. The entertainment industry is forced to work with Google, on Googles terms, to make any money of this. Unfortunately the results are obvious, less content and less quality. Thanks Google, for driving evertone to the lowest common denominator. Thereis nothing more pleasing that mountains of trash, as long as Google can funnel ads with it.

Qritiqal (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Less content and less quality???

There are more and better movies released EVERY YEAR.
There is more and better music released EVERY YEAR.

We’re currently in entertainment Nirvana. I could quit my job and just listen to music, watch TV or movies, or read books all day long for the rest of my life and I would never run out of enjoyable media.

Just because some parts of the entertainment industry had a free ride for a few years (remember when musicians actually had to PERFORM LIVE to make a living?) doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be (or should HAVE been).

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What it actually means is that there is no way for the entertainment world to get a fair share of the profit Google makes from pirated material, or prevent them publishing pirated material.

Because Google doesn’t publish copyrighted material, or make profits from it.

What Google did was to have a good idea and find a way to make money from it,

This is just envy politics.

There was absolutely NOTHING to stop those huge entertainment companies from doing what Google has done – apart from their own stupidity.

They could have had that revenue and they passed on the opportunity.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What it actually means is that there is no way for the entertainment world to get a fair share of the profit Google makes from pirated material,

Or for Google to know which of its many, many AdSense customers are involved with “pirated” material.

Here’s a hint: If you watch the video at the bottom of the CNET article, all of the sites with advertising are not the ones actually offering the infringing content.

Google can freely pirate material, make a profit from it, then just take it down if it is found.

Google doesn’t offer any third-party content themselves, so it isn’t possible for them to “pirate” anything. Where it does provide content, it does so only as a third party. That is, its users are offering content, with Google acting as a provider – the same way that phone sex lines used Ma Bell as a provider.

Holding Google is responsible for piracy, is like holding Verizon responsible for sexting.

The only websites Google publishes are through Blogger. And Google recently took down a whole slew of music blogs, without notice, for hosting “infringing” content – despite the fact that most of the content was provided by the labels themselves.

The other area of contention is YouTube. But they not only will take down videos without an actual DMCA notice, they have their “ContentID” system that will digitally analyze any media hosted by them, and delete it if it is found to match copyrighted material (if that’s what the copyright owner desires).

If anything, Google is being too “helpful” to the music industry.

Of course, neither of these are what is being talked about here. The article seems to think Google should track which of the billions of websites out there are “pirate websites,” and block ads to them. Never mind that all the “file locker” websites mentioned in the video are perfectly legal, and are themselves third parties (who don’t provide content, but only host it for users). So, this is essentially “fourth party liability.”

And, furthermore, the music industry thinks that Google should do this for free. From the original article:

A music industry source estimated that such charges could add up to several million dollars a year.

So: the music industry is asking Google to spend several million dollars per year, to fight a problem it’s not responsible for, and doesn’t directly benefit from.

How can this not be seen as insane?

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: @3

Meh, I still like my idea for a political cartoon… I’d draw it if I had a lick of tallent:

An appropriately-lowbrow caveman standing over a comically-dead and beaten horse trying to defend it with a club and keep representations of the future away from his meal.

Any cartoonists reading this… take it! just send me a copy for my fridge!

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:


It’s simple, really. If you can’t make money in the business you are in, change businesses.

If the RIAA is going to bitch and moan about how much money Google is “making” from “pirated goods”, they should start a search engine/Ad service and wait for all that money to start flowing in.

Unless, of course, they’re really making money hand over fist right now and are just greed personified– then, yeah, they should keep doing what they’re doing: Lying through their collective teeth and buying the laws they need to patch up their broken business model.

deadzone (profile) says:

It’s simple really. You pay money for a service that you want. It’s not like Google will do it for free because I am sure there are very real costs involved in doing that type of thing.

For a group so determined to make sure they are paid for everything, they sure don’t seem to care about paying others as much. Not too surprising I guess when you consider who we are talking about.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm still waiting for the *free* lawyer service that's not court-appointed

Google’s top engineers probably realize that anyone can engineer a car that can drive over a cliff. But the people who walk the halls at Google realize that they are the top in their field. With Google’s Patented “10% time”, they research ways to reduce overhead rather than increase it.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

This sentence doesn' make much sense ...

” RIAA, please explain: why is it sacrilege for you to demand people pay up, but it’s even worse if Google asks you to pay to use its resources?”

Wouldn’t it be “sacrilege” for google to demand payment not… shouldn’t it read something like this …

RIAA, please explain: why is it sacrilege for you to be asked to pay for Googles services, but not when you demand people pay up?

out_of_the_blue says:

Is Google is paying to run ads on these pirate sites?

Reading the article muddies up the picture you present. IF Google is actually funding these sites, then a bit of outrage is reasonable — Google is thereby making a profit off infringement (presumably: I still question the whole of advertising and Google’s sources of income in particular).

I didn’t notice any screaming specifically directed at the standard charges.

Idiot Buster says:

Waste of Resources...

This reminds me of the people who were interviewed right after Obama got elected telling the camera they were going to get some “Free Obama Money”… they had no idea where it came from or even how to get it… but they wanted it…

Then, when the healthcare bill was passed, people lined up to get their free healthcare.

I see the same cluelessness in the non-technical people in the article.

Google supplies ads to webmasters. I’m sure in their terms, there is something about illegal sites, etc. The webmasters hosting infringing content (not just links to content that are already out there), then the webmasters are guilty of violating the ToS for the ads and should be removed once it’s brought to the ad suppliers.

As far as LINKING to infringing content… that’s just ridiculous to call that a pirate site. It’s like YOU pointing to the monkey in a bank vault and saying “Look, there’s a lot of money there” and someone goes and robs then bank and the police arrest YOU.

You didn’t ROB the bank… you just POINTED to the money…

Same thing really.

Only even MORE ridiculous, since no one actually ROBBED the bank… they just took a picture of the money in the bank. The bank still has the money.

Greevar (profile) says:

The best commenter

“This is ridiculous. Google indexes the internet. Let’s find that Dewey guy and try to squeeze some money from him and his damn decimal system… I think I saw someone looking up a book at the library and then photocopying a few pages. They never would have photocopied that copyrighted book if it weren’t for that gosh darn evil Dewey Decimal system making it so easy to locate that book.” – thelemurking

Great comment!

Zangetsu (profile) says:

Just Google

You know it is only a publicity stunt when they start attacking only Google. Google is not the only search engine, but it is the biggest brand in the search engine market. If we assume that CNET is correct then we should also be adding Bing and Yahoo into the mix.

Has the RIAA/MPAA approached them?

Have Bing/Yahoo offered to do things for free for them?

I would have to say that the answer is “no”, otherwise the RIAA/MPAA would have loudly trumpeted their successful negotiations with them when talking about Google. This is a publicity stunt, nothing else.

Gracey (user link) says:

Soooo, the RIAA can’t just use a regular google like search like the rest of the world? That’s free, and there’s not much you can’t find using it. Ya gotta wonder.

Site search carries a charge with it for all businesses, why should they be any different?

Or maybe they should hire a coder to create their own search engine…really, there’s people who actually do this kind of stuff.

And I really think they don’t know much about the advertising program – lots of those sites don’t actually collect their earnings (meaning, neither does google).

hmmmm, maybe they could resurrect the defunct Miss Dewey and put her to work for free…


Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: why not? Google expects the artists to work for free?

Google doesn’t compensate the creators when it sells ads next to their work. You would think they would at least help out.

Let’s say this ad hom were true (it’s not, every artist’s site gets paid for activity on the ads it hosts). How would this be relevant to RIAA’s begging? The RIAA are not artists, they are a trade group protecting the ‘holdings’ of a middle-man industry which is rapidly being outmoded by technology. Big difference.

Artists no longer need a middle man. That’s what the protectionists (mercantilists) are really in an uproar about. Independents actually have a chance at standing on their own again.

Mike D says:

RIAA is done.

RIAA is finished. They lost control over music and their censorship of new artists (like the gov’t in that respect). After all, censorship is everywhere. The gov’t (and their big business cronies) censor free speech, shut down dissent and ban the book “America Deceived II”. Free speech for all.
Last link (before Google Books bans it also]:
America Deceived II (book)

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Interesting point of view

from the article Mike links to…

“From my point of view, Google fences stolen goods,” said Ellen Seidler, an independent filmmaker, who last month told CNET that piracy cost her money when her small-budget film, “And Then Came Lola,” was distributed illegally online. “These [pirate] sites…want to drive traffic to their site and they do it by pirating films. They are paid for the ads on their site by Google and others. What we need to do is force Google to be more vigilant in preventing filmmakers from getting ripped off.”


“Google makes money on the advertising from these pirate sites,” said Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America. “Now they want to make money helping creators find out how to take the stuff down…Everybody keeps talking about making the Internet free and open. How about we get a fair and just Internet?”

Apparently, there are artists out there and other ‘guildsmen’ who believe that Google (et al) are actually responsible for policing the internet. I think it’s another great illustration on how an industry, instead of adapting to a changing world, is demanding that the world be made to suit their business model.

They seem to be trying to make it a law to enforce a perceived morality just because you’re in the position to do so. This makes the system move from a malfeasance (or misfeasance if you like) being punishable by law, to a system where NONfeasance is punishable. I find this very very interesting… and a little scary.

Would it be good if Google decided to say “you know, we’re here so we’re going to do this…”? Sure, why not. Should that be enforceable by law? I really hope not.

Now, if what Rick says about Google making money off of piracy is true, then yes, that could be a misfeasance and should be stopped. Making money off of other’s illegal actions is just as wrong (in my opinion, at least). But what is his opinion of “fair and just”, and why is his definition any better than anyone elses? I think in another 50 or 100 years, ethics classes are going to have some interesting talks about the history and origin of Internet Ethics.

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