More Nondenial Denials from Google, the “Platform for Piracy”

Used to worry about the starving children of India
You know what I say about the starving children of India?
I say, “Oh mama”
It’s money that I love

It’s Money That I Love by Randy Newman

As noted last week, News Corp sent a letter to the competition authority for the European Union that is currently investigating Google for a host of violations.  Not surprisingly–and I mean that cynically–Google has been given extraordinary latitude by the outgoing competition oversight chief in Brussels.  Google is now on the fourth iteration of its own settlement agreement with the EU, an agreement that allows Google to write its own deal.  Ultimately that deal has to be approved by the European Commission, but no one–no one–has ever been allowed as much latitude as has been afforded Google in this investigation.

This kid gloves treatment has brought howls of complaints from consumer groups, small business, big business, and especially from content creators and producers.  The latest is from News Corp, whose CEO called even more attention to Google’s crony treatment by the European Commission (according to the BBC):

The chief executive of NewsCorp has written to the European Commission calling for a tougher approach to search giant Google.

In the strongly worded letter, Robert Thomson says “the shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management”.
It calls Google a “platform for piracy” whose power “increases with each passing day”.

I believe that NewsCorp was the first to bring up Google’s profit from piracy.  When coupled with Google’s dominant position in the search business, it’s pretty easy to see the benefit to Google from supporting pirate sites through its Adsense and Doubleclick advertising business.

Google’s response?  First, the company issued a statement to Business Insider that the website called a “bizarre hamster statement” that played on a headline from The Sun (a NewsCorp tabloid):

Phew! What a scorcher! Murdoch accuses Google of eating his hamster!

While we were trying to figure that one out, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric “Uncle Sugar” Schmidt that was more of a point by point response to NewsCorp–ish.

Guess which point that NewsCorp brought up that Uncle Sugar glossed right over?  That’s right.  They way they use piracy to drive down music and movie industry revenue to weaken the only speed bumps on the Road to Commodity-dom.

With Google’s usual sanctimony, Uncle Sugar told us that Google really is better than all of us.  In his denial that Google favors its own products in search (as former Googler Marissa Meyer expressly stated it did), Schmidt said this:

 We show the results at the top that answer the user’s queries directly (after all we built Google for users, not websites).

Actually, Google built Google for the money.  Google sold ads for illegal pharmacies for the money.  Google sells ads for jihadi recruiting videos on YouTube for the money.  Google sold ads for counterfeit Olympics tickets for the money.  Google sells ads on pirate sites for the money.

This is likely why Eric Schmidt fails to mention any of this, and particularly NewsCorp’s “platform for piracy” allegation.  Schmidt just ignores it.  Schmidt simply recites Google’s standard response to selected criticism, but Schmidt does not answer the question that he can’t answer the way he wants to.

Take the jihadi recruitment videos, for example.  According to The Guardian, Google won’t even use the tools it has to take down Isis videos–that Google monetizes:

Content ID is used to spot people uploading copyrighted songs, for example, and to ensure the copyright holder gets some repayment. Could content ID be used on the Isis video? Apparently so – but Google is reluctant to because of the “news/education” exceptions. However, that wouldn’t prevent it from flagging such content and running it through pre-moderation.

So why doesn’t Google do that? “We just don’t,” says a source. Even so, given the success that the record industry has had in getting content ID, the Home Office might find it a fruitful discussion.

But if you can’t find Isis’s would-be recruitment video on YouTube, you could find its 3’10” (preceded by a 30-second pre-roll advert) in the middle of a Daily Mail story – explaining that there was “outrage” that the film was still available on YouTube.


Google is a platform for piracy and YouTube is packed with vileness that would never see the light of day on television such as television programs produced and broadcast by NewsCorp among others.  Schmidt knows it, and he’s condoning the biggest income transfer of all time–for the money.  And both Schmidt’s post and Google’s bizarre hamster comment are what are known as “nondenial denials.”

There are a few other people who made this mistake.  There’s this guy:

 And this guy:

Not to forget this one:

And then there’s her:



He’s not really fooling anyone.

google protesters