AmiCOUR IP Group News and Opinions

Google Books Settlement Rejected by Judge

US Government Intervenes:
Amicus Curiae Filings
By i4i Supporters

Annoyed by a Website?
Un-Google It

Stuck in he Cloud?
Gmail Backup Tapes
& Endless Criticism

Welcome to the AmiCOUR IP Blog.  We invite your comments.  Past Issues.

March 23, 2011 - It seems there may be no end to Google's legal and operational troubles.  A Federal Judge rejected the Google Books proposed class action settlement. The Google Books' copyright dispute was subject matter at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Licensing Executives Society.  Google did not provide a representative at the meeting.

March 18, 2011 - In accordance with Supreme Court rules, today marked the due date for all amicus briefs in support of i4i in the Microsoft v i4i case. One week ago, i4i Limited Partnership filed its merit brief. The Justices have been asked to consider whether "clear and convincing" evidence proving invalidity is an unfair standard faced by defendants accused of patent infringement. Attorneys at the Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae by the United States in support of i4i, stating that the current standard "is consistent with congressional intent and with this Court’s precedents." AmiCOUR and at least 23 other parties each filed a brief in support of the respondents. Oral argument is scheduled for the afternoon of April 18, 2011. Read more blog coverage.

March 11, 2011 - PC World today reported that Google has announced a new site blocking tool that let's users filter out sites they do not want in search returns. The change comes amidst criticism of Google results for being overloaded with content farm spam (see article below).

March  2, 2011 - After embarrassing the emerging cloud computing industry, Google admitted that it is still struggling to restore email accidentally lost by its popular Gmail system. When the company realized it could no longer rely on multiple system copies, Google stated that it will use its tape backups to restore customer email records. The company advised that tape restoration will be a slow process compared to modern methods, but the tapes were its best remaining solution. Google provides email services behind the scenes to other ISP's whose customers may not be fully aware their mail is processed by Google.

The latest Google glitch comes on the heels of a search ranking algorithm change following the recent departure of its CEO. Google has been widely criticized for a host of reasons in recent months, including giving high search return rankings to so-called content farms. These are huge web sites filled with bot generated pages containing click ads surrounding minimal information such as a company address, an unverified or anonymous blog comment, or a consumer complaint. Some farms operate by grabbing content from other farm sites, cluttering the Internet even more. Many of the farms display Google's ads by converting a single, often unverified piece of low value information into up to ten distinct web pages optimized for the best search rankings using techniques called "SEO" or search engine optimization. Farm sites link to one another to spoof the famous Google algorithm even more. Some believe the algorithms, which are alleged to cycle over time on a predictable basis, have been successfully reverse engineered. The individual content farm pages, including their SEO architected page titles, URL's, keywords, and minimal content are specifically structured for the highest possible rankings when indexed and ranked. It has been debated whether Google's adword (AdSense) network partners get better rankings. At least one large consumer complaint site appeared to drop lower in Google's return rankings after it reduced its Google ad content; however, this site and Google had already drawn widespread criticism and legal action. Some farms have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a shield in disputes over false or misleading content with varying degrees of success. At least one Court document alleged that over a billion dollars in annual Google revenue comes from click ads resident within the ever present content farms. As frustrated searchers began moving to Bing and Yahoo for their less cluttered results, Google finally announced and implemented changes, only to face a new backlash from businesses claiming they will be harmed by the new lower Google rankings. A 2007 complaint which was settled last October.