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March 06, 2007

Microsoft's attempt to marginalize Google over copyright

by Josh Bernoff

Microsoft says Google is too cavalier with copyrights, and has specifically cited its book search project.

Let's see this for what it is. I'm not going to get into the philosophical debate about fair use -- today. Microsoft is engaged in competition on every front with Google, from apps to search. This means if you are fighting Google, Microsoft wants to be your friend. And the copyright holders are fighting Google.

Microsoft turned its lawsuit with Netscape/AOL into an alliance with AOL Time Warner around DRM. It did the same with Disney. The more DRM there is the harder it is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." (Google's vision). Also, the more Microsoft DRM there is, the more Microsoft can make sure that non-Microsoft platforms (like Macs and OLPCs) are at a disadvantage.

This doesn't mean that Google gets to be as cavalier as it wants with copyright -- we need a better solution here. But let's be sure we see the whole strategic picture here.

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