Lawsuits Against Google Only Make It Stronger

from the what-doesn't-kill-it dept

As Google has grown to take top billing among internet based companies, it's been the target of numerous lawsuits, many of which have been filed by small companies with weak cases. You might think that all of these suits might be a distraction to the company. But in fact these cases may be playing right into the company's hands. By racking up court victories against small opponents that make weak arguments and have unsophisticated legal teams, it's helping to build up a body of case law that will come in handy when it has more serious legal challenges. So, for example, in acquiring YouTube, it is inheriting one lawsuit, from an individual who says his video was posted illegally to the site. But Google believes that YouTube's actions were legally grounded; if it can dispatch with this case, it sets a precedent if larger, better-heeled content owners try taking Google to court with similar arguments. Much of Google's success is due to its scale and building up reinforcing network effects; it seems it's going to apply that strategy to the legal arena as well.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:05am


    Does law really work like that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Look out, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Careful Google, don't become too big and powerful, or else people will start randomly hating you for no good reason just like everyone started hating Microsoft when they became big and powerful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    erinol0, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:48am


    It may sound a little naive but Google's all about "Do no evil". Micro$oft's strategy has always been to appropriate others ideas and monetize them.

    Google goes to great lengths to get me to want to use what they have to offer at no monetary cost to me, while M$ just looks for ways to make me pay more money for an operating system that continually gets slower and slower with each new update/version.

    Therefore M$ Google

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jo Mamma, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:52am


    Very true, but I think cheesedick tiny copyright holders will hardly be the catalyst for the inevitable hating of Google.

    But Techdirt, I think you're exactly right on this one. They're much better off if they get a few small lawsuits out of the way first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:53am

    Right, there is "no good reason" that people hate Microsoft...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Hating MS for no good reason?

    When was the last time you used an MS operating System?
    How about their not so nice licensing arrangements.
    the list is very long and I don't want to turn this into a MS bashing thread.

    I hope Google can give MS a run for its money, they need the competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Not So Naiive, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 10:45am

    Weak cases don't set precedents

    Weak cases don't set precedents, they just fatten lawyer's pockets. If a big company wants to bring a case, they will figure out a way to set aside any of these weak precedents.

    If you are powerful, irrespective of whether you claim to have the "do no evil" slogan or not, you will be sued. It is the law of nature. The higher they rise, the harder they fall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Eric Barnes, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 11:17am

    Google Did this with Trademarked Keywords're exactly right. Google has successfully employed this strategy with small companies suing because Google allowed a competitor to use that companies name as a keyword.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 12:33pm


    Riight, cause, you know, people hate M$ and it's ways for no good reason at all. They're great. Really. Nothing unethical about their tatics. Ever. No. Really. Seriously. M$ is the best. They love the people and care about things other than profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    me, myself, and i, Oct 23rd, 2006 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Weak cases don't set precedents

    state that 'nature of law' rather than 'law of nature'. just makes more sense...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 1:55pm

    Lets try and count how many people working for microsoft committed suicide during the creation of windows XP.

    All they ever wanted was a 15 minute coffee break :'(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Elmer Fudd, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Hating Microsoft for no good reason?

    Get real. When Microsoft first got big and powerful, most people cheered. It was only when it became clear that Microsoft would use its de facto monopoly powers to leave a mile wide trail of damage to its customers and the entire IT industry, for the sake of an extra 1/2 of 1% profit margin, that people started "hating" Microsoft.

    People who "hate" Microsoft are actually people who "hate" grossly insecure software, and vendors who refuse to address the underlying security problems with their software simply because they are not liable for customer losses. Then there are those who "hate" giant corporations whose equally giant political lobbying machine guarantees them the freedom to innovate by using every abusive business practice in the book, to wipe out competitors, kill competing technologies, and lock down customers.

    When Google starts actively spying on its customers, spamming them senseless, introduces a "forced upgrade cycle", and systematically breaks their tools and services so that they will only work with their own brand of software on the end user's computer, people will start hating Google... for the same reasons they hate Microsoft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Yeago, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 3:22pm


    Not sure how this discussion turned into 'who hates MS and why'..

    But back to the topic. I don't really see how simply being sued is a good thing. Perhaps future potential plaintiffs will be discouraged while reviewing prior precedent, but its winning cases--not simply being confronted with them--that is the key to this (IMHO).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    blyx, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re:

    thati s very naive. what has google done that is new? mail? no. search? no. advertising model? no, they bought that.

    you make an argument about the differnece between google and microsoft. the only difference to me is the following: they told you they do no evil and you believe it, and 2.) they give away things for free because they make money using a b2b model. This appears free to you, but they are pimping your data to manipulate you into buying more things. this is far more insidious and manipulative - i'd prefer pay for my product and not get mindfucked on top of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    kris, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    google vs ms knockdown

    Personally speaking, I used to hate microsoft, mainly because of windows being buggy and hard to use (lots of idiosynchracies and gotchas).

    Since the release of windows XP, I have come to rid myself of most of this. Also, with bill gates putting a lot of money into his charity, it seems his philosophy (at least now) is to make a lot of money that will edventually benefit mankind which I see no problem with.

    google has kept its site and software very user friendly, with clean UIs and generally bug free.
    plus, their support of open source communities and their general philosophies make me feel like they want to provide a good product that will help people.

    Google has always felt simple and powerful, which is a product I like.

    Finally, look at Internet explorer 7, it has a much simpler interface, and may be a way for the future for microsoft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Er..

    Yes. It's not quite that simple or straightforward, but as a general matter that is exactly what is going on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2006 @ 2:17am

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    fodder99 (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Er..

    I think its google trying to rule the freekin world!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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