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Google has often been slammed for not adequately enforcing or protecting the copyrights of content creators.
Recording artists are still bitching that the company's YouTube division does not do enough to police and enforce the copyright which protects their work. For its part, Google claims it does everything possible to ensure that copyrights are respected. To this end it will take down videos that are reported as infringing copyright and it has an automated "Content ID" system which pattern matches for protected works.
Over the years, Google has managed to convince authorities that it is a good actor in the world of copyright. Even though Youtube plays host to countless infringing works, the company itself is not held accountable for those infringements because its "policies" are designed to do whatever it can to prevent those infringements.
This seems a little at-odds with the way that other companies, who also operate on a "best efforts" basis, have been hung, drawn and quartered by the courts for doing exactly the same thing.
Well I think Google's claims that it does all it can to prevent copyright infringement have just been shown to be dead wrong.
I refer to the fact that film-maker Philip Bloom has come out accusing Google itself of stealing his copyrighted videos.
This isn't simply a case of someone uploading the guy's work to YouTube and Google failing to take action when informed... it's a blatant case of Google using his work without license and without payment.
In this case, the company seems to have decided to operate on the principle that "it's only a crime if we get caught" and figured that nobody would ever find out that Mr Bloom's intellectual property had been "stolen" because its use was for an internal video presentation.
Sorry Google... not good enough!!
Many an otherwise fantastic YouTube channel has been wiped from the face of the interwebs by Google's over-enthusiastic copyright enforcement policies -- yet when they get caught doing it themselves it's a big "so what?".
According to the BBC report, even though they have been caught out stealing this guy's stuff, they have yet to make an offer to compensate him for what they used.
It's now becoming very clear as to why, just this month, Google struck out its founding mantra "don't be evil" from its corporate code of conduct. What's more, now that it's gone, they clearly have every intention of being as evil as is necessary to line shareholders' pockets to the maximum extent.
How tragic it is that a company, founded on such wonderful principles, is now demonstrating all that is bad about multinational corporate culture.
Of course this isn't the first instance of a supposedly "anti-piracy" group being hoist by its own petard. Let's not forget this story from 2011 in which the work of a dutch artist was used without permission as part of the anti-piracy warnings on DVDs.
Yes, it seems that copyright law is seen as only applying to "other people" who don't have enough lawyers or cash to protect themselves from its provisions.
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