Will Google survive Grokster?: Cory Doctorow: Siva Vaidhyanathan's editorial on the Grokster decision is up on Salon, and it considers the fallout from the vague new "inducement" standard that the court invented:What about Google? Consider this: Google, like Grokster, is primarily a search engine. Its business model relies on advertisements. And the more we use Google, the more money it makes. Like Grokster, Google resolves communication queries. It generates a link from an information provider to an information seeker. And almost all of what it delivers is copyrighted.Link
The fact that no major copyright industry player has brought Google to court so far is merely a function of the fact that most copyright holders want Google to index and offer links to their materials. There is no explicit contract. You have to opt out of the Google world.
But there is one major difference between Grokster and Google. Grokster does no copying itself. It merely induces and enables.
If anyone infringes, it's Google: The company caches millions of Web pages without permission (again, giving copyright holders the option of protesting). And soon it will offer millions of copyrighted books in electronic form without payment or permission. How would Google fare in a post-Grokster world? The publishing industry no doubt wonders. And it just might sue to find out.
(Via Boing Boing Blog)