Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Microsoft Versus Google - Let Battle Begin

Copyright is no becoming the battleground on which the omnivores will do battle. In the blue corner we have MSN who true to their colour are reportedly representing the moral ground and protection of all things right. In the red corner are Google who have long had the tag ‘scan first ask later’. This battle of these giants is not restricted to text –it encompasses all content. There will be no clear winner and its going to get a lot messier before it gets better!

Yesterday’s FT covered the latest spate, a seething broad shot from MSN’s Associate General Counsel, accusing Google of taking a ‘cavalier’ approach to copyright
Google has annoyed many by its approach in this area. The Authors Guild and a group of publishers backed by the Association of American Publishers have taken legal action against Google for making digital copies of copyrighted books from libraries without permission. Viacom, the US media group, have instructed Google’s YouTube, to remove 100,000 clips of copyright material.

Microsoft argues that Google’s stance, that they only use snippets of material and in fact promote works, is in clear breach of copyright. Microsoft is trying to hard to distance itself from Google by portraying itself as more responsive to copyright holders than Google. It has sent a letter to executives of the big media conglomerates, offering to work with them to eliminate piracy from Soapbox, a new video service on MSN. It has received backing from that copyright champion Patricia Schroeder, the AAP president, who said it had agreed to work with Microsoft and others to develop principles on responsible book search.

What is clear is that Google’s dominance of the search engine world (some 80% share) is making it easier to ride rough shot over others. You cab guarantee that many will support them not out of agreement with their stance but out of their need to sell more content. It’s all too often that the disadvantaged get abused because they are unable to take the moral ground and others chose to ignore it on the basis of a fast buck.