Friday News: Google & Apple, digital ownership, Internet predictions, and angry redditors
Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on iPhone – When I read this headline, I hear Dr. Evil in my head, repeating “one billion dollars” over and over. Whereas Oracle, in their suit against Google for infringement of copyright over their Java software, likely doesn’t think it’s so funny. It has long been suspected that Google paid Apple handsomely for its presence on the iPhone, and Oracle’s lawsuit is shaking loose some of the
change information. In addition to the $1B figure, Google also paid Apple a percentage of iPhone-generated revenue. How much revenue?
Annette Hurst, the Oracle attorney who disclosed details of the Google-Apple agreement at last week’s court hearing, said a Google witness questioned during pretrial information said that “at one point in time the revenue share was 34 percent.” It wasn’t clear from the transcript whether that percentage is the amount of revenue kept by Google or paid to Apple. – Bloomberg Business
Ownership and Copyright Law: Legal Fences Between You and Your Purchases – A great explanation from Stan Adams on the difference between owning and licensing digital products, and the implications of those differences on, say, being able to make a copy of a digital item for backup purposes. As he notes, the Copyright Office is slowly granting exceptions to the limits that attach to licensed products, which include digital books and music, but there are still issues that need to be resolved around what rights consumers do and do not have when they “purchase” digital products. Also, this is why ebooks should NOT cost as much as print books.
In addition to the issues raised by the semantic differences between buying and licensing, an important legal distinction lies between these two modes of possession: generally, the rights and freedoms associated with ownership are far greater than those of licensing. Copyright law gives authors the exclusive right to control the reproduction and distribution of original works, subject to certain limitations and exceptions. But when a copyright holder sells a copy of a protected work, the copyright holder’s right to control the distribution of that particular copy ends. This principle, known as exhaustion, is the basis for the first sale doctrine, which allows you to loan, sell, rent, or give away your old books, art, and music. First sale, however, does not apply to copies distributed under a license. – Center for Democracy and Technology
WHY THE WEB WON’T BE NIRVANA – I stumbled on this while scrolling through my Twitter timeline yesterday, and it’s solid gold. A 1995 interview with Clifford Stoll on the future of the Internet. Some of Stoll’s predictions are sharply prescient — like the Internet as “a wasteland of unfiltered data” — while others are, well, not so much.
Consider today’s online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure. – Newsweek
Redditors Hate the New Book of Reddit AMAs – So that Reddit book of AMA’s I reported on a while back has apparently been published, and — go figure — some redditors are not so thrilled with a $35 “book that was basically copied off the Internet.” Well, when you put it that way. . . I wonder if they’ve decided how much of that money is going to (which?) charity. Oh, and then there’s this:
Those who did buy the hardcover book discovered an even bigger problem—it’s a shoddily made product. One reviewer who’s had the book less than two weeks writes that “the spine is already coming loose and the glue inside the cover is coming apart.” Another “inexcusable” formatting issue is that the page breaks are uneven, cutting off questions or answers. Finally, a couple of commenters (who admit they’re “OCD”) complain that the title of the book is printed upside down on the side binding, so it “looks awkward on a shelf.” – Observer