Microsoft Lambasts Google Over Copyrights

Microsoft Corporation looks like it’s willing to up the ante in its growing confrontation with Internet titan Google, calling Google’s stance toward copyright protections “cavalier” and claiming the company’s business model “systematically violates copyright.”

In prepared remarks for the Association of American Publishers, Microsoft general counsel Tom Rubin argues that Google’s business model is essentially to freely take content prepared and produced by others, then “rak[e] in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs.” Google’s success, he argues, comes off the backs of the creators, producers, and publishers or books, video, and software.

Rubin’s comments run parallel to assertions being made in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Google by five major book publishers and organized by the trade group Rubin will be addressing. Rubin also sides with publisher’s in criticizing Google Books, a project in which Google plans to scan the entire contents of both public domain and copyright works and make them available via the Web. Google Books makes entire copies of copyrighted material, but shows only snippets of those pieces to users. Rubin sums up Google’s pitch: “In essence, Google is saying to you and to other copyright owners: ‘Trust us— you’re protected. We’ll keep the digital copies secure, we’ll only show snippets, we won’t harm you, we’ll promote you.'”

Google believes its actions fall under so-called “fair use” exceptions to copyright law, and that the company doesn’t need to ask for permission from copyright holders before making its copies. Microsoft currently takes the position that permission must first be obtained from copyright holders before making a digital copy of their work, even if end users only see excerpts. “Concocting a novel ‘fair use’ theory,” writes Rubin, “Google bestowed upon itself the unilateral right to make entire copies of copyrighted books not covered by these publisher agreements without first obtaining the copyright holder’s permission.” Rubin goes on to assert that Google’s recent acquisition of popular video sharing site YouTube is a further demonstration of the company’s “cavalier” approach to copyright, and characterizes Google’s track record on copyright protection as “weak at best.”

Rubin’s remarks are clearly intended to position Microsoft—and its Live Book Search product, currently in beta—as a better long-term partner for the publishing and content production industries when compared to Google. However, Rubin’s remarks aren’t without irony: while Google has at least made claims it will implement technologies to detect and prevent uploading of copyright-violating videos uploaded to YouTube, Microsoft is taking a no-filter stance with its beta via sharing site Soapbox. In a memo to movie and television industry executives last week, Microsoft said it will work closely with them to take down infringing content uploaded to the service, but doesn’t plan to implement automated filtering technologies to detect and prevent upload of infringing content.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

A library at your fingertips: The 101 best free Kindle books

You shouldn't always have to pay for a good read. Here are our picks for the best free Kindle books, so you don't have to sort through thousands of titles on Amazon and Google Play. We divided them into various genres, so dive in.
Computing

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Product Review

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review

As our Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review shows, adding an 8th-gen Intel Core processor to an excellent thin and light chassis makes for a great combination.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for something without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses with one of these handy services.
Computing

Both the Razer Blade and XPS 15 are capable laptops, but which is better?

We pit the latest Dell XPS 15 against the latest Razer Blade 15 to see which machine meets the needs of most people. Both are a fast, attractive, and well-built, but they still appeal to different users.
Computing

Logitech’s distinctive new ergonomic mouse looks as good as it feels

Logitech's first true ergonomic mouse sports an interesting tilted design that encourages less muscle strain. We spent some time with the MX Vertical to see how comfortable it is and determine whether or not we'd prefer it to a standard…
Computing

Use one of these password managers to stay safe online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper passcode manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options. Find the right password software…
Mobile

Airport’s low-tech solution to digital chaos involves the humble whiteboard

A U.K. airport has suffered a major computer error, caused by data connection problems, which has stopped flight boards from showing crucial passenger information. The solution is wonderfully low-tech.
Computing

Here’s how to watch Nvidia’s GeForce event at Gamescom

Today is August 20, and that means Nvidia may showcase its GeForce RTX 20 Series of add-in graphics cards for gamers. We’re sticking with that name rather than the previous GTX 11 Series brand due to today’s date.
Computing

HTC breaks down VR barriers by bringing Oculus Rift titles to Viveport

HTC's Viveport store and subscription service will be opened to Oculus Rift users in September this year, letting them buy titles directly and take advantage of the monthly game-delivery service.
Computing

Dell’s new fast-refresh Freesync display could be your next great gaming screen

Dell has debuted a pair of new gaming TN displays, each offering high refresh rates and fast response times to gamers alongside Freesync technology. There are 24- and 27-inch versions of the new screens available now.
Computing

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing

Nvidia revealed its new GeForce RTX 2000 Series of add-in desktop graphics cards for gamers during its pre-show Gamescom press event. The new family is based on Nvidia’s new “Turing” architecture focusing on real-time ray tracing.
Computing

Nvidia GeForce RTX GPUs are coming to Alienware and Predator gaming desktops

Dell and Acer have both announced support for Nvidia's new GeForce RTX 2000 graphics cards in refreshed gaming desktops, including Predator Orion series systems and Alienware desktops.