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Comment: Re:i used to complain (Score 1) 142

by Colz Grigor (#31642436) Attached to: Facebook's Plan To Automatically Share Your Data

lose facebook. you're life will improve

I made the decision to drop off Facebook on February 17th (nothing special about the date, my brain just remembers little details like that). I had in excess of 200 family, friends, and acquaintances, about 125 of which updated semi-regularly. Facebook's "push" mechanism and its critical mass of people was a very convenient way to keep up with the people I care about. For me, it wasn't a bonfire of vanities or shallow, like you suggest, because keeping up on the lives of friends is interesting and valuable. I can see it being a "garbage in, garbage out" kind of system, though: if you only update shallowness then perhaps you only keep shallow friends, and so for you Facebook relationships lack any sort of depth. My "real" friends are scattered around the world on five continents, and it would be a major time drain to have to have one-on-one conversations with each of them to keep up on their lives.

"Losing" Facebook was painful, socially, and I'm not entirely certain that my life has yet improved. Kind of like Google "leaving" China; sometimes we have to make hard choices based on our ethics. But I do agree with you that every time I read about Facebook privacy issues, I snicker just a little bit. Still, I hope that someday a company that convinces me that they are trustworthy develops a social networking tool that has a critical mass of people while simultaneously allowing me to access the information in the manner of my choosing. I haven't seen it yet, and my hopes aren't high.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 419

by Colz Grigor (#31547304) Attached to: YouTube <em>Was</em> Evil, and Google Knew It

Here's what I don't get about your argument.

Even if an employee thinks that a video is copyrighted, does the employee have a responsibility to determine whether the person who posted the video actually held the copyright? Because, you know, if the copyright owner opted to upload it to YouTube, YouTube would be violating no laws.

So if an employee suspects that content is copyrighted (because, unless they posted it themselves, they couldn't really know), in order to discover that it was illegal they would then need to ask the poster about the copyright ownership. Does the employee have the responsibility to do this? Does the employee even have an ethical obligation to do so?

So now if we're talking about copyright violations occurring on YouTube on a massive scale, but still only a small fraction of the total uploaded content, does YouTube have a legal or ethical obligation to confirm content ownership? The answer to this, under the DMCA safe harbor clause, is "No." YouTube is, however, obligated to take action if someone claiming to actually be the content owner says, "Hey! I didn't grant rights to upload that!"

It'd be a lot harder for YouTube to maintain safe harbor protection if its employees perpetuated the uploading of copyrighted content or ignored take-down notices. In this case, even though it appears that a founder may have uploaded copyrighted content, the other founders got him to stop. Because of this, I personally believe that the founder (Jawed) could find himself outside of the safe harbor protection, but only liable for the content that he uploaded. The company might even be found liable for this amount as an extension of that owner. Still, the damage plus penalties for that small amount of content are significantly smaller than Viacom is asking for. (If Google were found guilty and liable for $250,000 in damages, would Viacom declare this as a victory?)

Comment: Re:Android will keep Google in China (Score 1) 343

by Colz Grigor (#31505398) Attached to: Google Readying To Pull Out of China

Android will probably keep Google in the Chinese market and generate targeted advertising revenue in some manner.

Don't be too sure. Google makes nothing off of Android and a marginal amount from developers thanks to the market. Their Android revenue comes from search/advertising, and with Motorola supplanting the Google Search box in Android with a Bing Search box, there isn't a heck of a lot left for Google in China with Android.

Sometimes, when you release a product as open source, a competitor can eat your lunch with your own code.

Comment: Re:Flog me if you will... (Score 1) 61

by Colz Grigor (#31474766) Attached to: Google Makes Apps Script Available To All

Who are these people who would entrust every detail of their business and personal life to a for-profit company?

Chances are, it's you.

Do you have business-critical conversations over the telephone? Few suspected AT&T would open up their network to the NSA to listen to your conversations.

Do you use a social network to share with your acquaintances? Can you trust Facebook to keep your messages private?

Do you do anything on the Internet? If so, can you trust your service provider to not be doing the same sort of thing?

People trust companies with this sort of information all the time, but in the end we tend to continue to trust these companies until they do something to lose our trust. In the end, trust is just another economic value proposition; we weigh the cost of trusting with the cost of not trusting, and so far Google hasn't done anything to erode my trust. They came close with Buzz, but the end result was that they saw that they could improve things, and they did.

I've never seen Google sell the information it collects. Yes, it does perform data analysis, but it does this using automated systems in order to better-target their advertising, which is a far cry from my idea of "data mining". The closest that they come to data mining is with their GoogleGeist aggregated analysis, which they give away for free to everyone. Not offering services "out of the goodness of their corporate heart" doesn't have to be nearly as nefarious as you would lead us to conclude. I'm not saying that Google doesn't have the potential to become evil or careless, but I am saying that I don't think they have yet.

And yes, everyone, please keep asking these difficult questions. But don't try to lead us to false conclusions by asserting false assumptions, especially about Google's "silence". We're smarter than that...

Comment: Re:This is for Microsoft (Score 1) 346

by Colz Grigor (#31327024) Attached to: Microsoft Behind Google Complaints To EC

Google grabs your personal data and sells it to advertising companies? Not evil?

This is the the most common fallacy I've seen on Slashdot about what Google does. Yes, if Google actually did what you say, it'd be an evil company. Instead, Google creates a market where someone can bid for the opportunity to interact with some of your data (like search keywords and IP-based regions), but without knowing or learning anything else about you. If I'm a western boot manufacturer based in Gallup, I could bid for all New Mexico searches for the keyword "boots", and if you happen to have an IP address that's located in New Mexico and you search for the word "boots", if I'm the highest bidder at the time, my ad will be displayed to you. I don't get to learn anything else about you, and if your IP address happens to be in Arizona and I'm only paying for New Mexico queries, not only won't you see the ad, I still won't learn anything about you.

The free DNS and coming up with a potential replacement for HTTP and running fiber to homes is about solving speed problems. Making the web more useful. Because the more useful the Internet becomes, the more often people will use it, and if Google can increase the size of the market they will make more money. It's not about being charitable, but at the same time it's also not about letting Google take control and "call the shots". Especially since any time Google really does something to lose your trust, you can easily stop using their services and communicate to everyone else just how Google wronged you.

But if you're going to spew about how Google wronged you, back it up with some facts, please. I don't flag you as a Google hater. I flag you as an ignorant person who pretends to know about something that you actually don't.

Comment: Re:Bread and circuses (Score 4, Insightful) 391

by Colz Grigor (#31259532) Attached to: Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video

Or, at the very least, disable all uploading ability on YouTube or posting ability on Blogger or any other user-contributed Google sites from Italian users, citing this case and the unwillingness of Google to accept any more user submissions from Italian users until the case is resolved. I think that would be totally fair and completely within Google's rights.

Google could do that, but That's precisely what Berlusconi wants in the first place: complete control over all media in Italy. It would send more of a message to stop accepting advertisements by Italians, so Google can claim no Italian revenue and pay no Italian taxes.

Comment: Re:copying grants the right to profit from other's (Score 1) 95

by Colz Grigor (#31229812) Attached to: Grimmelmann On Google Books Settlement Fairness Hearing

That's a great question, and I suspect that the answer to this is buried somewhere in all the court paperwork. Call me lazy: I RTFA, but I didn't real all of the court documentation...

Here are some ways that it _could_ work fairly:
1.) An amount set by the clearinghouse. The clearinghouse would act on behalf of (and in the interest of) the owner and set the price.
2.) An amount set by congress.
3.) An amount determined by a long-term auction (determining how much buyers are willing to pay) by the seller.
4.) An amount determined by a long-term auction by the clearinghouse.

In the case of orphaned works, so long as "due diligence" to collect fair proceeds for the sale of the work has occurred, I'm not actually worried that the owner of the work doesn't eventually collect what they actually wanted. Chances are, the money they receive will be more than they would have received otherwise. Plus, once they register as the work's owner, they can begin to set their own price.

Comment: Re:OMG (Score 2, Insightful) 95

by Colz Grigor (#31226882) Attached to: Grimmelmann On Google Books Settlement Fairness Hearing

The fastest way to get as much into the Public Domain as soon as possible is to abandon copyright, therefore I cannot agree with your premise.

I believe that Copyright exists to provide a person with the legal right of control over works which they own (and recourse should their control be usurped) up to a reasonable point, when the ownership is transferred to the state. That "reasonable point" has been debated and extended over time, complicating our current system.

Abandonware, or orphaned works, don't have a legal entity beyond works which do not have an identifiable owner, however so long as we have a date for the work's creation the work is still subject to that "reasonable point", and any time an owner can be identified, the work is no longer abandoned or orphaned.

If your principle of abandonware were instituted, how would a work be declared as abandonware, and how would you deal with the situation when the owner of an abandoned work comes forward after-the-fact?

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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