Thursday, September 28, 2006

The google dilemma

Google was recently in the Belgian court, fighting charges of copyright infringement. The charges were pressed by Copiepresse, an organisation which represents a number of newspapers in Belgium. The court ruled against google.
Google cried foul, arguing that showing the headline and a couple of lines of an article on its search engine could hardly be labelled as copyright infringement. They have even posted a blog on their official blogsite commenting on this.
I found this interesting because I feel that this is a problem that we are going to encounter time and again, in our increasingly online world. Right now, I dont think I am very clear as to what would constitute copyright infringement and what would not. For example, is it copyright infringement if I quote some website in my blog? I would definitely make sure that I attribute the quote to the website. But when you think about it, that is exactly what google news is doing. So,why exactly is it illegal?
Maybe it is time for government authorities the world over to sit down and figure out what is ok and what is not. We need a set of clear guidelines. Till then, internet users need to tread carefully and understand the fuzzy line between right and wrong.


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