Don Henley’s opinion piece in USA Today (“Internet Theft is a Job Killer, Too”) lays out the problems that Google has with Protect IP–they make way too much money off of advertising for illegal drugs, products, music, games and film. Since for every action there’s a reaction, the income transfer to Google also results in a loss of jobs for American workers. Henley makes the case that Google’s profit from misery extends to selling advertising for illegal drugs, especially prescription drugs that are sold with illegal prescriptions to under age kids. As Lessig would say, they need to stop criminalizing our kids.
Update: According to the New York Times, Google has as of 8/24/11 agreed to pay a $500 million fine to the U.S. Government to avoid a criminal prosecution for the sale of advertising promoting the sale of illegal drugs and illegal prescriptions. (Read the plea agreement.) More to come on this, but it looks like Google could have stopped taking any advertising from rogue drug sites, but chose not to–because it didn’t scale. No word yet on how many deaths are attributed to Google’s advertisers.
Update: Henley’s editorial is mocked by a Google consultant who is also an EFF board member (shocker) and of course caused the usual counterstatement: “EFF opposes this legislation not because we support intellectual property infringement (we don’t) but because the bill proposes troubling ways to try to address it.” Really. How about the $1 million from Google the EFF recently received, the former EFF employees who went to work for Google after their Limewire debacle, and the EFF’s advice to p2p operators to obscure data to obstruct prosecution for copyright infringement? Pure coincidence.
Google’s Drug Problem
Google’s drug business alone has attracted a $500 million fine and an investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice, well documented by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN’s broadcast–all of which could have been avoided if Eric Schmidt had not simply ignored an entreaty from Joseph Califano to work together with him to stop the sale of illegal drugs that was killing American children.
How could Schmidt have possibly ignored a letter from a former cabinet secretary to two Presidents (of the United States)? We polled a couple of digital natives and got a plausible explanation: (a) it was a letter sent by snail mail and not email, (b) Califano is so old, and (c) why didn’t he send a text message if it was so important! Ah, yes, communicating with Google is all about the toys.
Read the inspiring Don Henley editorial and think about what you would say to your local paper.
See also “Independent Austin Artists Speak Out: It’s Not Victimless“