Microsoft Tries To Establish Bona Fides As Publishers’ Friend — At Google’s Expense

Microsoft is launching (yet another) PR offensive against Google, this time with book publishers as the foil. When Tom Rubin, associate general counsel for copyright, trademark and trade secrets, addresses the Association of American Publishers annual meeting Tuesday, he’ll be armed with a prepared text being telegraphed well in advance via careful media placement. His argument: “Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people’s content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs.”
Rubin’s three principles:
— “… new services that expand online access to content should be encouraged.”
— “… those new services must respect the legitimate interests of copyright holders; put conversely, we must forcefully reject any business model that is based on the systematic infringement of copyrights.”
— “… even as we adhere to these first two principles, we must all work together to find consumer-friendly and cost-effective solutions to our shared goal of expanding online access to copyrighted and public-domain works.”
At the same time, Rubin is pitching the publishers on his company’s own book search offerings: Live Search Academic and Live Search Books. The heart of the lengthy speech goes directly to an effort to put the differences — or perceived differences — between Microsoft and Google in bas relief:
— “In essence, Google is saying to you and to other copyright owners: ‘Trust us – you’re protected. We’ll keep the digital copies secure, we’ll only show snippets, we won’t harm you, we’ll promote you.’ But Google’s track record of protecting copyrights in other parts of its business is weak at best. Anyone who visits YouTube, which Google purchased last year, will immediately recognize that it follows a similar cavalier approach to copyright. … And Google has yet to come up with a plan to restrain the massive infringements on YouTube.”
— Rubin also points to an example of Google selling advertising around key words referring to pirated software: “We weren’t the only victims