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Google Wins a Court Battle 272

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the justice-served dept.
Gosalia wrote to let us know about an article which opens with: "In a legal win for Google, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a writer who claimed the search giant infringed on his copyright by archiving a Usenet posting of his and providing excerpts from his Web site in search results." Thankfully, we can all still read Usenet articles on Google as well as other archive services.
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Google Wins a Court Battle

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  • Gtalk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skaet (841938) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:19AM (#14939653) Homepage
    Can't wait until people try to sue Google for saving their Gtalk conversations....
    • Re:Gtalk (Score:5, Informative)

      by publius_jr (808330) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:53AM (#14939794)
      According to their Terms of Service (http://www.google.com/talk/terms.html [google.com]), by using GTalk:
      You agree that Google may access or disclose your personal information, including the content of your communications, if Google is required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process or governmental request (such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order). [Emphasis added]
      According to their Privacy Policy (http://www.google.com/talk/privacy.html [google.com]):
      When you use Google Talk, we may record information about your usage, such as when you use Google Talk, the size of your contact list and the contacts you communicate with, and the frequency and size of data transfers.
      But regarding to the content of your chats, their Privacy Policy only says:
      You may choose to store the contents of text chats as Gmail messages in your Gmail account.
      Note that it does not say whether Google saves or does not save the content of your chats elsewhere on their computers (i.e. not as Gmail messages). I suppose their right to access the content grants them the right to save it, although it is a bit odd that they don't flat-out state this (or deny it) on their Privacy Policy.
      • Re:Gtalk (Score:3, Informative)

        by Crizp (216129)
        However, you always have the possibility of going "off the record" which prevents chats from being saved. It's right there in the preferences and well explained.
        • Re:Gtalk (Score:5, Insightful)

          by publius_jr (808330) on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:37AM (#14940089)
          The explanation (http://mail.google.com/mail/help/chat.html#offrec ord [google.com]):
          We know that sometimes, you don't want a particular chat, or chats with a specific person, to be saved. Most existing IM services give no indication of whether the person you're chatting with is saving your conversation. But when chatting in Gmail or Google Talk, you can go "off the record," so that nothing typed from that point forward gets saved in anyone's Gmail account.
          Unless I am missing something, this is a perfect example of the ambiguity of their Terms of Service/Privacy Policy. The user may wrongfully infer from the user interface that "off the record" means "no one, whether a user or Google, can save this chat." Yet nowhere have I seen any promise that Google will not save the content of your chat, whether any option is selected or not.
          • Re:Gtalk (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Crizp (216129) <chris@eveley.net> on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:55AM (#14940130) Homepage
            You're right, the chats might still be stored on their servers somewhere... just flagged as hidden. I thought about that before starting to use the service, but came to the conclusion that I don't care. Mostly because
            1) US paranoia-legislations and assramming-acts do not apply here, thank FSM, and
            2) Norwegian laws regarding information extraction by police/etc from service providers are reasonably strict, i.e. they need to have a case. Also,
            3) Should I ever want to discuss something illegal I would either use GPG through email or encrypted IM anyway.
            • Re:Gtalk (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Fëanáro (130986) on Friday March 17, 2006 @07:49AM (#14940703)
              Should I ever want to discuss something illegal I would either use GPG through email or encrypted IM anyway.

              Which in turn makes it easier to prove it was you who sent the message, for example if your partner later decides to betray you.
              • Re:Gtalk (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @10:55AM (#14941546) Homepage Journal
                Which in turn makes it easier to prove it was you who sent the message, for example if your partner later decides to betray you.

                You wouldn't use a private key, for Pete's sake - you'd use symmetric encryption. You, your accomplice, and an unverifiably large set of strangers would all know the shared passphrase, and each of you could plausibly deny that the other encrypted it.

                If you're going to conspire, you'll have to be more clever than that.

            • Re:Gtalk (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Toby_Tyke (797359)
              3) Should I ever want to discuss something illegal I would either use GPG through email or encrypted IM anyway.

              I prefer to discuss all my illegal activities using the RL protocol.
            • Re:Gtalk (Score:3, Insightful)

              by poot_rootbeer (188613)
              Should I ever want to discuss something illegal I would either use GPG through email or encrypted IM anyway.

              What it you want to discuss something entirely legal, but private? Like talking to your lawyer about a case brought against you? Or discussing your child's medical condition with your spouse?

              Are you really okay with Google keeping a record of such conversations?

              I'm not, which is why I wouldn't use Google's services for anything which needs to stay confidential.
          • Legally binding? (Score:3, Informative)

            Is it required by law that Gtalk clients support "off the record" and actually obey that? Because I use Gaim, and all my chats are logged regardless of such an option.

            All that seems to do is prevent them from going to gmail. It doesn't seem like there's anything to prevent anyone from saving any content to anywhere that is not gmail.

            As someone else pointed out, use PGP or don't complain when your content is spied upon.
  • Cash Grab Suit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:20AM (#14939656) Homepage
    He sued over Google indexing and achieving a USNET post of his, so this means he isn't that technologically ignorant. To me, his suit smells like a cash grab. But it's also good he lost because it sets a useful precedent.
    • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Crowhead (577505) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:26AM (#14939686)
      It sets no precedent. Rambling, incoherent lawsuits that get dismissed do not constitute precedent.

      50,000 John Does?
      Racketeering?
      Civil conspiracy?

      The guy sounds like a nut job.
      • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tinkertim (918832) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:32AM (#14939920) Homepage
        If nothing else it helps to show lawmakers some actual case law (in their lanugage) to say "store and forward" doesn't always imply the same thing, its the content that is of interest.

        I hope if nothing else this case helps focus more on the content, and less on the delivery method. A parallel being torrents that bring you linux Distributions vs torrents that bring you copyrighted media.

        Just shows, we really *dont* shoot the messenger these days :) At least not this time.

        However you're right, its frivilous and sets no real precedent. But makes way for some perhaps :)
        • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Haeleth (414428)
          A parallel being torrents that bring you linux Distributions vs torrents that bring you copyrighted media.

          Newsflash - Linux distributions usually contain large quantities of copyrighted media. And that doesn't make them illegal.

          Please refrain from saying "copyrighted" when you mean "unlicensed", as this helps spread the dangerous myth that content under free licenses is somehow different from other copyrighted content.
      • Actually, I wouldn't mind a "dismissing total fucktards" precedent being set by this. Not much chance, but I can dream.
    • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:46AM (#14939957)
      Cash grab? I dont know his motivations but these are real questions that need to be answered. The legality of google's cache was always in question. For instance a person could delete a webpage but still find it in the cache. That person can ask a valid question about copyright, control, republishing, etc, etc.

      The courts so far have ruled that these caches are legal and the search engine people are not doing wrong. This suit along with another one builds precendce over these types of concerns. So its been a long time coming.

      Now people concerned with privacy can get educated about how to block robots/spider, how public the web/usenet is, and how to work around this.
      • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Maybe the cache has been in question, because it's not like your webserver calls up another server and says, "here have this, and give a copy to all of your buddies and tell them to do the same" but how can you go after a network which is designed to automatically do just that?
      • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by onedotzero (926558)
        Perhaps. But with regards to Usenet, that's exactly what X-No-Archive [wikipedia.org] is for.

        --
        onedotzero
        thedigitalfeed.co.uk [thedigitalfeed.co.uk]
        • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:5, Informative)

          by pomo monster (873962) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:38AM (#14940248)
          Not that I have any sympathy for the joker, but do realize that X-No-Archive is useless if someone replies to your post.

          --
          On 17 March 2006, onedotzero (926558) wrote:
          Perhaps. But with regards to Usenet, that's exactly what X-No-Archive is for.

          --
          onedotzero
          thedigitalfeed.co.uk
          • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            So? At that point, it is no longer "your" post anyway, so you have no right to say if the reply should also have X-No-Archive. Unless someone considers quoting copyright infringment as well, but then you'd have to successfully sue the person who quoted you before going after someone like Google for archiving the reply.
            • Not so fast... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday March 17, 2006 @09:04AM (#14940911)
              At that point, it is no longer "your" post anyway, so you have no right to say if the reply should also have X-No-Archive. Unless someone considers quoting copyright infringment as well [...]

              And there's your sticking point. If the original poster has explicitly indicated that they do not wish their post to be archived, it seems pretty clear that copying their material in a way that will be archived is an infringement of their copyright.

              Usenet archives essentially rely on an "implied permission" defence to any charges of copyright infringement: they argue that if the person posted the comment, then are giving implicit permission to copy the post for the purposes of circulating it on Usenet, and archiving is just joining in with that network. Regardless of anyone's personal opinion, there is clearly some logic behind this position, and it's a fair case to make.

              However, if the poster has explicitly indicated that they do not wish to have their post archived permanently, then there is clearly no implicit permission to do so, and keeping it beyond a normal period (which I'm guessing most Usenet users would describe in terms of weeks) would be an infringement.

              Similarly, it's the accepted convention that someone replying to a Usenet post should quote properly. At least, it used to be; today, the law might view quoting improperly a la Microsoft and Google Groups to be the accepted convention. :-( In any case, one could again make a reasonable argument that implicit permission has been given by the poster to copy relevant excerpts of the original post for the purpose of preserving context in subsequent discussion.

              Again, however, if the poster has explicitly denied their permission to archive their material permanently, then you can't really argue that they're giving implicit permission to copy their material in a way that will be preserved essentially forever. Quoting such a post without marking your own post as not-for-archiving itself might be dubious, and I'd have to conclude that archiving the material via that indirect route was a clear violation of the original poster's copyright.

              The bottom line is that all of these archiving systems are on shaky legal ground as long as they're opt-out, because being on the Internet does not somehow preempt the accepted conventions of copyright law. (Neither do the opinions of a few people on Slashdot whose personal view is that copyright is wrong and the law doesn't apply to them, incidentally.) One could at least argue a reasonable defence of things like Google Groups and the Wayback Machine on the basis of implied consent, but if that consent has been explicitly withheld (via X-No-Archive, robots.txt or whatever) then really, it's hard to see how any service archiving such material via any means has a legal leg to stand on.

      • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by solarbob (959948)
        If the caches do become illegal what happens to http://www.archive.org/ [archive.org] Surely it would just collapse?
      • IANAL, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hummassa (157160)
        AFAIK down here publishing something on the internet is considered "public performance" and the copyrights over a "bootleg" are somewhat confusing. There /is/ some caselaw considering recordings of shows (done not-for-profit) as non-infringing.
      • Public forum posting (Score:3, Informative)

        by way2trivial (601132)
        means you give up control..

        Now, if you use the no cache header
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-No-Archive [wikipedia.org]
        and claim copyright, you MAY have an argument...

    • So...road wide open to fight Scientologist bullshit?
    • Re:Cash Grab Suit? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Friday March 17, 2006 @07:41AM (#14940675) Journal
      To me, his suit smells like a cash grab.

      Got it on the very first guess!

      Gordon Roy Parker, to whom I usually refer as "grp" (rhymes with twerp), having nothing better to do, likes to waste the taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits like this one where he demanded ten billion(!) dollars from Google and fifty thousand(!) John Does for having archived a newsgroup. One of his other hilarious escapades was suing U. Penn for discrimination against him because he's a white male(!), when he didn't even apply for a job there!

      He's up for a lifetime "Balsa Gavel" award in alt.usenet.kooks.

      -jcr
  • Good for Google! (Score:5, Informative)

    by those.numbers (960432) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:22AM (#14939663)
    I may not agree with every decision Google makes, but all in all, I believe they're the closest thing we've got to a big business with a conscience. I mean they've got great potential to do some good, as this article points out. http://tcal.net/archives/2006/02/23/google-charity -plans/ [tcal.net]

    But without getting too off track, I'm glad they won this battle. Because of their line of work and the innovative new steps they take, they're bound to step on a few toes. I just hope we don't smother them in too many lawsuits, both as indivduals and as a government.
    • Re:Good for Google! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by solarbob (959948)
      prehaps the innvoation is what is scaring people as I know you can go out there now, google someones name and come up with a lot of info and its putting it in easy reach of all users. Of course the argument would be that if you didn't want it to be out there you shouldn't of published something in the first place but when it comes to 3rd party information at least google gives you the option to ask to have it removed, even if it does take a few weeks,months,years
    • The thing about Google is, they have a lot of interests in the same places as normal people. For example, normal people have an interest in more powerful "fair use" clauses when it comes to copyright, and so does Google. (Google Book Search)

      These interests are almost opposite to the interests of most other big companies. Whereas most companies want to restrict anyone from using their copyrighted works without paying them, Google *NEED* to use copyrighted works without paying for them.
  • by arrrrg (902404) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:23AM (#14939670)
    but the war is still to come. It's interesting to contrast this with their recent loss against Perfect 10. Compared to the lawsuits from the publishers and the US government, this one seems like an easy victory.
  • Strange Decision (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:25AM (#14939679)
    However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled on Friday that under case law, Google's activities, akin to those of an Internet Service Provider, do not constitute infringement.
    "When an ISP automatically and temporarily stores data without human intervention so that the system can operate and transmit data to its users, the necessary element of volition (willful intent to infringe) is missing," the court said.

    Strange. While Google Groups provide a valuable service, I don't see how creating an archive of billions of copyrighted works makes Google immune from individual lawsuits. Could I compile and serve a complete archive of everything available from the Pirate Bay and get the same protection? I wouldn't think so.

    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:29AM (#14939702) Homepage Journal
      I don't see how creating an archive of billions of copyrighted works [...]

      You left out "that were submitted to a store-and-forward global distribution system with the intent of disseminating them as widely as possible, knowing full well that they would be archived, folded, spindled, and mutilated".

      In other news, every public mailing list in the known universe does the exact same thing. Gonna sue Yahoo! Groups because they're publishing the email that you deliberately sent to 1,500 strangers?

      • You left out "that were submitted to a store-and-forward global distribution system with the intent of disseminating them as widely as possible, knowing full well that they would be archived, folded, spindled, and mutilated".

        There are several things missing here. First, for most of the history of Usenet, it was not archived (or at least, not well known to be archived). Users of Usenet, up until around 1995, expected news postings to be ephemeral.

        Second, the fact that a technology allows for something to hap
        • there is no way I know of for an author to put something in the public domain just by their choice of the medium by which they spread their ideas.

          It's not in the public domain, but I think he's implicitly given a licence for anyone to distribute the posting in it's original form (and quote it in a reply) because that's the way the medium works. What _should_ constitute an infringement of his copyright is republishing it as your own work (which Google isn't doing - Google explicitly cites the original autho
          • This is an interesting take, but not what copyright says is the case. Copyright means the creator has the rights over copies. This doesn't mean Google has to say Joe Schmoe was the author, it's that Joe Schmoe has the final say over how his work is presented, and who gets to make copies of it.

            Unless Joe Schmoe explicitly gave Google permission to copy his work, copyright is clear - Joe retains copyright and can prevent Google from distributing his work.

            Now, you and I can certainly agree that Usenet, by defi
            • First of all permission can be implied, it does not need to be explicit. Court cases back this up, for example if you do a work for hire then you may reasonably be assumed to have implicitly given certain permissions to whomever ordered the product (ie: if you know your product needs to be put on 50 computers then putting it on 50 computers would probably not be infringement barring other factors)

              What Google has done is to take an ephemeral work and make it available: 1) permanently,

              Since google has access
              • Since google has access to the work it was already archived somewhere, on tape usually, as such it did nothing different from what was already happening (someone had to provide it with the posts before it's creation). Nice try.

                Unless Joe provided his work to Google on that CD, along with an explicit transfer of copyright to Google, Google does not have copyright for that work. Joe and Google never arranged to transfer copyright, and Joe never lost copyright by publishing his work.

                The fact that some third pa
                • by Rakishi (759894)
                  Unless Joe provided his work to Google on that CD, along with an explicit transfer of copyright to Google, Google does not have copyright for that work. Joe and Google never arranged to transfer copyright, and Joe never lost copyright by publishing his work.

                  However Joe gave limited reproduction rights to all usenet servers, and google may be considered one within the limits of being one (ie: no books based on his stuff)

                  The fact that some third party burned Joe's work to CD and then gave it to Google does no
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:25AM (#14939681) Homepage
    According to the ZDNet write-up, he does business as the Snodgrass Publishing Group, who have some interesting offerings at a site they own called "cybersheet.com". This is the top result from a Google search for "Snodgrass Publishing Group" [cybersheet.com]
    • According to the ZDNet write-up, he does business as the Snodgrass Publishing Group, who have some interesting offerings at a site they own called "cybersheet.com".
      The Elite Player's Guide to Getting Laid.

      1) Sue Google.
      2) ???
      3) Get laid!
      • I own this classic, and seminal, guide and happened to notice that you only gave the concise form of the `genius plan' (as the author frequently calls it). The plan branches into two detailed versions based on frequency of occurence. I figured the Slashdot crowd (of all crowds) could benefit from the detail.

        The uncommon form, but `the one most guys, idiots, anticipate' (69) is:

        1. Sue Google.
        2. Win
        3. Profit!
        4. Get laid!

        This is the uncommon form because rarely do you ever win the lawsuit. If you should happe

  • by this great guy (922511) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:29AM (#14939697)

    I have always wondered what those guys suing for anything _really_ think ? For example, does this guy honestly thought Google was violating his copyright ? Or did he sue just to give a try and maybe obtain easy money via financial compensation ?

    • I have always wondered what those guys suing for anything _really_ think ? For example, does this guy honestly thought Google was violating his copyright ? Or did he sue just to give a try and maybe obtain easy money via financial compensation ?

      He's in the porn business. He sued for publicity.

    • A bit from column A, a bit from column B. The online world is full of people who think their pearls of wisdom are of value either fiscally or in terms of their reputation. They all almost inevitably overvalue both.

      By the way, if this gets republished anywhere, I'll sue.

  • by doubledoh (864468) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:32AM (#14939710) Homepage
    That's the way it should be. I'm tired of people trying to undermine most of the good reasons the web exists because they are worried about losing "control" of their content. Content in the context of 6 billion people (and growing) just isn't worth as much as it once was. Think about it. When you were a kid, getting a new CD (or tape/LP) was a pretty special event because the low-tech cumbersome delivery system limited the supply and frequency of new content. Now it's as easy as clickity click on your web browser (or p2p app) to find millions of different ways to entertain yourself. We have a growing sense that content is meant to be disseminated more freely...because it IS disseminated more freely...and exponentially so. Just the idea of being able to read newspapers from around the world for FREE would be crazy just 10-15 years ago...now it's a given. Same goes with content on people's web sites. Everyone's got a freaking webpage now (hell, I've got dozens...half of which I don't even remember exist)...so unique and special and limited content is being dwarfed by voluminous amounts of content in every possible variety and quality one can imagine.

    The bottom line...your damn content isn't that special anymore! Stop suing people! Get over it...we probably already forgot about the content we "stole" or archived long before you remembered to call your lawyer. We moved on to the next thing before you could look up "cache" for FREE on dictionary.com.

    • I hate DRM/copyright/etc as much as the next /.er.. but...

      I think that the easy availability of 'content' has also cheapened it*. Sure, there are 6 billion or so people, and maybe they can all (one day) make content. The truth is, 99.99% of it will be complete crap.

      Is it possible for people to sift through 10000 pieces of crap to find one useful/good item? No. People will do what they've always done - go with the crowd. One could argue that this is the 'service' that a centralised distribution system (curre
      • Okay, one last post before finally going to get some sleep. For real this time...

        For example, how would you find a good jazz album on p2p or bittorrent - if you don't know what it's called? both are really geared to shareing known material - if I made an album and posted it on either, there'd be bloody few downloads!

        I'm not sure how to do it with BitTorrent, but with the stories I have written and shared via p2p (and I do this on Gnutella), I just add a few keywords to the end of the file name, prefaced wi

      • I agree my original point was a bit of a stretch. But really, it's about technology allowing the quality content producers the ability to disseminate their material to a much wider audience for alot less money. Almost anyone with 10 grand can easily produce their own album, film (digitally) a movie and edit it, and even make a tv show and distribute it globally (with bitorrent) for next to nothing. While yes, 99% of people won't produce anything (or at least nothing of great value), 1% of 6 billion is st
  • wtf (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fftl4life (961774)
    the way i figure it, if you put it on the net and people wanna look at it, they will find a way, if you cant deal with it dont put you s**t on the interweb
  • Thankfully? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by penguin-collective (932038) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:00AM (#14939815)
    Thankfully, we can all still read Usenet articles on Google as well as other archive services.

    Web-based reading of USENET is fine; the problem is with archiving: USENET was originally not intended to be archived, and the fact that it is being archived has greatly changed it. Anybody who, these days, makes a controversial contribution to a USENET forum under his real name is a bloody fool. There is no point debating this anymore: unrestricted archiving of USENET news has become de-facto accepted. But that doesn't make it right or a good thing.
    • USENET was originally not intended to be archived

      You always had a choice in the matter via the "X-noarchive" flag. It would have made an interesting case if he had set "X-noarchive: yes" in his posting and Google (and DejaNews before them) had ignored it.

    • Re:Thankfully? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgardner100 (559892)
      I disagree, Usenet was always store and forward, Google are simply using a ridiculously long expire time in this case. There was never any restriction on how long a site could keep the postings for, they were/are simply constrained by available disk space.
      • You're missing the point. My point is that many USENET users used to post under the assumption that their postings would go away in a few weeks because that's what they did.

        When DejaNews created a complete, non-expiring, searchable archive of USENET, that changed the way USENET was being used fundamentally, and I don't think for the better.

        Because anything that gets posted to USENET (or posted on a web site) gets archived and remains around forever, people simply cannot have open, non-anonymous discussions
    • USENET was originally not intended to be archived

      Really? And this was stated in which RFC or other authoritative document?

      Archiving was certainly never required, but conversely it was never forbidden, as far as I know.

      • Archiving was certainly never required, but conversely it was never forbidden, as far as I know.

        I'm confused--are you trying to make a legal argument? A technical argument? Or what? Because I'm not.

        I'm saying: USENET was used by its users with the expectation that it was an ephemeral medium. Regardless of what laws or RFCs allowed or didn't allow, that's the ground rules most people assumed and most people acted in accordance with. Now that it has become clear that it is being archived, that has changed
        • Re:Thankfully? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mce (509) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:18AM (#14940334) Homepage Journal
          I'm saying: USENET was used by its users with the expectation that it was an ephemeral medium.

          Not in my case, at least. I've been on USENET since 1988 and I never had that expectation. In fact, I have complained a few times to the relevant administrators that they were expiring stuff too quickly, as I wanted to go back in history looking for references.

          What's more, that fact that Google can dig up some of my posts dating from at least 1992 also means that it was non-ephemeral. There was no Google back then, remember?

        • Clearly, companies have wide latitude in archiving, repurposing, and republishing anything individuals put on the web or on USENET, without the permission of those individuals. I think that's bad, but we'll have to live with the consequences.

          Why is it bad that content made available with the knowledge - if not intention - that said content be widely and freely distributed, continue to be widely and freely distributed ?

          I think it's perfectly reasonable to work with the assumption that anything on the publi

        • Re:Thankfully? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          I'm confused--are you trying to make a legal argument? A technical argument? Or what? Because I'm not. I'm saying: USENET was used by its users with the expectation ...

          I'm not making a legal argument. RFCs aren't legally binding. But they would give you the expectation that implementors would follow them. So if you weren't relying on documented rules, what was the basis for your expectation?

          That's the ground rules most people assumed,

          Maybe you did. How do you know "most people" did? I didn't. I used a

    • Re:Thankfully? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      ...the problem is with archiving: USENET was originally not intended to be archived, and the fact that it is being archived has greatly changed it.

      Undoubtedly, there are those who never considered the possibility of USENET being archived. But really - those people just weren't thinking things out. Keep in mind that Google's archive is complete as it is because of archive donations from various individuals who, on their own accord and at their own expense, began archiving USENET well before "Google" or "

  • disturbing asymmetry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by penguin-collective (932038) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:03AM (#14939827)
    Well, I generally like Google, but this is a disturbing asymmetry to me.

    When an individual posts something to USENET, then apparently it's OK for companies like Google to archive and republish that stuff, even making money from it if they put advertising on the same page.

    But how is that different from broadcasting? It seems to me that if what Google is doing is OK, then I should be able to record, archive, and republish any music or other programming broadcast over the Internet or airwaves.
    • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:28AM (#14940358) Journal
      You can inhibit Google from archiving your Usenet posting by adding "X-No-Archive: yes" to the message header, or as first line in the message body. It will still be shown for a short while on Google, but when you are posting on Usenet, it's actually part of the system that your message is copied to any number of servers, stored there for a limited time, and made accessible to anyone, so while IANAL, I'd guess by posting to Usenet you give implicit permission to do that.

      So in short, Google archives all Usenet posting where the author doesn't say that he doesn't want it archived. Therefore the analogy would be that you can record, archive and republish any music and other programming unless the author says he doesn't want this. And indeed, this is almost the current copyright situation. The difference is that the default for radio broadcasts is the reverse: Unless the author explicitly allows you to rebroadcast, you may not.

      I guess if the default would be changed, then the only difference would be that radio stations would start to explicitly say all the time that you may not rebroadcast their material. Which I don't consider an improvement over the current situation.
      • That still leaves caching web pages, in their frame. Even if that page says 'Copyright Megadodo 2006, All Rights Reserved'. In the Netherlands, there are precedents of that setup being forbidden anyway, cache or not. Those sites were making money by showing others content in their sites using frames. I wonder how this is different from Google. I wonder why people thought with the frames setup: this is NOT done, but defend the Google setup, because it happens to serve them. Also, I wonder how I can turn thi
        • Of course, the Google cache is more complicated, and I guess it would really need a lawyer to sort this out. However there should be a few things noted:

          1. Laws are different in different countries. So even if in the Netherlands it is forbidden to show an external page in a frame, it may still allowed in other countries, so then Google would just have to avoid putting a server doing that in the Netherlands and put it in one of those other countries instead.

          2. Google doesn't show any advertisement on the cach
  • by atomic-penguin (100835) <wolfe21&marshall,edu> on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:12AM (#14939861) Homepage Journal
    There exists several legitimate ways to keep your web content out of google's indexes.  They respect all of the following methods.  Google even has a page titled "Google information for webmasters" which documents most of these.  On what grounds does one have to sue?

    * E-mail header that prevent google groups from archiving your message: "X-No-Archive: Yes".
    * Meta tags: <META NAME="Googlebot" CONTENT="nofollow">
    * Hyperlinks <a href="http://google.com" rel="nofollow">
    * robots.txt file with proper syntax
    * Google's link removal page: http://www.google.com/webmasters/remove.html
    • There exists several legitimate ways to keep your web content out of google's indexes. They respect all of the following methods. Google even has a page titled "Google information for webmasters" which documents most of these. On what grounds does one have to sue?

      * E-mail header that prevent google groups from archiving your message: "X-No-Archive: Yes".
      * Meta tags:
      * Hyperlinks
      * robots.txt file with proper syntax
      * Google's link removal page: http://www.google.com/webmasters/remove.html [google.com]

      Just because t

      • by Beolach (518512) <beolach@@@juno...com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:26AM (#14940207) Homepage Journal
        would it be OK for me to post a leter to everyone in my apartment block asking them to reply if they don't want me to break in to their home and take all their stuf. If they don't reply, I'm doing nothing illegal by breaking in and taking it all, right?
        I can't believe how often people make that argument. That's a horrible analogy. Browsing, spidering, indexing, or caching a publicly accessable website is nothing like breaking and entering. It's more like picking up a flier off a stack under a sign saying "TAKE A FLYER". If you don't want people taking your flyers, don't stick them under a sign saying "TAKE A FLYER": if you don't want people accessing your website, don't make it publicly accessable on the internet.
      • The difference is that anybody putting material on the web is doing so in the knowledge that others will be accessing the material.
      • would it be OK for me to post a leter to everyone in my apartment block asking them to reply if they don't want me to break in to their home and take all their stuf. If they don't reply, I'm doing nothing illegal by breaking in and taking it all, right?

        This is such a patently ridiculous analogy I'm amazed you even managed to come up with it...

        The difference is, when you post something on the web (or usenet), you are doing so with the *knowledge and intention* that your "content" will be freely available a

  • Troll (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:13AM (#14939866)
    My jaw dropped when I started reading this article... I was surprised that this guy has made the news.

    Gordon Roy Parker is the resident troll on various Usenet groups. He has been around for years, and alternates between posting nonsense disguised as an informed opinion and accusing other posters of plagiarizing his writing. I think he may also sell an e-book about seduction.

    Here are some references [google.com]
  • Suegle (Score:5, Funny)

    by JRGhaddar (448765) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:24AM (#14939901)
    Google should just start "Suegle" so we all can set up our own personal lawsuits against google.

    Features include:

    -the ability to blog about the lawsuit and how much of google's money we are trying to get.

    -RSS feeds of the latest filings & verdicts

    -Lawyers oncall via GTalk

    feel free to add any I'm missing
  • Ignorance (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by syrion (744778)
    It seems that many people who use the Internet, even extensively, are ignorant of its necessities. Back in the mid-Nineties, there were very few competent search engines, so finding anything of use was difficult. You needed to know good "link lists" for any topic you were interested in, and good link lists were hard to come by. If the technologically illiterate manage to make the basic search functions of a search engine illegal, what do they expect to happen? I suspect that this plaintiff would be unha
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:59AM (#14940285)
    So it's now confirmed that everyone has ISP status if they are just passing packets!
    So open up your wireless access point!
    Use it for denyability when filesharing!
    This is great for filesharing programs that pass packets "automatically and temporarily" as part of their protocol (always in proxy mode) such as MUTE http://www.planetpeer.de/wiki/index.php [planetpeer.de] (info link).
    It's too bad it's only U.S. District Court and not from an appeal.

    "When an ISP automatically and temporarily stores data without human intervention so that the system can operate and transmit data to its users, the necessary element of volition (willful intent to infringe) is missing," the court said.

  • Gordon Roy Parker so hates his own name he goes by the alias of Ray Gordon, which is also the name of a U.K. writer of erotica, and some people confuse the two of them. He hangs out on the usenet newsgroup alt.seduction.fast [seduction.fast] (or on Google Groups via the Web here [google.com].).

    Parker is a nutcase, a man who has serious (admitted) mental problems and doesn't seem to care how he alienates anyone who reads what he has to say, and apparently thrives on causing dissention. He is basically one of the funniest floor shows if you like watching crazy people act in an insane fashion. His detractors that post comments against him are almost as crazy as he is, and add to the hilarity of the situation there.

    Here's the situation on this lawsuit. Mr. Parker has written some books on how to seduce women, but his own stellar lack of success in doing so over the past few years plus the ineffectiveness of his ideas means he has essentially had to give away his books for free since no one will pay to read what he has to say. This compares with a number of men who make money through paid seminars in telling other men how to do exactly this. These men have been fairly successful in their conquests and tell other men how to learn to be able to do the same thing. Since Mr. Parker is unable to do this and can't teach anyone how since he doesn't have the slightest hint of a clue, all he can do is whine about it and threaten to sue anyone who disagrees with him.

    Well, Google - as it does for millions of other sites - cached the information on his website (where his books were available for downloading) in order to allow others to be able to search and find it. He didn't know that he can mark his site so Google won't do that, and then when he tried to change the status of one of his books from giving it away to charging for it, then discovered people could obtain the book for free from Google by using the cached copy, Gordo decided to sue Google. As with the other six lawsuits he's filed in Federal court (I'm not kidding), he lost again. Again I'm not kidding, Gordon has filed at least six cases in federal court and lost every one of them. A federal judge referred to his ability to handle a lawsuit as "... Plaintiff Gordon Roy Parker's... continued and inexcusable failure..." {Gordon Roy Parker v. "Wintermute" et. al.} 02-CV-7215 (Feb. 25, 2003, Federal District Court, Eastern District, Pennsylvania). The only other item on the world-wide-web referred to as a "continued and inexcusable failure" is the U.N. screwup in Kosovo that got people killed.

    It's said that you're not really a member of the newsgroup alt.seduction.fast until Ray threatens to sue you. He's threatened me with a lawsuit over my comments at least four times in something over two years I've been reading postings there. When I first got there I defended him because I thought he was being unfairly targeted by just about everyone else, but over time, from his own words, I learned just how much of a miserable misanthrope he is. He hates himself for what has happened to him, hates everyone else because most of the time he makes wild claims without proof, says things that don't make much sense or are completely wrong.

    He's also known for being a bully and the only thing he respects are people who won't back down from his threats. All he's ever done is threaten me with a lawsuit because he knows I'd clean his clock in a New York minute with a countersuit if he did actually sue me.

    One of the things he posted - on September 11, 2001 - was that everyone who died in the two towers deserved what they got, primarily because he wasn't hired by some companies that work there. He's referred to some of the people (women in general) who died there as "office whores," mainly because he couldn't get hired (probably because he's just as unpleasant in person as he is on USENET.) While he's entitled to his opinion, to make such a spiteful comment

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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