Google’s Fallacious Piracy Self-Study (Part 1) | Music Tech Policy

The Context

Even if you discount the moral hazard involved with funding a study of yourself, the Google survey of Google’s involvement with piracy is a breathtaking document. I would suggest that the self-study rests on a number of core principles for Google’s business:

1. Nothing to See Here, Move Along: First and foremost is Google’s deep and abiding desire to deflect criticism in the press, avoid civil lawsuits and settle criminal investigations. It has both succeeded and failed at all three. The fact that a company tries to avoid these things is not special; the degree to which Google tries to manage them is quite special.

The self-study is itself an exercise in all three and supports the most important public perception that Google draws on daily to succeed in its consumer facing business: Sympathetic trust. To paraphrase an old California pol, you know all the bad they’ve done, but you like them anyway.

This magical thinking only lasts for so long. Whether its Eric Schmidt’s New York soundproof man-cave from which no scream can emerge, doing a favor for journalist Tom Brokaw by providing a private jet for a Silicon Valley speaking engagement with jet fuel subsidized by the American taxpayer, siphoning piles of data to the National Security Agency under circumstances the average citizen will probably never learn the details of, or paying a $500,000,000 fine for violating the Controlled Substances Act for indiscriminately promoting the sale of prescription drugs (e.g., to addicts and kids), the press and the public is starting to wake up to the game.

And not just the game, but the magnitude of the game. As a senior chief once said, sorry pal, the BS filter is full.

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One thought on “Google’s Fallacious Piracy Self-Study (Part 1) | Music Tech Policy

  1. Google claims to believe that You Tube has been good and is good for artists. Yet they are firmly against allowing artists to decide if their work should be posted which obviously contradicts that statement. If You Tube postings were good for artists, then it would not have to post their work against their will, would they? They invested heavily in campaign contributions to get the “Safe Harbor” provision in the DMCA which essentially allowed the extensive posting of artists work against their will as long as they had a take down option. The take down option was and is a joke, because by time a take down occurred there could be easily thousands or more of viewings, causing massive losses to the artist and massive gains to You Tube. And there was no deterrent to prevent someone else from uploading the same item, so attempting to police the site was futile and costly. The Viacom – Google suit revealed internal You Tube emails that showed that the vast majority of traffic (that is revenue) was copyrighted works. And this was encouraged. When You Tube was sold to Google for 1.65 billion dollars, that value was based on revenue generated from posting of copyrighted works. Another words the majority of their revenue was generated from works they invested nothing in themselves and was used against the will of those that invested and created those said works.

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