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16 Aug

End of online piracy or end of free speech internet?

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Just last week, Google announced that it will demote the search rankings of websites that receive a high volume of copyright infringement notices. Outwardly, this may seem to be a reasonable thing to do, but there are several problems with Google doing this. And the problems range from not just unfairly punishing websites that may not be guilty of copyright infringement but extend to Google’s own principles- that day by day, seem to be changing as per their convenience.

It doesn’t happen very often that companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook all come together as one. This happened last January when a republican from Texas introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which proposed to blacklist any website or IP address that is merely suspected of infringing on copyright.

The group that opposed SOPA consisted of large tech companies who said that doing such a thing will seriously hamper ‘free speech’ that Internet symbolizes. The group that was for SOPA consisting mainly of Hollywood studios, said that every content owner has rights to protect his content.

The high profile case of Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom brought to light copyright issues that dealt with offshore websites.

Now, when Google demotes a website ranking based on just the volume of requests against it, it is relying on information that could easily be bogus or be “cooked up”. Also, it does not demote any Youtube rankings because Youtube is a Google product, even though it is a poster child for copyright infringement.

Hence, Google doesn’t really oppose SOPA, maybe it does, a little bit. At least not when it comes to their own search tweaks.

But is there really such a thing as being “just a little bit” for free speech?

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Read 3351 times Last modified on Friday, 23 November 2012 18:24
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