As part of the settlement, Google is paying $125-million to settle the legal claims, pay legal costs for the two groups, and — more importantly — will set up a new entity called the Book Rights Registry, which will be responsible for distributing payments that come from online access to books provided through Google (and through any similar programs created by other providers). The registry will also be responsible for locating rightsholders for old and out-of-print books, collecting and maintaining accurate info, and for providing a way for rightsholders to “request inclusion in or exclusion from the project.” In effect, Google is setting up a body that does what ASCAP and similar groups do for musicians.
“Without proof that persons other than the plaintiff visited the defendantâ€™s website, clicked on the hyperlinks, and read the articles complained of, there cannot be a finding of publication.”
However, the judge added that:
“I do not wish to be misunderstood. It is not my decision that hyperlinking can never make a person liable for the contents of the remote site. For example, if Mr. Newton had written â€˜the truth about Wayne Crookes is found hereâ€™ and â€˜hereâ€™ is hyperlinked to the specific defamatory words, this might lead to a different conclusion.”
The legality of linking has been a thorny issue for some time, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. As this handy guide from the Chilling Effects website describes, linking to certain material — including that which infringes copyright — has been found to be illegal by the courts in the past. Google itself has been forced to remove certain links from its search results, including (in one case) links to sites where users could download copyright-infringing copies of the Kazaa Lite software. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a rundown on some cases as well.
In what has to be a bandwidth cost-related move, Revision3 is also stopping distribution of two shows, including social-media guru Gary Vaynerchuk’s popular Wine Library. In a blog post about the moves, CEO Jim Louderback says that PopSiren and Internet Superstar “had great promise, but never really found their audience.” The company is also stopping production of a long-running show called Pixel Perfect, which was apparently an instructional program about using Photoshop. Some of the shutdowns have predictably had spinoff effects, as Liz Gannes describes at NewTeeVee.
Cox, who was the founding editor of Gawker’s Wonkette blog before moving to Time magazine — and has also written for Mother Jones magazine, as well as for Feed magazine and the godfather of all snarky blogs, Suck.com — has set up a tiered approach to reporting that gives her sponsors a chance to participate in her reporting to some extent. It includes:
Nick took issue with this line of argument, asking:
“Is the network effect really the main engine fueling Google’s dominance of the search market? I would argue that it certainly is not.”
In fact, he says categorically that Google’s rise to dominance has “nothing to do with the network effect.”
I don’t know why a smart guy like Nick would make an argument like that, but I think he’s totally wrong. Let’s review what the network effect means: As Tim describes it, it refers to systems that “get better the more people use them,” which is a pretty good paraphrasing of the Wikipedia definition as well as other definitions you can find in various places. The classic example used is the telephone, which becomes more useful the more people use it.