Something to remember in the Googleplex

The Google Amen Chorus has already started the Blame Microsoft narrative.  I’m not quite sure yet how that’s going to break–Google is not as bad as Microsoft was/is or Google should be treated no worse than Microsoft was in its antitrust investigation.

I really don’t think comparisons to Microsoft will help Google much, at least not in the “steal it til you’re satisfied” area.  Starting back in the Pete Higgins days at Microsoft, i.e., in the mid-90s or so, Microsoft spent a lot of time trying to get it right with music licensing (and I assume movie licensing as well, but music is the one I know about).  In fact, aside from my avoidance of the categorical, I would say that I never encountered one situation where Microsoft infringed any works I was involved with.  Nor did I hear of any situation where Microsoft infringed anyone else’s music catalog.

Microsoft went way far out of its way, even before they launched their own music service, to make sure they licensed music properly.  I didn’t always like the terms, but here are some things they didn’t do:

–Argue that scanning 15 million books is fair use;
–Say that the law allowed them to infringe until they were caught, and then only be required to behave prospectively;
–Reserve $500 million to pay a Department of Justice fine for advertising illegal drugs (I think even Bill Gates would have been fired if he did that);
–catch criminal convictions for not removing videos of traumatized children that should never have been posted in the first place;
–send people out in creepy little cars to take pictures of every house in the world and then post them online without permission;
–use the cy pres process to reward what EPIC called their “consultants and lobbyists” with millions of dollars;
–develop a policy about the “creepy line”…

Shall I go on?  If you don’t think any one (much less all) of these actions is evil, reconsider your definition.

Not quite the same.  Maybe not such a good strategy.