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From: Elliotte Rusty Harold [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
At 8:40 AM -0500 8/14/03, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>Yes. Only I can't think of any reason eBay or Google
>would raise a lawyer's paranoia quotient. eBay goes
>to great lengths to police the actions of it's users.
>Google just relies on a PageRank algorithm (possibly
>patented) that is an opinion meter and even if it
>seems odd, it also works for most topics.
>eBay has massive exposure due to auction fraud. They also have big
>problems with the sale of forbidden items in various jurisdictions.
>(e.g. Nazi memorabilia in France, pornography in Kentucky, etc.)
Yes, and as a result, they have been investing resources to
police these problems. It isn't always possible to account
for everything that users can do, but that is not the same
as not warranting the services they provide. There are
always legal costs to doing business. I don't think anyone
here believes one can eliminate legal hassles; I think it
possible to get a better deal than caveat emptor code purchases.
>Paypal's under investigation for failing to adhere to various states'
>banking legislation and could serve as a conduit for money
Yes. Like online medical services, this is a particularly
litigation prone domain and subject to the vagaries of
local regulation. This is similar to the tax collection
problems. For example, online music equipment merchandisers
cite the 'New Jersey' exception. Other states will get
into this action as soon as the Feds relax constraints.
I don't know much about it, but I expect each country
to begin to tax Internet sales as each locality begins
to realize the extent of the drain.
>Google (or any search engine really) has massive
>copyright exposure due to caching of pages.
Tricky. Here is a situation where the act of using the
medium of publishing exposes the authors to copyright
violations not by theft but the nature of the medium
or publication. This is similar to the problem of
the use of taped or any reproducible media. One has
to make exceptions for fair use. I wonder if the cache
could be construed as fair use.
>Fortunately, these companies didn't let any of this stop them.
They are dealing with problems as they come up. Nothing unbusiness-like
about that. The idea that namespaces and vetted code registries
could be used with royalty-free standards implementations that
explcitly require warrantied submissions is an example of
dealing with a problem as it comes up. Fortunately, nothing
stops this from happening either. Perhaps the analog to the
'hordes of lawyers' is 'the mob mentality'.
>If you're successful
>enough, the penalties for this, both direct and indirect, are simply
>a cost of doing business. Napster's real failure was that they got
>hit with legal action before they had a large enough revenue stream
No because even the buy out by the bigger firm couldn't change the
mind of the courts with regards to the actions. Some things
money won't buy; one of them is the privilege to profit by theft.