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Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 2) 62

I understand what copyright is intended to do, but I see little evidence that a 90+ year term and other onerous terms are means to this goal.

I'd be the first to agree that the current implementation of copyright is deeply flawed in several ways, including the steady creep up to the current absurd durations you mentioned. I am in no way supporting that side of the copyright system, as you can tell by many other posts I've made including to this very discussion.

However, most use of copyrighted work both by creators and by pirates still happens in the first few years, and in practice shortening the duration to something much more reasonable seems unlikely to affect the behaviour of either side very much. The basic principle is still that copyright establishes similar market incentives to create information-based products to the incentives established by respecting physical private property when it comes to creating physical products.

And of course, as Google points out, the search index could not have occurred under such a regime. I shouldn't have to sell you on the usefulness of internet search on society[...]

I'm something of a skeptic in that regard. My personal suspicion is that if we didn't have the likes of Google indexing everything, we'd just have evolved some other sort of directory/index system, along with including more explicit links in our Web content and probably making more use of bookmarks for starting points relevant to our personal interests. There were already plenty of moves in these directions in parallel with early search engine development, some much more promising than others, and the natural connectedness of the Web would lend itself just fine to scaling up these sorts of alternatives.

Maybe that would even have become a better system than what we have today. By its nature, an automated search engine will always be vulnerable to gaming whatever system it implements. Today's arrangement also locates an awful lot of power centrally with the big search engines, even though they are ultimately only useful because of any good content created by others that they help a visitor to find. When sites that would be of interest to visitors can rise and fall almost entirely by a change in the ranking algorithm at a search engine, over which the site has no control and for which the search engine has no accountability, I'm not sure everything is really working as wonderfully as we sometimes assume.

Automation has so far proven to be a questionable benefit over curation, and while it's certainly true that today's search engines are often better for finding interesting or useful information than the portals and web rings of the 1990s, that's not really a fair comparison. It's called web browsing for a reason, and I truly think we've lost something that had great potential there with the rise of the search engines.

Comment Re:You do not get to define innovation for anyone (Score 2) 62

When Google first launched their search engine, they didn't have ads in the way they and many other free-to-use online services do today. They were one of the pioneers of the modern online world where everything is expected to be "free", privacy is invaded routinely, advertising of questionable value to almost everyone other than the ad networks dominates, and web pages are so full of tracking and advertising junk that an entire ecosystem of tools had to be invented just to make the web not suck more than it did 20 years ago. Whatever benefits any of Google's services might have offered relative to the alternatives we had before, I'm still not sure it was worth the trade-off.

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 62

Given that vastly more work is created and that work is distributed to vastly more people under copyright-supported activities than via any other economic model in human history, I think your "making it less efficient" claim needs some supporting evidence.

The point of copyright is to create an effective market where the same sorts of effects that motivate making more and better physical products also motivate making more and better creative works.

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 62

America's founders knew that ideas and innovations belonged to the public not locked up behind laws, that's why we have limited copyrights, so that eventually works will go into the public domain to spark new ideas.

Somehow I doubt the founding fathers had industrial scale barratry and copyright lasting longer than any human lifetime in mind, nor on the other hand that large businesses should be able to make staggering profits by exploiting the works of others in almost textbook examples of what copyright was meant to prevent and get away with it because of fair use or safe harbour provisions.

Comment Re:You do not get to define innovation for anyone (Score 4, Informative) 62

But Google's major innovation wasn't inventing the search engine, it was monetizing their services by finding ways to attach advertising to the work of others.

If that's how they want to define innovation, then I'm OK if they find it difficult to do more of it.

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 2) 62

You do realise that the US is far more liberal with its fair use provisions than almost anywhere else in the world? And that this has been a frequent source of debate in both the creative industries and among international diplomats, since it's questionable whether the US is actually complying with its own treaty obligations while at the same time trying to push ever longer copyright durations and more restrictive practices in other areas onto others?

Ultimately, Google makes the vast majority of its money from advertising, and that advertising is attached in one way or another to content whose value was entirely generated by others, whether we're talking about the main search engine, YouTube, or almost any of Google's other major services.

This is not to say that their services can't be useful, but the idea that innovation is some terrible challenge if you can't exploit all the content that others create to the n-th degree is just silly. As a counterpoint to your arguments about tanking the economy, I give you China, where copyright enforcement is essentially non-existent and (by Western standards) so are the professional creative industries. The primary innovation in content creation in China is arguably their skill at copying the work of others without having to contribute anything back in return.

Comment Don't worry (Score 5, Funny) 331

Changing requirements aren't a problem. All you need is to define a language where they can be specified precisely, and hire someone who can translate your real world requirements into that language. Once you've got those, you can still do away with programmers because the new magic code generation tools will do everything else for you.

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