Feeds

Google wins Usenet copyright case

Search engine allowed to search

Top three mobile application threats

Google has won a legal action brought over a Usenet posting that the search giant archived and partially displayed in search results. Writer Gordon Roy Parker had claimed that this breached his copyright in the posting, a chapter of an e-book.

Parker, who represented himself in the suit, publishes online under the name “Snodgrass Publishing Group”. One of his publications was an e-book entitled “29 Reasons Not To Be A Nice Guy” and at some time he posted Reason 6 from this book onto a Usenet forum, the worldwide network of discussion groups.

In August 2004 he filed a lawsuit, alleging that when Google robots had automatically scanned and archived the posting in a cache, the search engine had breached his copyright in the material. Google had also directly infringed his copyright by including excerpts of the text in search results, he said.

Judge R Barclay Surrick of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania did not agree.

“It is clear that Google’s automatic archiving of Usenet postings and excerpting of websites in its results to users’ search queries do not include the necessary volitional element to constitute direct copyright infringement,” he wrote.

Nor did he accept that the automatic caching of material amounted to infringement, following a January ruling by the Navada District Court on this very point.

There was no contributory copyright infringement either, said Judge Surrick. Parker had claimed that Google was in breach because it allowed others to view infringed content, but had not provided evidence – particularly in relation to Google’s knowledge of the supposedly infringing activity – to support this claim.

Parker also alleged that Google was guilty of defamation because it archived defamatory comments made about the writer in other Usenet postings and websites.

But Judge Surrick dismissed the claim, advising that Google was immune from prosecution in respect of third party postings by virtue of a provision in the Communications Decency Act. This generally grants immunity from suit to those who provide material on the internet that was written by others.

The Communications Decency Act also protected Google against Parker’s claims in respect of invasion of privacy and negligence, wrote the Judge. He then dismissed other claims in respect of alleged racketeering and civil conspiracy on the grounds that they were “completely incomprehensible”. Parker is planning to appeal, according to reports.

The ruling (pdf)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.