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Patents Censorship Google Your Rights Online

Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-steps-forward-one-step-back dept.
theodp writes "Today Google was awarded US Patent No. 7,664,751 for its invention of Variable User Interface Based on Document Access Privileges, which the search giant explains can be used to restrict what Internet content people can see 'based on geographical location information of the user and based on access rights possessed for the document.' From the patent: 'For example, readers from the United States may be given "partial" access to the document while readers in Canada may be given "full" access to the document. This may be because the content provider has been granted full rights in the document from the publisher for Canadian readers but has not been granted rights in the United States, so the content provider may choose to only enable fair use display for readers in the United States.' Oh well, at least Google is 'no longer willing to continue censoring [their] results on Google.cn.'"
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Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking

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  • by feenberg (201582) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:30AM (#31154848)

    The patent makes no sense, because it includes no description of a mechanism for achieving the stated objective. You should be able to get a patent on a particular method of doing something, but since when can you patent all possible methods of doing something? Especially when there aren't any. We have been doing this at work for over a decade, using IP address information from whois servers. It isn't very accurate, but it works well enough for us.

    Daniel Feenberg

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:30AM (#31154852)

    To protect the free flow of information which is at the core of a free society and an efficient and stable economy, location information must be eliminated from the network protocol.

  • Re:Not Censorship (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:34AM (#31154884)

    technical maybe. But meaningless? I don't think so.

    I don't think you could call it censorship if e.g. your company denies the janitors access to payroll documents.

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:05AM (#31155226) Homepage Journal

    The patent makes no sense, because it includes no description of a mechanism for achieving the stated objective. You should be able to get a patent on a particular method of doing something, but since when can you patent all possible methods of doing something? Especially when there aren't any. We have been doing this at work for over a decade, using IP address information from whois servers. It isn't very accurate, but it works well enough for us.

    No, it's got a pretty decent description, sufficient that one of ordinary skill in the art of computer programming could implement it, without undue experimentation. What, you want code?

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:08AM (#31155256) Journal
    Recently, working on a paper, I came across some papers on the National Bureau of Economic Research website that said they were $5 to access for me, but they are free for anyone in a developing or undeveloped country. I didn't try to find a proxy in Azerbaijan so I don't know how the site looks if you are from a country that gets free access, but I am curious how that works and how it differs from this patent.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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