The DMCA Still is Not An Alibi: How is Google Search Like the Ford Pinto?

As YouTube founder Steve Chen said of infringing CNN videos on YouTube: “[I] really don’t see what will happen. what? someone from cnn sees it? he happens to be someone with power? he happens to want to take it down right away. he gets in touch with cnn legal. 2 weeks later, we get a cease & desist [takedown] letter. we take the video down.”

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

The Pinto Gap

Google frequently defends what I would call the “Pinto Gap”–Google’s business practice named after the notorious Ford Pinto model with the exploding gas tank.  Why the “Pinto Gap”?  Because one would have to believe that Google has determined, just like Ford, that the cost benefit of programming their search algorithm to play whack a mole with artists profits them more than “doing the right thing.”  One day we may find out if there is a “Pinto memo” at Google.

google motto

Recall that the reason Ford was nailed so badly for products liability on the Pinto was that it turns out that Ford knew that the Pinto gas tank was dangerous and would probably explode.  Ford made a horrendously cold-blooded decision to put the Pinto into commerce anyway.  Why?  Because during the gap between the time that Ford put the car into commerce and the…

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