Category Archives: Technology

Google and Fair Use

The other day I came across this article on my tech blogs: The Book Dead May Be Dead, But Google Is Still Right by Matthew Ingram.  It got me thinking about censorship, fair use, and information on the internet in general.

For those that need a little background info:

Google also started scanning and indexing books that were under copyright, then offered authors and publishers the ability to “opt out” of the program and have their books removed… Others, however, said that scanning and indexing their books without explicit permission was wrong, and filed the lawsuits in 2005 that led to the agreement.

The crux of this argument is that scanning a book makes a copy of that book, and that copying is not permitted unless a copyright holder specifically agrees. The authors and publishers made this argument despite the fact that Google only ever shows a small fraction of a text when they display a book online.

Okay, so Google was supposedly “copying” the book in violation of copyright.  But was this really a violation of copyright?

This is a ridiculous position, and always has been. Scanning something makes a copy of it in the same way that my viewing a web page makes a copy of it in the RAM of my computer — I’m surprised that authors and publishers haven’t tried to argue that this is secondary copyright infringement as well.

Keep in mind that Google did not “publish” the entirety of the copyrighted books anywhere.  In most cases they had a preview or excerpt used in search capabilities.

I agree with Ingram that Google was in the right.  Google did not violate copyright laws and was in accordance with fair use regulations.

All of this brings up some interesting questions.  Who owns my blog?  What about the writing in my blog?  Could I sue someone for plagiarizing or borrowing from my blog?  What about if they attribute a quote to me?  Really it comes down to: who owns information and creativity?  I think the big legal questions for the 21st century are going to be issues of intellectual property.  With the expansion of the internet and the cloud, we have to redefine things like copyrights.  Do they make sense for certain types of information, such as blogs?  Do we all give up personal ownership for collective use?  How does all this work.  Am I violated some copyright issue by reprinting part of Ingram’s article?  Does it matter if I attributed the words to him?  Where are the lines?   All of things need to be discussed.  I don’t think any of us are going to progress by avoiding the questions or even going by the 20th century definitions.  We are in a new world and need to discuss the new questions.


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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Technology


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Quote Wednesday – Rose

“We’re [Facebook] moving away from the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to the ‘wisdom of friends'” — Dan Rose

Recently Dan Rose, Facebook executive, made this comment in response to the direction of Facebook, marketing, and advertising.  I thought it was an interesting statement.  One I started to think seriously about.  For the past couple of months I have been working as a Marketing Intern for SafeToBe.Me, a Facebook based privacy and security company.  As part of my job, I have been trying to keep up with Facebook and social networking news.  This quote really appealed to me professionally, but also as a social network user.

Marketing side: The age of traditional marketing and advertising is dead.  No longer will companies focus on radio, tv, and magazines to spread the word about their product or service.  Instead we need to focus on the power of the social networks.  Word-of-mouth advertising really is going to be the main medium of propagation.  So why not take advantage of networks such as Facebook?

User side: I hate ads as much as the next person, but I have to admit that I do look at the ones along the side of the page on FB.  Sometimes they are so off the mark it’s hilarious (No, I am not in need of baby paraphernalia any time in the near future.  Why do they think I’m pregnant?) and sometimes they are spot on (Yes, I would love to see where Paramore is touring this year).  When it mentions that one of my friends liked this ad or that, I do pay attention.  It also works through friends’ posts.  Why did I start listening to Mumford & Sons in the first place?  Because a friend posted a link to their video “Little Lion Man” on FB.  I clicked, listened, loved, and had to run out (actually click over to iTunes) to get the cd.  Now I am seeing Mumford everywhere.  How did they get the word out about the band and the cd?  Through things like FB.  Friends “like” things, I pay attention, and sometimes I “like” too.

The power of social networks… pay attention.  It’s the new frontier!

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Quote Wednesday, Technology


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Twitter Power!

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter.  Is it bad?  Is it good?  Does anyone really care?

A couple of days ago I signed myself up for Twitter.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  I have just started a new job in marketing and eventually I’ll be using Twitter for that.  I guess I felt like I should join up and get used to it.  Take a step into the Twitter pool.

So what’s been my experience so far?  Frankly, I keep forgetting about it.  I don’t have a phone set up to send Twitter messages.  Currently the only way for me to post one is to log in to the homepage and type one in — something I am routinely forgetting to do.

The other side of the issue is the actual messages.  What do I say?  I am not a particularly witty person.  I don’t have great epiphanies on a daily or even weekly basis.  I do have random thoughts, but who wants to read those.  In the past week, I think I’ve tweeted 7 times.  That’s it. No grand statements.  I have four followers, two of each I think are fake accounts.  One is my brother, and the last one is my boyfriend — both people I talk to on a regular basis.  So I say things that go into the abyss of the communication network.

I feel like I am adding to the clutter, adding to the noise. I don’t feel like I am doing anything remarkable or really interesting.

Maybe my usage will become more interesting when I am tweeting for my job.  Or maybe it will be exactly the same.  Adding to the commotion with some useless dribble.

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Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Technology


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