Quoted by Reuters as a “hubristic” move, Google has decided to play offensive in reply to Blue Destiny Records suing the popular search engine, last year. In spite of having larger annual revenue than the whole global record industry, why Google would want to go to the court against a small blues records, still remains unanswered.
This might as well be Google’s shortcut and easy way to solve a long dispute over copyrighted materials. Winning it will enable Google to shrug off its copyright liabilities. Although the records company voluntarily withdrawing its lawsuit in late March, it’s refusal to waive the rights to pursue the copyright allegation when asked for by Google, retaining its claim over future filing of the case, has given Google this chance.
The label claimed that search engines like Google and Microsoft’s Bing were profiting by helping unlawful distribution of the copyrighted works, allowing users to access them by simple search query. Along with these two, the company also sued the web-hosting site, Rapidshare, which is supposedly running “a distribution centre for unlawful copies of copyrighted works”, in the Florida court.
But Google chose a more friendly California court to file a 96-page complaint against this company asking them to provide a declaratory judgment whether links to cyberlockers constitute infringement. The Ninth Circuit has already played in favor of the internet giant, against an adult magazine named Perfect 10, which had demanded a try of search engines for indexing copyrighted photos.
Although if this much anticipated trial apparently relives Google’s tension over a touchy but yet quite tight spot, this huge tug of war between copyrights and its distribution may not end just here. This $23 billion Internet company would undoubtedly arouse a dilemma throughout the world. By strictly depending on law to literally define liabilities, Google has overlooked a probable solution by mediating the settlement with aggrieved parties, which might prove of more a fathom into solving the present trance.
With its ever expanding business, today Google is at times used as a synonym for “searching the net”. Though this popular search engine has reached far into the hearts of people, human affinity for recognition might have had remained unnoticed in its shrewd business policy. As the world today leans onto internet, people did not abandon the procession of justice and self-proclamation.
Questions arise as to why a popular search engine would not be able to block unwanted things if it respects copyrights. If under the law, a publisher is to grant search engines a standing and non-exclusive license, it can also claim an honest response from the link-provider by expecting it to not index protected items. Socially responsible authorities like Google, are supposedly thought to be more adept at dealing these sensitive issues.
The human-rights groups coupled with libertarians, working hand in hand with trade unions to protect the right of creators, would call for a greater move, even if the jurisdiction favors Google in this case. Legally they would win a court battle, but might lose a bigger war that faces them.