Google Privacy

“A federal judge in New York has ordered Google to turn over to Viacom a database linking users of YouTube, the Web’s largest video site by far, with every clip they have watched there”

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/03/technology/04youtube.php

I’m guessing as this is only at a federal court level it’ll be appealed so the final outcome is some way off. It does make you think about the amount of information Google gathers on its users habits.

The information is valuable and in some ways allowing Google to collect it in return for their ‘free’ service is one thing, but third parties having it is another matter. I wonder how that sort of thing would be interpreted under our privacy laws?

I guess I subconsciously assume that nothing is entirely private and everything could come back to haunt you, but being a heavy user of Google I’m a bit concerned that they information they collect could be passed onto another company – in this case Viacom. Viacom claims it is not really interested in the what individuals are doing, it just wants the information to gain an over-all view of what people are doing with its copyrighted material – yeah right! I cannot believe for one second that were a company such as Viacom to get it’s hands on such information that it would use it for anything other than commercial gain.

The problem with the traditional entertainment media – film and music companies – is that they seem perpetually stuck in the dark ages of the pre-internet days. The sooner they accept that people are going to share and use their products in unexpected ways, and find new ways of making money that are not based on what is so clearly an outdated business model, the better. Because if they think that breaches of copyright on the scale that it is now internationally, can be fought through the courts they are out of touch.

There is nothing to gain from being technically right, when the people you are punishing is actually now the majority of your customers. It would be safe to say that there would be very few people who haven’t broken copyright laws when it comes to music or film. Companies like Viacom should be embracing the future and look for new ways to add value to their products, this is the only way forward. No army of lawyers is going to changed what could be seen as a complete cultural shift internationally in the way consumers view music and film.

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