Google Is To Pink Slime As Apples Are To Airplanes

from the they're-nothing-alike dept

Copyright maximalist operation “The Copyright Alliance,” purveyors of ridiculous copyright propaganda, has really topped itself with a recent blog post. It is trying to compare Google to “pink slime.” You know pink slime — the stuff that got all sorts of attention a few months ago as being a somewhat disgusting looking output of excess beef products all mashed up together and then reused in other foodstuffs. What does one have to do with the other? Well, according to the absolute geniuses at The Copyright Alliance:

Among the reasons I believe companies like Google are so hostile not only to copyright but to other regulations, is that their revenue and aspirations are anathema to distinguishing value (prime meat) from muck (MSM). To the contrary, their business models are literally based on grinding up all content into a homogenous slurry in order to turn billions of clicks into billions of dollars. To companies like Google, torrent sites, and many aggregators, everything goes into the big, digital grinder — a John Irving novel, some bits of junk journalism, a few stupid cat videos, Lawrence of Arabia, several thousand mail-order brides, a hard-news report from Central Africa, trafficked children, an episode of Downton Abbey, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, The White Album, years of scientific research, and of course several jiggling pounds of college chicks shaking their booties at webcams. It’s all just ones and zeroes, right? It’s digital pink slime.

I’ve now read this paragraph a dozen times. And my only conclusion is the person who wrote it has never used Google or, perhaps, any search engine. Because it gets the story exactly, 100%, completely backwards. It’s not reality. It’s the opposite of reality. Up is down, black is white, day is night kind of backwards.

The whole point of any search engine is to distinguish the value from the muck. The reason Google became such a huge phenomenon when it first came out (long after people had declared the search engine wars “dead”) was that Google did a much better job finding what you wanted. How does it do that? By properly finding the value and surfacing it at the top while pushing down the muck. A search engine that doesn’t distinguish the value from the muck is no search engine at all. It’s a random website generator.

Search engines care deeply about finding the best value. Hell, just a week or so ago, Google explained how it had made 39 changes to its search in May alone, with the goal of helping people better find value out of muck. There may be all sorts of reasons to dislike or distrust Google. The company is very big, and has lots of info on you, which raises plenty of privacy concerns. But to claim that it wants to homogenize all content and that it’s against their best interest to distinguish value from muck makes zero sense. If it were true, we’d immediately see tons of other search engines and do the exact opposite: provide more value and take over the market (just like Google did a decade ago).

I’m all for discussions about copyright issues, but can we at least keep them in the realm of reality, rather than fantasyland?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: copyright alliance, google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Google Is To Pink Slime As Apples Are To Airplanes”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
PaulT (profile) says:

Yay, in before bob and his conspiracies! Anyway;

“To companies like Google, torrent sites, and many aggregators, everything goes into the big, digital grinder”

Well, no shit. If I’m looking for new reports, I don’t want cat videos. If I’m looking for cat videos, I don’t want scientific research reports. If I’m looking for scientific research, I don’t want naked college chicks (well, maybe!). Everything goes into that “grinder” so that it can be separated out into relevant results. How else is Google meant to suggest relevant sites if it doesn’t?

To use the silly grinder analogy, what this person seems to be suggesting is that we could have a better cup of coffee if only Google would stop grinding the beans and we used whole ones instead. How silly can you get?

Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: Re:

He really hasn’t got a clue. #facepalm at his understanding.

If, also I where “to use the silly grinder analogy” , I would say….
The internet is like a trillion types of ground coffee mixed together.
Google is the coffee filter. If you use the filter right, you can filter out all the unwanted flavours and be left with one, if you use the filter smartly, you can even filter out everything except the actual grain you want.

BUT…. Are they really that stupid !
Is this attempt a blatant Lie or truly, are they too thick to use Google ?
No… does not matter.
The Copyright Alliance have been awarded ZERO internet points.
wtf….I think I just saw them throwing their own feces.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think it’s that they’re too thick to use Google, I think they just assume that Google==Internet.

They want to use the internet, so they open their web browser. There is Google, asking what they want. They’re too stupid to understand what Google is, and what it does.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Simple Solution to this, Institute a new group policy on all senate / house computers to reset the default homepage of IE to & reset their default search engine to That way they will have to search for google using someone else’s search engine. (because lets me honest they dont know what the address bar is.)

Now M$ is “Teh Interwebs” and everyone will go after Macro$uck

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Having read the post and a couple of the other posts, all I can figure is that they think the public is stupid and unmindful of what they are being provided. i.e. Whatever Google provides is what the public will consume.

That is profoundly insulting to the public at large. While I am not a fan of humanity at large, I do think most people do understand what they are searching for. i.e. If they are searching for cat videos, being offered stupid human tricks will be ignored by most in favor of more cat videos.

In another woefully wrong post, the author states that having all information at your finger tips from the web is a waste for most people. They will spend too much time on Facebook and forget to shower was one example. Really?? Does he really think that the general public cannot recognize it’s time to sleep, shower, etc??

I must conclude that the author of these blog postings think 99% of the public are stupid sheep that will slurp up whatever is fed to them. No wonder they see no need to change anything, much less copyright.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

They almost had me

Their argument seemed entirely convincing until they said:

a few stupid cat videos

Now I can never trust them again. What a sad day.

Oh wait, I never trusted anything they said to begin with.
On the other hand they also said:

and of course several jiggling pounds of college chicks shaking their booties at webcams

Sounds like they are finally spending some time on the internet!!!! Welcome to the interwebs “The Copyright Alliance”! From the sound of that last bit there you are going to enjoy it just as much as the rest of us. =D

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: They almost had me

Yeah, reading the piece, it essentially said, “Don’t go to Google! It has all the stuff you know you want like college chicks shaking their ass and funny cat videos, AND it has all the stuff you might want but didn’t know it because before search engines and the interwebz there wasn’t an easy place to find it! So…avoid…at…all…costs….holy shit, is that girl shooting ping pong balls out of her va-jay-jay!?!?!”

It’s the interesting pedestal a good search engine sits on where it’s detractor’s arguments for their evil are also the search engine’s best advertisements….

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s slightly re-phrase most of what Techdirt has been saying for quite a while…

“Value” is an interesting term here. What the consumer wants (what the consumer assigns value to) is not always what the media companies want it to be (what is valuable according to the RIAA/MPAA/Copyright Alliance). The copyright battle we’ve been seeing is a failure to agree to complete a transaction; what the media companies want to sell is not the product the consumers want to buy.

Back to the article. Google doesn’t magically direct customers to the product you want to sell. It directs people to the product they want. It was never intended to correct people’s wants.

Anonymous Coward says:

those that matter power-wise are the ones that count and they are the ones that will believe this shit. i think it’s such a shame that there are no such shit claims made that are in the opposite. perhaps then, those same powers that be, might listen to the people.
i also have to wonder what sort of label is attached to what the entertainment and content industries do to the people of the world? is it right that everyone is branded a criminal over ones and zeros? is it right that everyone is now guilty unless able to afford and prove innocence? is it right that people should be jailed for sharing something with a friend or re-formatting a song? is it wrong to not be able to resell a previously owned item? what label is given to all this shit? ‘c’est la vie’?

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Man, my head is hurting from slamming against a digital wall and desk from the amount of stupidity. If it weren’t that that it’s making me lose brain cells (or hitting said objects in real life), it’s reading their explanation. It just makes you stupid reading how these people don’t know anything about the Internet! Granted I don’t have that much knowledge but at least I have the basics and I am learning some new stuff everyday. If these people do take the time out to actually research (shock!) the people using the Internet and the sites these people are using instead of relying on just one source of information, then we wouldn’t have these stupid comments in the first place!

But sadly it will never happen and the cycle will continue no matter how hard we try to knock some intelligence into these people. Until that day comes, I will search the Internet for the things they proclaimed and see if I can find some cat videos that aren’t stupid.

JackHerer (profile) says:

Different interests

I think what the Copyright Alliance is getting confused between Google providing the user with results the user is looking for and Google providing the user with the results that a bunch of third parties would prefer. Google is in the business of serving up relevant results to users and that is exactly what it does. Providing results on keywords as determined by third parties is called advertising and if that is what the Copyright Alliance and it’s members want then they can just buy Google adwords like everyone else.

TasMot (profile) says:

The TCA = High School Bullys

What the TCA is really saying is that “THEY” want most of that content NOT found. How can they control “it” if anybody can find it. As some of the other commenters have mentioned, some people just love cat videos. Some people like to find out more about pink slime and how to avoid it (like anybody without a financial gain from it), BUT, if a search engine is available, you don’t need TCA to point you in the right direction (for a fee). You don’t need to buy a newspaper every day just to keep up on the pink slime controversy. Just “Google it” on the days that there is time to read up on it. Who is creating the next neat YouTube video. For a fee, TCA members want to be able to tell you about it.

If one day, say yesterday, I became interested in micro-hydroelectric power generation, I could research it with Google. I didn’t have to go out of my way to go somewhere else (where would I go to find information on that – oh year, the library, which they also don’t like), only to decide that it was too much trouble and not do anything about it. Without organizations like TCA to control and charge for information, their cozy jobs of collecting money and giving “some” of it to the rights holders (if they could ever be found) would go away.

At this point in time, you can see their true colors, just like a bully in school, they are not getting their way, so they bring out the name calling. Can you just hear the the jeer in their voice “Google, you are nothing but slime”.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

That took a while

The blog post is written by David Newhoff who has been mentioned on TechDirt before.

I had to reread his comment a few times before finding the flaw in his logic. His premise is that:

“(Search engines)…their business models are literally based on grinding up all content into a homogenous slurry in order to turn billions of clicks into billions of dollars.”

So it would appear that he believes that search engines are responsible for populating the internet with content. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t make his argument much less crazy than it is.

He doesn’t seem to understand that the search engines are what allow you to find what you are looking for in the pool of pink slime. His lack of understanding is best illustrated when he says:

“The paradigm Google wants to foster is one that asserts that the booty-shakin? college girl video has the same intrinsic value as the Emmy Award-winning TV show and that the value of either will only be determined by the number of hits each receives in cyberspace.”

If I search for a specific Emmy Award-winning TV show and I get a booty-shaking’ college girl high in the result as well, then yes that would imply that they have the same intrinsic value.

As much as I personally would like this to happen, it never does.

Search engines assert that the result that best matches the query has the highest value, which is how search is supposed to work.

According to David Newhoff’s version of search, when I type in booty-shaking college girl, I should get some sort of high value artistic result from the search engine instead of what I actually asked for. If it worked like that then I guess it Google would be creating pink slime.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re: That took a while

The paradigm Google wants to foster is one that asserts that the booty-shakin? college girl video has the same intrinsic value as the Emmy Award-winning TV show and that the value of either will only be determined by the number of hits each receives in cyberspace.

And yet somehow, I would watch the booty-shaking college girl as opposed to the Emmy Award show. It all depends on what the show is and what it is about. If it matches my likes, then I will watch it. Otherwise, the guy’s spouting nonsense. But we could dream we could get an Emmy-winning booty shaker, can we?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: That took a while

“The paradigm Google wants to foster is one that asserts that the booty-shakin? college girl video has the same intrinsic value as the Emmy Award-winning TV show and that the value of either will only be determined by the number of hits each receives in cyberspace.”

This jumped out at me, too. He’s wrong, of course. The booty-chakin’ college girl video has a much higher intrinsic value than the average Emmy Award-winning TV show.


Re: ...and now for something completely different.

It’s worse than that.

The Internet allows individuals to choose Fark, or Slashdot, or LOLCats, or even Techdirt over paid-for-content.

It’s not just that piracy is displacing paid media consumption. Random highly individualized forms of distraction are displacing media consumption entirely.

Lord Binky says:

Google sorts for what you typed in, if you typed in all that crap, well…that’s your business, Google’s business is giving the most useful results to your input. So WHY?! is he bitching about HIS search history? I’m really concerned about a few of them. Why is he searching for trifficked children and several thousand mail-order brides on the internet, presumably at work?

Anonymous Coward says:


I miss the days where sometimes Google WAS a pink slurry mess of results.

For example, if I am looking to purchase something, I wish I could put it in “Purchase” mode. (aka recent Google)

If I am looking for specific info for research, put it in research mode.

If I just want to find “off the beaten path” stuff, I can put it in Google 1998 mode (actually, would prefer to put it in Altavista mode circa 1996….but you get what I mean.)

Eponymous Coward says:

The operative word in all this: Relevance. Google cares about what is relevant to their end user and wants to get as close to it as possible. Meanwhile the legacy media companies only care about what’s relevant to them, their bottom line, and pushes what they want on their end user regardless if it’s what they want or not.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

I can understand where people come away with the idea that Newhoff and others haven’t the faintest idea what Google does and how it does it. It certainly reads that way.

It’s not so much that he doesn’t, I hope, but he has another point to make about what he sees as competing utopias with his being the correct one.

This is where I think the schism between technologists and creators becomes ideological and sociological. The serious artist is offended to have his work ground into mouse fodder, valued identically with the garbage; and the consumer should be offended, too. The paradigm Google wants to foster is one that asserts that the booty-shakin? college girl video has the same intrinsic value as the Emmy Award-winning TV show and that the value of either will only be determined by the number of hits each receives in cyberspace.

Now that certain Emmy award winners do have the cultural impact of MSM isn’t important to his argument either though he could have tried to come up with a parallel. Emmys, even more than Oscars, award shows with the largest audience for the major awards and quality, such as it is, is reserved for the lesser awards. In short the number of hits in “the real world”. There are worse ways of doing things nor does it mean that the general populace is arts ignorant it reflects that evening television and audiences for most movies is looking for entertainment after a long day. They want to escape, thank you, and if the Emmy winner does that then it ought to be rewarded. To that extent its done what it needs to do. PBS sneaking the odd “I, Claudius” into the mix doesn’t hurt either.

The reality is that should I query a drug I was recently prescibed, Epival, I wouldn’t expect to see a result for Newhoff’s short “Gone Elvis” nor do I. The most relevant items are returned long before college girls shaking booty. I don’t see that using the search term “Gone Elvis” either. In fact David Newhoff’s short is the first item returned. No MSM that I can see there.

If there is one related to the search term its too, too many pages into the results for me to bother looking for it.

As a Canadian army veteran I’d be offended to see the two linked terms linked on the first page or two of the returns but it doesn’t.

One point about Newhoff’s utopia’s is his dismissal of programmers and tech types as creative or creators. There has been a lot of creativity put into programs such as Photoshop, video editors, operating systems and the desktops they display.

In fact Newhoff’s definition of artists worked with the creators of picture and video editors very closely to get what we have today.

Equally the tech industry relies on copyright as much or, or more, than artists do even for “simple” things such as enforcing licensing terms. Even open source software is covered by copyright for exactly that purpose. I’d suggest Newhoff wade through the GPL license, for example.

Techies are every bit as creative as sculptors, writers, painters, photographers and others and their work enters our culture indirectly but as profoundly as do the artist classifications I’ve just used. By and large, though, the tech industry understands that it is built on what came before and that copyright protects a single expression of an idea not the idea itself. I’m not sure Newhoff does, though I’ll happily admit that I’m wrong if he says I am.

I’m also not as fearful of the ability of the general populace to identify quality in the artistic realm when it encounters it. There may be differences on the leading edge, avant guarde end but by and large we’re able to tell the difference between, say, “My Favorite Martian” and “I, Claudius”.

The dissonance between the tech world and Newhoff’s is less than he wants us to believe or that he seems to believe. Not in the need for some form of copyright, even if it’s not the corrupted version we have today. It’s more in the understanding that the tech world has that sharing is vital to progress even if it’s not line-by-line copying of code. Newhoff buys into the views of his patrons in the RIAA and MPAA that they must control who enters and what leaves the realms they “control”. And that only they know who can enter or leave those realms. That only the gatekeepers have the faintest idea of what “art” is. It certainly isn’t the general public.

So he focus’s his argument on that rather than on any merit that sites like Techdirt may have to their/own views and diverts it to a concern for art and culture.

The thing is that the diversion is transparent and does nothing but point blame rather than seeking a way out of what his patrons see as a problem.

David, I’m sorry to tell you this but recording and movie studios don’t give a damn about culture they want what sells the most. Bums in seats. The same thing Shakespeare wanted when he ran the Globe Theatre. The same applies to book and magazine publishers. If there’s a positive cultural result then fine. But that’s not what they’re in business for. That’s not what they pay you for.

Should you get bums in seats cranking out pink slime then you do that as far as they’re concerned. It isn’t why you went into the arts but that’s what your patrons want and they, ultimately, are the ones signing your cheques. After we great unwashed in the general public pay them.

As for piracy/infringement or whatever the discussion here has centred around the economics and market demand for certain things like singles, movies released quickly, and other things they paying public wants if they were given a chance to pay. Where there’s demand there will be supply. Legal or not. See: War on Drugs/Alcohol Prohibition should you need further explanation. No amount of enforcement is going to change that, I’m sorry to say.

More importantly the “content” industries need to start to understand that. And they need to stop our ability to do with our legal downloads what we would do with, say, a book. If it is, as you insist, property, then whether the property is in bits or bound and printed on paper we, as consumers, ought to be able to do the same things with them.

Phased releases of movies have pretty much had their day. Is it going to take people who really want the same thing bashing their heads on each other before that stops?

IF there’s the dissonance you say there is, David Newhoff, that’s where it is. What goes where and when. Not who should get paid. OF COURSE THE ARTIST OUGHT TO BE PAID if there are enough buyers. Economics, right?

(Different arguments apply to pharmaceuticals and software than to the arts for importantly different reasons.)

I’ll end my “screed” by heartily recommending the short movie Gone Elvis to everyone who got this far. I don’t like your opinions but, as a piece of work, this is great.
Not just because you’re offering it for free.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love how when anyone calls him out on this obviously being the opposite of what search actually does he backpedals furiously and claims it’s really about ‘Google the Company’ and anyone that doesn’t follow ‘just doesn’t understand the metaphor’ even though he hasn’t said what Google is actually doing that’s tantamount to pink slime.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...