(Via IPKat) It seems like everywhere one looks these days the techie press and the blogosphere are all talking about Google. First Google and China, then the Google Search function. All interesting stories, particularly the strange fascination with “free porn” on the part of American lawmakers and Fox News (surprise, surprise).
There is another story that has caught my eye. The IPKat reported that Google has won a copyright case regarding Google’s cache function. The Google cache is part of their indexing process that keeps copies of pages. If you have never clicked on one of the “Cached” buttons on each search, this is how one looks. There is no doubt that there is a copy made in some Google machine, but is that copy an infringement? A Nevada judge has ruled in Field v. Google that the cache constitutes copying, but that it falls under fair use provisions. In his decision, he took into consideration that the cache has considerable public functionality and that Google provided technical means that allowed to exclude being included in the cache. On the contrary, claimant Field’s conduct was suspect:
Field’s own conduct stands in marked contrast to Google’s good faith. Field took a variety of affirmative steps to get his works included in Google’s search results, where he knew they would be displayed with ‘Cached’ links to Google’s archival copy and he deliberately ignored the protocols that would have instructed Google not to present ‘Cached’ links.
Interesting reasoning, but I wonder how would Google fare in a jurisdiction that does not follow the broad American fair use concept. Prof Lenz has three posts about the case, starting here.