Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Position Angle

Surprise! As reported by the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets, Google is fighting Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement law suit against YouTube.

Google, not surprisingly, is arguing "safe harbor" under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, claiming "Viacom’s complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression." In other words, Google is positioning itself as the defender of freedom of information and freedom of the Internet while casting Viacom as the destroyer of those freedoms.

You have to hand it to Google's legal team for always positioning the company on the angle of freedom of the Internet, of information, etc. And since Internet law, is, well, murky at best, Google is on the verge of writing Internet law that we will all have to live with, whether we like it or not. You could almost say we've been brainwashed by Google, and lured into a false sense of security that will be sealed by "Google Laws" so we're trapped.

Contrast Google's growing legal track record of the "freedom position angle" against Microsoft, another gigantic technology company quite familiar with the court system, in more than one country. Doesn't seem to matter what angle Microsoft tries to present, it always comes out sounding like a control freak, and further cements its reputation as the "evil empire," or the corporation everyone loves to hate.

It would be absolutely fascinating to compare the legal teams of both corporations and see what is about Google's team that everyone seems to love, and how they are consistently able to cast the other party as the evil-doer, even when there is a gray area that casts a very dark shadow over the colorful Google logo. And what is it about the Microsoft legal team that seems to perpetuate the "evil empire" persona?

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