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.

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Companies: google, rosetta stone

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

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Anonymous Coward says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

bdhoro (profile) says:

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.

JFS (profile) says:

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 ( 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.

Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

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).

GregSJ (profile) says:

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).

AG Wright (profile) says:

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.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian says:

@ 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 – – not sure of the cost.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

Anonymous Coward says:

Compilation of resources till now.

Language Learning

  ? Online Language Learning:

    ∘ Government Initiatives:

      ‣ FSI-Language Courses
      ‣ STELLA

    ∘ Social Networks:


  ? Flash-Card:

    ∘ (open source, flash-card, spaced repetition, GPL v2)
    ∘ (open source, commercial, flash-card, spaced repetition, android, iPhone, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Blackberries, cellphones, mobile, GPL v3)

  ? TTS:

    ∘ (open source, Festival Speech Synthesis System, TTS, text to speech, X11 type licence)
    ∘ (commercial, TTS, text to speech, voice synthesis, Unit Selection with Limited Time-scale Modification (USLTM), proprietary license)

  ? Educational Games:

    ∘ Singing games:

      ‣ (open source, karaoke)
      ‣ or (open source, karaoke, education,

  ? Other resources:


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

Ecots says:

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 (…

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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