Google asked a website for its data, then just took it anyway


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/18/google-asked-a-website-for-its.html


#2

Our future decedents will look back with awe and amazement at how we once openly questioned our mega-corporate overlords without having our life accounts immediately suspended.

I want that to be a joke, but…


#3

He could always pull his websites out of the Google index altogether, as is his right. Of course, that would result in even more damage to his product.

Warner acknowledged the risks in building a site that depends so heavily on Google for search traffic, and whose research can easily be reduced to a single number. But he still thinks what Google did is unfair.

So essentially, he acknowledges that his (incredibly marginal and precarious) business probably would not exist but for Google.

I am wondering why Warner did not try putting the actual monetary figures behind a CAPTCHA; presumably, Google would still index the celebrity page, but would not be able to provide the dollar figure for that celebrity’s net worth.


#4

This really looks like a copyright claim. Google is producing a derivative work, often without attribution.


#5

Facts cannot be copyrighted, only Tue presentation thereof


#6

Well, but for the overwhelming market leader in web indexing, because they overwhelmingly control web search traffic. This didn’t have to be Google, he doesn’t owe them anything.


#7

If you weren’t already, you are now on THE LIST. So am I, but I was on it long ago.


#8

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile!


#9

In a jurisdiction with “database rights”; he would probably have a strong case.

In the US, it’d be a “see Feist v. Rural and get out of my office”, barring some rather clever twist.

(Edit: please note that this doesn’t imply approval on my part, just the strong suspicion that what Google is doing doesn’t violate copyright law. Might be an FTC or antitrust issue, depending on how it is presented; but protections for mere fact, without a modicum of creativity, are not provided by copyright in the US, and that isn’t some sort of isolated-defiance-of-Berne-Convention thing; protection of aggregations of facts, even if they were a pain to assemble, is a very optional element of copyright law and is fairly patchy.)


#10

does this fall under Evil, or just Being a Dick?


#11

Probably, but they’ve left that motto in the dust.


#12

Seems like a pretty shaky business model to be dependent on monetizing “facts” regardless of the effort to compile them. By this fellow feeling he has the right to present information as fact exclusively and with exclusive right to monetize he is envocing the same logic that would allow the copyright of scientific data or government documents as a form of censorship.

Pretty sure MLB made these same claims when they tried to get their slice from wire services, news papers and fantasy sites that reuse their “facts”. Just because google is big and scary doesnt mean they screw the little guy here, it could just as well be MLB getting their data “syndicated” and making the same stink.


#13

But Google is monetising these “facts”, when a monopoly does it then it’s suddenly okay is it?


#14

I have to admit, with all the latest deregulations, Google is starting to act like Superman on the bad Kryptonite.


#15

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