Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles

July 3, 2008

My news  reader overfloweth today, July 3, 2008. The legal eagles are circling the Googleplex, dropping subpoenas and court orders on the Googlers. In my two studies of Google–The Google Legacy (2005) and Google Version 2.0 (2007) I complied with my publisher’s request and included a list of the vulnerabilities Google faced in its charge to market dominance. I won’t reproduce the list of the dozen or so issues my research identified.

Instead, let me highlight one that has remained a threat constant since Google’s engineers sought inspiration from Yahoo Overture online advertising as a revenue generation mechanism. Google coughed up some cash and stock to Yahoo shortly before the company’s initial public offering. You can read the Google side of the deal here. Since that time, Google has been lawyered up, defending itself against all comers.

In my research, I asserted that lawyers and mathematicians, particularly brilliant mathematicians, don’t always see problems in the same way.

Kurt Opsahl’s “Court Ruling Will Expose Viewing Habits of YouTube Users” makes it clear that Google will have to produce usage data pertinent to, Google’s video service. You can read the full story here. This write up includes links to court documents, and you can grind through the legalese at your leisure.

Usage data is a crown jewel at Google. Few people know what Google captures. Even fewer have seen the fragments of information about the data model into which the usage data are inserted. I did write about one exemplary data table in my KMWorld column a month or two ago. If a legal eagle finds someone who can interpret the log file data in a Googley way, other legal eagles will join those circling the Googleplex. These legal eagles won’t be there for a drink of Odwalla and to get their automobiles washed.

The Bottomline is that this decision, if it survives a legal challenge, is likely to be problematic for Google. Lawyers and log files will result in a different output than achieved from rocket scientists and log files. In math there’s a notion of aleph. This is an aleph of woe for Google or


If you find legal eagle activities interesting, you will want to take a gander (no logo pun intended) at TechCrunch’s essay “Judge Protects YouTube’s Source Code, Throws Users to the Wolves”. I like this piece because it underscores some of the issues in a scuffle between old media and the GOOG:

I can understand why Judge Stanton, who graduated from law school in 1955, may be completely and utterly clueless when it comes to online videos services. But perhaps one of his bright young clerks or interns could have told him that (1) handing over user names and a list of videos they’ve watched to a highly litigious copyright holder is extremely likely to result in lawsuits against those users that have watched copyrighted content on YouTube, and (2) YouTube’s source code is about as valuable as the hard drive it would be delivered on, since the core Flash technology is owned by Adobe and there are countless YouTube clones out there, most of which offer higher quality video. YouTube’s core value is in it’s network effect – the library of content along with its massive user base.

Please, read Mr. Arrington’s essay here.

My take on this matter is that Google has its work cut out for its attorneys. My recollection is that Google has some of its attorneys in temporary quarters about one mile from the Google headquarters. Google’s senior management may have to move some of these JDs into Google headquarters and some of the math PhDs out to the trailers now housing some of Google’s juris doctors.

This silly goose thinks Viacom means business, and it is no puny Internet Service Provider in Chicago complaining about an Outlook migration tool. You can read about this legal issue here. This is video, folks. Video is real money. Infinite money in our digital culture.

Stephen Arnold, July 3, 2008


6 Responses to “Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles”

  1. searchgov on July 3rd, 2008 4:06 pm

    was it not coming already?

  2. » Pandia Weekend Wrap-up July 6 on July 6th, 2008 6:43 am

    […] Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles […]

  3. Blog , Info, wiadomo?ci, informacje » Blog Archive » Pandia Weekend Wrap-up July 6 on July 6th, 2008 7:44 am

    […] Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles […]

  4. Pandia Weekend Wrap-up July 6 « info from the world on July 6th, 2008 8:13 am

    […] Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles […]

  5. Stephen E. Arnold on July 6th, 2008 8:40 am

    Thanks Searchgov for posting. I don’t know how to answer your question. I am documenting events per my editorial policy and disclaimer. You will find much information that you can read elsewhere.

    Stephen Arnold, July 6, 2008

  6. Wiadomosci spotrowe info news » Blog Archive » Pandia Weekend Wrap-up July 6 on July 6th, 2008 9:03 am

    […] Google Faces an Attack of Infinite Legal Eagles […]

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