UK Paper Insists Google Is Out To Destroy British Culture

from the troll-bait dept

Matthew A. Sawtell was the first of a whole bunch of you (seriously, stop submitting this!) to send in the hilariously myopic rant by Daily Mail editor Alex Brummer in which he claims that Google is out to destroy British culture. Brummer takes a criticism that has been levied by a few folks within the entertainment industry in the last few months — that the government of David Cameron has somehow been “suckered in” by Google because one of Cameron’s top advisors is married to someone who works at Google — and then layers onto it some hysterically clueless claims about Google’s desire to destroy culture.

This all comes in response, of course, to the UK review on copyright, which David Cameron announced with a nod towards Google, and how its execs pointed out the lack of fair use rules in the UK would have made it difficult for a company like Google to start in that country. The results of the review are expected relatively soon, and this article seems to be part of the media campaign to stop the government from actually implementing anything sensible. I mean, we’ve already seen the preposterous claim from UK publishers that fair use would stifle innovation.

In this piece, however, Brummer simply goes into paranoid fantasy land with a bunch of his claims against Google. I can’t even bother to go through them all because there’s not that much time in the day. But here are a few howlers.

The reason is very simple. The company wants to plunder intellectual property — songs by Adele and other British singers — so that it can disseminate it free to anyone who logs on to Google anywhere in the world.

That must be why Google’s current music search points everyone to places where they can buy the music. It also must explain why Google has been negotiating with the record labels for big licenses to allow for music streaming in a music locker system. It also must explain why Google has become a huge source of revenue for the record labels via YouTube and its content ID system.

The irony is that Google is alien to much that Britain holds dear. It has no respect for private property.

Our Englishman’s Castle has been turned into public property by Google Earth — which offers aerial views — and Street View, created when an army of Google cars travelled the length and breadth of the country taking pictures of our streets and our homes to put on the internet.

I certainly can’t speak for Google, but I’ve seen no indication whatsoever that it has no respect for private property. But taking photographs from public roads is not a violation of private property. And, I’m sorry, but it’s simply impossible to take the Daily Mail seriously on a claim that taking photos in public is a violation of private property, when it has front page stories that show a woman’s see-through top with a headline screaming about how you can see her breasts. Or this article, highlighting some rich young woman with photographs of her in a bikini while vacationing at a private hotel. I would suggest that those are a lot more about violating someone’s privacy than a photo of a castle.

So dominant has it become that it has helped to destroy great swathes of other media in its wake, from regional newspapers in Britain and the United States to business directory companies.

Say what now? Seriously, how has Google destroyed any newspaper? Brummer is simply making stuff up. Google drives traffic to newspapers. How has it destroyed a single newspaper?

In its determination to boost the Google model and to encourage other internet search sites to follow it, the Government seems to believe the internet should be free and open to everyone.

And that’s a bad thing how exactly? Don’t we want more people to have access to the open internet?

Google may have won over the hearts and minds of the Prime Minister and his aides, but all over the world it is increasingly recognised that the search engine is like a giant vacuum cleaner parasitically sucking up content from media companies, publishers, film makers and musicians without paying anything back into the creative process that produces such high cost entertainment.

Google doesn’t “suck up” any content. It points people to content on other sites. It’s a useful service. I would imagine that Brummer probably uses it quite frequently in his role as a journalist. Now, some of Google’s users may upload content to YouTube, but as already discussed, YouTube has been writing big checks to various media properties thanks to its ContentID system.

There’s a lot more like that in the article. I recognize that it’s pretty much pure troll bait on the part of Brummer and the Daily Mail, but it troubles me that so many people are setting up discussions about copyright as “internet companies” vs. “media companies.” It’s not about that at all. It’s about what’s best for innovation and progress as a whole. That means what’s best for everyone? Is it true that companies like Google are doing well by embracing openness on the internet? Yes. At the same time, it’s also true that traditional media companies have struggled due to their inability to embrace these new models and technologies. But that doesn’t mean that one side is “killing” the other. It just means that the old media companies need to adapt and get with the times. They can learn quite a bit from looking at why Google was successful. It wasn’t in trying to lock up everything and relying on government-granted monopolies. It was all about enabling more things to happen and putting in place business models to capitalize on that…

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Comments on “UK Paper Insists Google Is Out To Destroy British Culture”

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ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Plus it had the good old Daily Mail rant on immigrants coming to the UK and causing trouble*, since Google is a US company I think that counts. All it needs to be a complete Daily Mail article is a reference to Diana …

* They either complain that immigrants are:
(a) stealing jobs that would go to British people, or
(b) not taking jobs, and living off benefits
Their ability to complain about both typifies their hypocritical stance on nearly everything**

** Except Princess Diana, the princess of our hearts!!1!one!

John Doe says:

This guy can go back to stone tablets if he likes

I recently got a couple bids to have my house pressure washed. One guy did the old fashioned drive by to see the house in person before doing the estimate. The other guy got on Google street view, saw my house and gave me an estimate over the phone in just a couple minutes. I guess he doesn’t see any value in that sort of thing.

As a journalist, he is welcome to go back to stone tablets if he likes, but I will be keeping my laptop and smartphone.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Daily Mail

The funny part on the British news media is that, in the U.K. they have some of the more stringent laws available and the tabloids abound, they pop up like weed everywhere, is like those laws are magnets for such a extravagant behavior, in my personal view of course, that is the impression I got in my time in the U.K.

The good thing is that there will be no shortage of paper to wrap the traditional Chips&Fish that are so popular.

DannyB (profile) says:

OMG google card taking pictures of houses

I use my Android phone. Use Google Navigation. Get clear turn by turn directions, with spoken street names. Like one of the more high end but still old-fashioned stand alone GPS navigator devices.

Then it says . . .

Arriving at destination on right in 600 feet.

(and a picture of the house appears on the phone screen.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wow, confusing popularity and quality again? I notice you don’t try to defend the editorial, only pretend that circulation figures should lend them some kind of repute. Anyone who has actually read the damn thing knows otherwise.

Besides, The Sun has a higher circulation than either paper, having built its sales based largely on topless women, gossip and bingo games. That doesn’t mean we have to take their attempts at journalism seriously.

Anonymous Coward says:

The daily mail’s content is based almost entirely on two things:

1) Things that are ruining England (things in this category include: everything)

2) Things that either cause or cure cancer (this in this category include: everything)

They also dislike the internet because they assume their readership is made up of people who don’t understand the internet. So none of this is surprising.

Unfortunately though, I do agree with some of the other ACs. Most people on the internet dismiss the daily mail as a joke and being generally crap, but it’s still the 11th most read paper in the entire world, which is ridiculous. It’s more popular than any newspaper in the US, for example. Its website is also incredibly popular worldwide (moreso than the paper edition).

So like it or not, the daily mail is a force to be reckoned with. You can’t just ignore it because it’s dumb.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re:

based on the smattering of articles down the right side of the page id say that the daily fails conent is based almost entirely on sex, things involving sex or the results of sex.

and as weekly world news, the star and the national enquirer have proven over time… yes you can actually ignore it because its dumb. you can also take the option of either ignoring their readers or making fun of them because they are readers as several comedians have discovered.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, you can. And then the mail starts up some campaign or other and then there are groups of people signing petitions to get politicians to stop x because it’s destroying england. And then they become a force again.

It is dumb, it *should* be ignorable, but it isn’t. When one of the major newspapers in the world is reporting something blatantly stupid and/or wrong, you can’t just laugh it off and ignore it, because the millions of people who read it and don’t know any better *won’t* ignore it. They’ll treat it as valid news, as a fact, and it’ll affect their judgements in the future.

MrWilson says:

So it’s okay to have the police videotape you scratching your balls while you’re walking down the street, but it’s an invasion of privacy to post a still photo of what your house looked like three years ago?

It’s difficult to argue that Google Street View is a violation of British values until they remove all the CCTV cameras in London.

jim_G says:

With a little bit of interpretation it’s easy to understand what Alex Brummer is trying to say. No, Google has not destroyed any newspapers. However, the internet in general is certainly making it much more difficult for newspapers to compete with all the free information that’s available, and in his brain Google is part of the “internet-industrial complex” that’s taking over the world.

Call me Al says:

As others have posted above the Daily Mail is an enormously popular newspaper in the UK. This is an endless source of horror to me and many others as it is a hideous paper. Their headlines and articles are full of bile and vitriol and if you read it regularly you’ll come to think that the Apocalypse is upon us.

It is so bad (but also so predictible) that someone came up with a headline generator. It messes around with their hyperbole and paranoia.

Sam (profile) says:

The Daily Mail is good for a laugh, just as long as you don’t think about how many people take it seriously.

My favourite line of the article was this:
“Nine out of the first ten websites which pop up on Google?s search engine are run by pirates who have downloaded Adele?s output and offer it online far more cheaply than official copyrighted sites and High Street retailers.”
Out of curiosity, I searched for “adele” to see what would come up. Here are the top ten hits, in order:
1. Official website.
2. News results.
3. Video results.
4. Wikipedia page.
5. MySpace page.
6. Image results.
7. Facebook page.
8. page.
9. Some lyrics site’s page.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sadly, I can think of at least 3 of those pages (videos – assuming YouTube, images and lyrics) with which the idiots in the music industry would have a problem and would be happy to shut down.

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fail would be happy to try and shut down the news results, not to mention the social media sites (they’re one of those sources who try to blame Facebook for any crime with any tangential relationship to a user).

Pete Carroll (profile) says:

HMS Daily Waily sails into Pirates Bay

Twas a fine sight this weekend – Her Majesty’s Ship of the line The Daily Waily sailing into Pirates Bay- her sails billowing full with indignation. And not just Captain Brummer at the guns but Ensign Delves Broughton firing salvo after salvo:

“Why David Cameron must stand up to his friends at Google: The future of music, books and even the law could be threatened”

Read more:

Yep, not just Brummer’s article but 2 more of the same ilk from the Mail this weekend by Philip Delves Broughton. My favorite line “even the law threatened”.

Of course, USA readers should realise that this is all part of a Whitehall/Westminster bunfight going on in the UK. The Hargreaves IP Review (the “Google review”) was set up by one government department Business,Innovation, Skills (BIS – political boss Vince Cable – Liberal Democrat-falling star) but implementation of digital copyright aspects now seems to be with another department, Culture, Media, Sports (CMS- political boss Jeremy Hunt -Conservative-rising star). The “creative sector” were never happy about the “open rights bias” of the Hargreaves panel and now with the shift of power to Hunt are belatedly lobbying like mad via all channels against fair use in the UK. Thus HMS Daily Waily firing broadsides. A complicating factor is that Dynamic Dave, our beloved leader, having got the hots for Google and fair use and set up the Hargreaves Review cannot be seen to lose too much face when the review finally appears. It would all be a laugh if it wasn’t for the risk of collateral damage to copyright reforms badly needed by the educational and research sectors in the UK.

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