Category Archives: Google

Stupid woman sues Google for stupid reason

I do like it when I get the opportunity to highlight someone who’s just really fucking stupid in a really frivolous and meaningless way. Often when I’m compiling material for a blog post or a TFU Friday video it’s fairly heavy or at least contentious.

But some people are stupid, pure and simple. I like to keep my moments of stupidity private. I certainly don’t do things that would draw the world’s attention to my idiocy. Not so, Lauren Rosenberg of Park City, Utah. She used Google maps to get walking directions. All fine so far. Then the directions she was following essentially suggested she should walk down a highway that didn’t have a footpath. But that’s OK because she isn’t a moron.

Oh wait, yes she is.

This moron walked into traffic on a highway and surprise, surprise, she got hit by a car. That’s stupid and embarrassing but if that was the end of it I’d cut her some slack. Everyone does stupid things sometimes.

That wasn’t the end of it.

This unbelievable fucking moron thinks she now has the right to sue Google because she’s stupid enough to walk onto a highway. If she was dead she’d be a sure thing for this year’s Darwin award but she’s alive so she’s a prime candidate for most frivolous lawsuit of the year. I’ll go out on a limb and say she’s going to lose the case, not least because Google include a disclaimer about this sort of thing.

So she suffered a painful accident. She’s a laughing stock around the world. And I doubt she’s learned anything by it. Stupid people are like that.

61 Comments

Filed under General Angriness, Google

I think Google has blacklisted me

I noticed the weirdest thing today.  One of my regular YouTube viewers mentioned he couldn’t find my blog on Google.  When I check some of my old standby search terms (“Mr Angry”, “Angry Blog”, “foreskin blog”) I wasn’t showing up.  At first I thought they might have recalibrated their algorithm which resulted in me being moved further down the list.

Then I actually put in “angryaussie” and got back a whole bunch of stuff from YouTube and some other sites but nothing from my blog.  It’s always possible that this is not about me specifically – maybe they’ve just demoted hosted blogs generally.  But I have no idea how to find out what’s happening.

If anyone has any expertise in this area (that includes working out what the hell happened and what the hell I can do about it) I’d appreciate some advice.

26 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Google

Transcript of secret Google/Viacom negotiations leaked

Teh intarwebs are a funny series of tubes. By now, everyone who even remotely cares (and millions who don’t) know that Viacom have launched a US$1 billion lawsuit against YouTube. The legal heavy hitting is all handled by Google lawyers who have been preparing for this battle for years – well before they bought YouTube.
It seems that one of Google’s lawyers has a bit of a thing for foreskins. And as I’m one of the web’s renowned experts on the subject of foreskins he became a reader of my blog. And now he’s passed me some very interesting information.

“Hey,” he emailed me, “you’re a heavy YouTube user and you hate the maximalist approach to copyright enforcement, right? Well, you’ll be interested in this: we record all our negotiations without the other party knowing. Here’s the audio from our final discussion with Viacom before they launched their lawsuit.”

And what a revelation that piece of audio was. Because not everyone is able to listen to audio, I’m posting a transcript here. That, and the fact that it’s way easier for me to make up a transcript than it would be for me to fake the audio. The transcript starts at a pivotal point of the negotiation, when dollar amounts are being discussed.

- – – – – start transcript – – – – -

Google Lawyer: Look, we still say that your best option is to establish your own channel on YouTube. Promote the clips that you want to promote. Run competitions. We’ll work with you to help you reach the community. This is a demographic you’re desperate to reach. They’re watching TV less and less. This is a golden opportunity for you to regain some relevance and maybe still be around in ten years.

Viacom Lawyer: But you’re making money. And we’re not getting any of it. You HAVE to give us money.

GL: We don’t think that argument holds up legally. Plus, it’s really gross the way you drool every time you mention money.

VL: You smug bastards! Do you know how much it pisses people off when you act like you can do whatever you want without asking? Even when you’re right? Our legal opinion is that when you make ad revenue from a page that displays our content you owe us money. We think our argument is right because we make more money that way!

GL: Why do you not understand that this grows your audience, it doesn’t take away from you? Some of your highest profile creators like the makers of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and South Park are on record as saying more distribution is better for them even when there’s no direct remuneration. The bigger their audience, the more opportunities they have.

VL: Creators? Who gives a fuck what they think? We’re the owners! Those bitches are bought and paid for. It’s just as well they don’t want any money from you because we aren’t planning on giving them any. This is about VIACOM not those fuckers. They can’t afford lawyers.

GL: OK, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I’m about to show you a confidential document. We’ve developed a revenue sharing plan based around how Adsense works. If your content is really as valuable as you think then you’ll make a packet from the ads that will feature on the same pages as your content. From our experience, these revenue projections are very accurate.

VL: But we demanded eleventy-squillion dollars! That figure is nowhere near eleventy-squillion.

GL: Well, first, eleventy-squillion isn’t a real number. Second, that’s our one and only offer. You take that or you take nothing.

VL: You can’t talk like that to us! It’s your arrogance that pisses us off as much as our content being stolen. That’s why we’re suing. We’re going to prove you make your money by stealing from us.

GL: Sue all you like. Our arrogance is commensurate with our intelligence. Your aggressiveness is commensurate with your greed. We’re going to defend ourselves based on law, not a sense of entitlement. Try actually reading the DMCA – we respond to any and all takedown requests and we’re protected. It’s there in black and white and it’s backed up by legal precedents.

VL: You’d have nothing without all the copyrighted material on YouTube!

GL: That’s a matter of opinion. Here’s a statement of fact: you work with us on our terms or you get nothing.

VL: (walking out the door) We’ll see you in court.

GL: Yeah, and we’ll see you begging on the street in ten years after your company collapses into ruin because you couldn’t adapt. And you know what? I’m going to piss in your begging bowl.

VL: (response not clearly audible – sounds like “you bitch”)

GL: (shouting after departing Viacom lawyers) Here’s a business plan you can have for free: develop a site more compelling than YouTube and you won’t have to worry. Everyone will abandon YouTube and come to you instead. Good luck wrapping your head around that, you chump!

- – – – – end transcript – – – – -

I’ve always thought lawyers were boring but it seems that sometimes they get to have some real fun.

9 Comments

Filed under Google, YouTube

Expensive Google schwag

When I was writing my piece on Monday about Googlejuice I stumbled across an advertisement for an AdSense presentation Google were having in Melbourne on Wednesday.  As I’d never seen a Google presentation I thought it might be interesting.  Besides, WordPress may not support AdSense on hosted blogs right now but they might in the future and I might be able to make a few bob.

It was an interesting enough presentation, the speaker that interested me the most was the founder of Geekzone, a New Zealand based geek website.  He was interesting because he makes enough money from AdSense to quit his fairly lucrative day job and run his site full time.  So it can be done.

I had to take the afternoon off work to attend the presentation and, as I’m a contractor, that means I don’t get paid for that half of the day.  In terms of measurable outcomes I got a Google schwag bag and the only thing I’ll be keeping out of that is a Google pen.  So that’s essentially a $300 pen.

It had better write bloody well.

7 Comments

Filed under Google

YouTube and copyright – who is the greediest?

A lot of people are discussing the latest tiff involving copyrighted material and YouTube.  Viacom (parent company of MTV and Comedy Central, among others) have issued YouTube with an order to take down 100,00 videos they claim are infringing their copyrights.  A lot of media are reporting this as a black eye for YouTube but I’ll take a wild guess and say the Google/YouTube attitude can be summed up as “see if we fucking care.”  It’s hard to imagine the removal of 100,00 videos having much impact on a site that sees around a million video uploads every day.

BoingBoing do a good job of pointing out that this action goes beyond obnoxious to the point where it may well be illegal.  There are a lot of competing forces and motivations at work here but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the dominant one, for pretty much all parties, is greed. 

The most obviously greedy parties are the film/TV/music publishing conglomerates who seem to think that it’s their god-given right to be paid again and again and again for the same thing.  Although this isn’t really the issue here, it seriously pisses me off that it isn’t enough when we, the consumers, pay for a legal copy of something.  These companies think they have the right to dictate what we can do with something after we purchase it.  What devices we can play our legally purchased entertainment on.  Where we can enjoy it.  Fuck these companies.  They know they can’t beat criminal pirates and profiteers so they fuck over the soft targets – us.

The one that that gives me a sense of satisfaction is that the actions of these companies are so brain-bendingly wrong that they are essentially committing a slow and painful suicide.  Ask any marketing maven what’s the best sort of advertising and they’ll tell you: word of mouth.  Actual recommendation from real people who truly love a product.  They spend millions faking this.  And who is the most common target of the legal actions taken by these companies?  The most passionate evangelising fans they supposedly want so much.

There are a lot of complexities to the situation, not least a fear that many companies express: if we don’t actively seek to protect our property from everyone then we’ll have no defence against the really serious abuses of criminals who are straight up stealing and making bootlegs for commercial gain.  The fact that this reasoning is neither logical nor legally accurate (it’s a conflation of trademark dilution with copyright – a legal fallacy) doesn’t seem to bother the companies in question.

The most flattering thing I can say about these companies is that they’re confused and scared.  They don’t understand what’s happening and they’re scared of being left behind.  Google have come along and invented (or at least improved and popularised) a whole new industry – ad supported targeted search –  that’s making them billions.  Content owners of various stripes think to themselves:

“Hey, Google couldn’t sell ads if people weren’t looking for our content.  They’re making all those billions off our property!  I want those billions!”

Note that I didn’t say content creators.  While many content creators are similarly up in arms it’s the big publishing companies that are behind this.  The actual creators of content rarely make much money.  Of the billions made worldwide by the entertainment industries, probably less than 1% goes to the people who actually created the content.

Google (for example) is taking nothing away from these companies.  They are opening up potentially huge and lucrative new markets.  Revenue streams beyond the wildest dreams of these greedy fucks.  But they can’t look beyond “someone else is making money and I want it.” 

To be fair, there’s abundant evidence of considerable greed on Google’s part.  Their business is built on the fact that other people have created content that users want to find.  They’re making billions off this fact.  And any smart businessperson would want to keep as much of that for themselves as possible.  And steadfastly maintaining the line “we’re not making money from your content, we’re making money from our technology” is ethically a grey area at best.

Plus, the arrogance repeatedly displayed by Google has to be pretty grating.  We’re smart, you’re dumb, do what we say and everything will be all right.  Even when they’re right, that sort of talk pisses people off.  I can imagine a conversation at GooTube proceeding like the following exchange:

Entertainment Company: You’re making money from our content.

GooTube: We’re giving you free advertising.  You don’t understand how this generation thinks.  They don’t watch TV, the go online for entertainment.  We’re delivering the next generation to you, you should be thanking us.

EC: But you should share all the money you’re making from advertising with us.  You wouldn’t be making that money without us!

GT: Your content is a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions of videos on our site.  We don’t need your content, you need us.

EC: But people are seeing our stuff without paying!  We want more money!

GT: We’ve changed our mind – you pay us for the privilege of being on our site.

EC: That’s it!  We demand you remove all our copyrighted material!

GT: Whatever.  Don’t let the door smack you on the ass on the way out.

And to bring it back to YouTube, there’s greed of a different sort being displayed by the users who upload copyrighted material.  It’s the greed for attention.  For all the high-minded talk of community and sharing I think it’s fair to say users who upload quality content created by other people are hoping for some reflected coolness to rub off on themselves.  They want people to watch what they’ve put up and think they’re cool for having posted it.  This is a relatively small sin but I think people need to be honest about their motivations. 

For my part, I’m really greedy for attention for my original work.  So I’d be really happy if all these TV, movie and music clips fucked right off.  I really think YouTube is untouchable on this front.  Maybe I’m too close to the whole “community” part of YouTube to see the importance of these clips to the continued health of the site.  The most popular “channels” are either original content creators or officially sponsored corporate ones.  Maybe usage would die off if every unauthorised clip was taken down but I’d doubt it.

The thing is, Google have at least as much money to fight this cause as anyone who’s going to come after them.  Plus, Google are the experts in this field – the entertainment companies are started from a position of ignorance.  Greed, ignorance and huge egos – what a combination.  The big entertainment companies have fucked actual entertainers and audiences for years.

The time may have come for them to realise that it they don’t make nice and hold hands it will be their turn to bend over and take it.

9 Comments

Filed under Google, Internet, YouTube