Re: Automating Searches

Lew <>
Sat, 06 Jan 2007 21:02:47 -0500
Chris Uppal wrote:

Of course, they own the servers, they pay the (probably massive) network costs
and other data-centre costs, so it's up to them what they consider "fair". If
they choose to object to people called "Chris" using their services, then
that's up to them -- I have no real right to complain -- they can be as
arbitrary as they like. Naturally, since they want to make money, they can't
be too very arbitrary (and aren't), but by the same token, they do have good
reasons to (try to) protect their services from freeloaders.

I am not sure if name-bigotry is covered, but in many countries discrimination
in the provision of goods or services for certain factors like race, religion,
national origin, physical or mental disabilities and some other like
attributes is illegal. The legal principle rests in part on whether a trait is
innate, like national origin, or voluntary, like whether to wear a beard (for
most). This in no wise invalidates points others have made in this thread
except to point out that legal niceties punch exceptions into many broad
generalizations about these topics.

The legal question of data ownership carries many perilous implications. Does
Google own the information, or merely its representation? Is that
representation limited to its appearance on the screen, or does its specific
storage in their databases qualify? What about the source whence came Google's
data - when they scraped information off to include it in their data,
did they violate's owner's intellectual property rights? If I scraped and came up with similar information to Google's in a similar data
structure (because data structures are "obvious" to a competent software
engineer), have I violated any of Google's IP rights?

Larger jurisprudential question: what degree of data openness or private
ownership best benefits society?

Concomitant question: what constitutes fair use of another's data?

- Lew

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