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Google: We ARE Big Culture

We come in peace. Shoot to kill

World Copyright Summit Google offered a vision of itself as the greatest cultural philanthropist in the world yesterday – a sort of Medici family for the 21st century. Everywhere Google went, it was bringing high culture to the masses.

Google's Carlo d'Asaro Biondo was addressing the World Copyright Summit in Brussels. He quoted Seneca:

"As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit."

"The internet is the soil," said the Google man.

But not everything was perfect yet, and Google was here to help.

"The web doesn't yet mirror the world's cultural riches," said Biondo, Google's head of operations for Southern Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the former AOL Europe boss. He then explained how Google was a cultural benefactor on a global scale, bringing the world's artistic treasures online.

For example, there was Google Heritage – its project to photograph UNESCO world heritage sites such as Stonehenge using a special version of its creepy Street Car. Google had partnered with 17 museums to bring over 1,000 paintings online in high resolution, he added. Last year, the search giant pledged millions to support a 'European Cultural Institute' in Paris.

Google was also the best friend copyright could have, Biondo suggested.

"Google has embraced copyright and is doing anything we can to help content creators," said Biondo. Such measures include a pledge to take down infringing material within 24 hours, and ID-infringing material posted to YouTube. He didn't mention Russell the Cartoon Squirrel – which is a shame.

Traditionally Google comes to copyright conferences to terrify the audience. Move out of the way, old men, was the message. Now it comes to butter them up. Mr Biondo ended with a plea against monocultures.

"We don't want the world looking like one country. I work for an American company, I love Americans, but I don't want the world looking like America," he said.

Vote Google for diversity, then. The European audience, which doesn't need much excuse to bash the Anglo Saxons, applauded that warmly.

No questions were permitted. ®

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