Ed Bilodeau

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This weblog had moved: http://www.coolweblog.com/bilodeau/

# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)

Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.

Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

c|net: Agence France Presse sues Google over news site :
"Without AFP's authorization, defendant is continuously and willfully reproducing and publicly displaying AFP's photographs, headlines and story leads on its Google News Web pages," AFP charged in its lawsuit.

AFP said it has informed Google that it is not authorized to use AFP's copyrighted material as it does and has asked Google to cease and desist from infringing its copyright work.

AFP alleged that Google has ignored such requests and as of the filing date of the lawsuit "continues in an unabated manner to violate AFP's copyrights."

I think Google is probably the highest profile instance of someone repurposing the intellectual property of others to make money, so it will be interesting and important to see how these issues are resolved. The Autolink feature in their Google Toolbar was another instance of the same thing.

I think there is a difference between using the contents of intellectual property to help people locate it (Google's original and still primary raison d'etre) and repurposing that intellectual property to provide other kinds of (revenue-generating) services. For Google the shift has been gradual, and I think they have missed the subtleties involved, the unstated, implicit trust between content providers, search engines, and users.

Although Google appears to have paid some attention to the Autolink fuss, in the long run, I'm afraid that the only thing that will get their attention are lawsuits like this one.

Keep in mind that unless shareholders will be satsfied with targeted ad revenues on Google Search, Google has to figure out how to navigate this mess in a way that is fair for everyone, or at least, in a way that is legal. The sense I get is that they are still very driven by the technical (ex. the Mac OS X version of the Google Search interface that was put up by a software engineer at Google and then pulled from the web, prob once the lawyers saw it).

There attitude is still very much, "lets see what we can get away with". They have a lot of political capital accumulated, and the seem intent on spending it.