Think of the first time you heard someone say, “Google.”
It was only a little over 20 years ago. Then remember what you thought. You learned it was a search engine. You had to learn what makes a search engine. Then you learned to use Google. But you never thought it would become that important. You never thought it would become the linchpin in a trillion-dollar company. You never thought it would be considered by many as the most powerful company in existence. More powerful than countries and their governments. And you certainly never thought it would use that tremendous power for its own predatory ends. But that’s precisely what’s happening.
All that being said, the question then becomes: Why would Google be in a fight with another company for the right to use its computer code without paying? The answer, unfortunately, is that Google is out for blood, and intellectual property is the prey.
Eight years ago, Forbes published a detailed list of instances that Google had thought they had the right to use other parties’ intellectual property, including reprinting books and reshowing video clips on YouTube. Now, Google is at it again.
The Supreme Court has agreed to review the ruling on Google v. Oracle after years of progressing through our court system. The bottom line is that Google used code developed, paid for, and copyrighted by Oracle. Google didn’t even attempt to hide its copyright violation, making no alterations to the code.
The facts would not seem to be in Google’s favor, especially after a federal judge read this to his courtroom from an email drafted by a Google engineer: “What we’ve actually been asked to do by Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome. We’ve been over a bunch of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.”
That would seem to bring the entire matter to a conclusion. Google’s own engineers stated they were incapable of developing a quality product to counter what was available from Oracle, so they should pay for the right to use it.
That apparently did not settle well with the top people at Google, so they decided to turn copyright law on its head and tie up the assets of our court system because they can. They decided to pay expensive attorneys rather than just paying Oracle – a far better alternative for the company than having to ensure its Android operating system remained compatible with Java, a requirement in order to receive the license.
What is Google arguing on their side? First, they tried to suppress the email by saying their attorneys screwed up by handing it over. That did not go over well with the judge. The hub of the Google argument is that they are invoking the “fair use” doctrine. This states that “copying the code was for the betterment of mankind by unifying systems instead of creating a competing system that would confuse people and cause them to choose between the competing systems.”
Unfortunately for Google, the judge did not buy that and limited his ruling to the facts of the case involved and not making it a huge issue, which would be transcendental for all tech companies. It appears that Google believes it is on a messianic mission to improve the world with its technology. It does not like competition, and it is willing to separate other companies from their hard-earned assets to complete their mission.
Common sense will hopefully rule at the Supreme Court and Google will realize they are just like everyone else. They must abide by the copyright and patent laws and not just take things to further feather their already fat wallets.
Bruce Bialosky is a political columnist who founded the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.
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FBI Arrests Hacker Connected to Katie Hill’s Campaign for Taking Down Primary Opponents’ Websites
This is real election interference.
The FBI has arrested a California man connected to former Congresswoman Katie Hill for taking down the websites of two of her campaign opponents in 2018.
Arthur Dam was arrested Friday on charges of hacking into the websites of two Democrats who opposed Hill in the 2018 Democratic Primary for California’s 25th District. According to a criminal complaint regarding the arrest, Dam orchestrated a cyber attack on websites of two of Hill’s primary opponents, Jess Phoenix and Bryan Caforio. Both of their websites were disabled during a crucial moment of the primary, which Hill went on to win.
It was suspected during the primary that Hill was connected to the campaign website hacks, considering her own website was still intact. Dam’s connections to the former member of Congress- who was forced to resign from office in 2019 in light of a sex scandal surrounding her intimate affairs with a congressional staffer- appear to make that a likely possibility.
Dam is married to Hill’s former campaign fundraiser and district director in Congress, Kelsey O’Hara. In campaign finance records, Hill lists an in-kind campaign contribution for “graphic design and website security consultation.”
Some coincidences are merely just that. But it’s extremely hard to ignore Kate Hill’s “website security consultant” getting arrested for hacking into the campaign websites of her congressional primary opponents.
Hill has reinvented herself after her resignation from Congress as a result of the sex scandal, seemingly viewing herself as a victim.
Sexual involvement with subordinate employees is arguably a severe lapse of ethical judgement in any workplace. Perhaps one could forgive such poor decision-making, even if it’s made by a Member of Congress obligated to a higher standard.
But the lasting hacking arrest of Hill’s campaign security consultant make it likely that the former Democrat Congresswoman has more to answer for her own personal lapses in judgement.
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