Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Book Publisher Has No Idea How Google Works But Pretty Sure It Could End Piracy If It Tried"

Proof that literacy alone is not nearly enough to tackle the tragedy of stupidity.

From techdirt:

From the just-do-the-thing!-THE-THING!-how-much-more-clear-do-I-need-to-be?!?! dept

Here's the stupidest thing on piracy you're going to read today. Or this month. Maybe even this whole holiday season. Rudy Shur, of Square One Publishers, has a problem with piracy, which he thinks is actually a problem with Google.

After being contacted by Google Play with an offer to join the team, Shur took it upon himself to fire off an angry email in response. That would have been fine, but he somehow convinced Publisher's Weekly to print both the letter and some additional commentary. Presumably, his position at a publishing house outweighed Publisher Weekly's better judgment, because everything about his email/commentary is not just wrong, but breathtakingly so.

After turning down the offer to join Google Play (Shur's previous participation hadn't really shown it to be an advantageous relationship), Shur decided to play internet detective. Starting with this paragraph, Shur's arguments head downhill… then off a cliff… then burst into flames… then the flaming wreckage slides down another hill and off another cliff. (h/t The Digital Reader)
[W]e did discover, however, was that Google has no problem allowing other e-book websites to illegally offer a number of our e-book titles, either free or at reduced rates, to anyone on the Internet.
There's a huge difference between "allowing" and "things that happen concurrently with Google's existence." Shur cannot recognize this difference, which is why he's so shocked Google won't immediately fix it.
When we alerted Google, all we got back was an email telling us that Google has no responsibility and that it is up to us to contact these sites to tell them to stop giving away or selling our titles.
Yep, it's called the DMCA process. It's been in all the papers. DMCA notices are issued to websites hosting the pirated material. Google also delists search results in response to DMCA notices. What never happens is Google arbitrarily delisting sites just because someone notices piracy exists. Google is also not "The Internet" and lacks the power to shut down websites it doesn't own. It is not Google's job to police the web for infringement, no more than it's Yahoo's or Microsoft's.

Undeterred by this illogical conundrum, Shur heads into the "inadvertently comic analogy" territory previously reserved for Thomas Friedman.
Let me ask you something. If a store sells knockoff designer handbags, why is it okay for police to come in, confiscate the illegal merchandise, and arrest and fine the store owners? It’s because the store is profiting from the sales of these illegal goods, in the same way Google can increase its advertising rates because these illegal sites increase the number of users it attracts.
No, it's because the store is selling infringing goods. The store has infringing goods on the premises. It's not because the store is "profiting." It's because of what it's doing and what the store contains. A better analogy would be to point out that cops can't raid a business directory company just because it prints out pages that might contain names and addresses of stores selling illicit goods.

The fact that Google advertises on its own search results pages is beside the point. Ads will be served whether or not "pirate sites" show up in the search results. The ads are not tied to illegal activity. Whether or not some ads are "more profitable" (even if Shur's postulation is true) doesn't matter.

And that's not even the worst part of that paragraph....