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Patents Censorship Google Your Rights Online

Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking 106

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'"
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Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking

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  • Patenting ACTA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:54AM (#31154532) Journal
    Step 1: Read leaked ACTA documents.
    Step 2: Patent technologies and software logic that must follow to enforce ACTA.
    Decision Gate A: Do you want to be stinking rich or fight for internet liberties? For stinking rich, proceed to step 3a. For valient political statement proceed to step 3b.
    Step 3a: License patents under reasonable royalties and hire a legion of lawyers in countries around the world.
    Step 3b: List licensing fees of one trillion dollars per patent and hire a legion of lawyers around the world to enforce it. Sit back and watch ACTA defeat itself (assuming it covers software intellectual property worldwide).
  • Not Censorship (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:59AM (#31154566)
    Strictly speaking, this is access control, not censorship. Censorship is prohibiting access based upon some moral or other judgment about the content itself. Access control is restricting the ability to obtain content based upon permissions.
  • by drachenstern ( 160456 ) <> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:05AM (#31154632) Journal

    I do not think that means what you think it means ... if the boys with the big toys decide they want us to be free for less than 17 years, then there's nothing a Google pwned patent can do. Capisce?

  • Re:Not Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:06AM (#31154640)
    That's a pretty meaningless technical distinction. Differentiating between the country that demands the censorship and the company that actually implements it is like the classic case of the mass murderer who defends himself with "I was only following orders." Google, Yahoo, etc. have used the "We have to follow the laws of the country we're in" defense for a lot of stuff recently. But that's false on many levels. First of all they don't HAVE to do business in that country, they CHOOSE to. Secondly, even if you did, that still doesn't excuse the immorality of the actions. Even an Iranian business that must turn over dissidents for execution is still morally culpable for their role in that system.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:31AM (#31154856)

    What do you expect to do? Sponsor everyone's emigration from Iran?

    No, I would only remind the companies doing business there that the day may come when they have to answer for their actions. Personally, if I was in a position where I had to do stuff like turn in dissidents, I would quickly seek another line of work. Even if you're not worried about the moral implications, the day could easily come when the existing government is overthrown and you could find your neck on the bad end of a noose.

  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:57AM (#31155108)
    Think that many have to do with their algorithms rather than censoring? When you search for sensitive terms atm it gives proper results, so maybe the register is being a bit jumpy?

    tank man []
    falun gong []

    Seems to be right.... The reason that LESS images of tank man show up in the .cn version compared to the .com version is likely that the tank man image is not featured as commonly in Chinese media. This makes perfectly good sense, and really should be obvious. The falun gong results are nearly EXACTLY the same.
  • Re:AWESOME IDEA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:13AM (#31155306)

    ...all you need is a proxy to see anything...

    Great. All we have to do is maintain proxies in nations all over the world, and we can be treated fairly. Now if we could just teach everyone on the planet how to use international proxies, no one would be victimized by censorship. Surely governments will never try to close *this* hole. I feel like the world is a better place already due to poor implementations of evilness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @01:48PM (#31157388)

    First, IAAPL (I Am A Patent Lawyer).

    In order to prevent someone from patenting and abusing a technology, there is no need to get the patent yourself. Simply publishing a document about the technology in sufficient detail (i.e. what you would disclose in the patent) creates prior art, preventing anyone from patenting that technology. To ensure the USPTO (or any other patent office) sees the article, make it as public as possible. This creates the prior art, invalidating the patent application on novelty and/or nonobviousness grounds.

    IBM has been doing this for decades for technology it doesn't feel is worth the effort to patent, but wants to be sure to not be excluded from. The USPTO even searches IBM's publishing database when reviewing patent applications, as it generates so much in the various fields.

    Thus, there is no incentive to obtaining a patent (high cost) to ensure people's ability to use the technology. Publishing alone does that (low cost). The reason to get a patent is to profit from it (or at least intend to profit from it).

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.