How Google Aims To Save Copyrights

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Google is no stranger to controversy. One of the most controversial subjects the search engine has been involved with in the last couple of years has been the struggle over orphan works and the rights to them. You can read more about this controversy here.

It’s easy to see why Google’s approach to digital rights, particularly with regard to orphan works, is so controversial. There are a lot of questions it raises about who has a right to profit from such works in the future. Specifically, some of the best questions about Google’s proposal are:

  1. What room will there be for future competition?
  2. Who will own the rights to orphan works if the authors don’t show up?
  3. Who will own the rights to orphan works if the authors do show up?
  4. Who should be allowed to profit from orphan works?
  5. Should orphan works be treated differently than works where the author is known and can be found?
  6. What about international or foreign rights? How are those affected?

An orphan work, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a creative work whose author cannot be located and for which the copyright may not otherwise be expired. In other words, a work of creative imagination created in the last 20 years where the author is not known and/or cannot be found could be considered “orphaned”. Should it become a part of the public domain?

These are not easy questions, but they are questions that will likely be answered by the courts some time in the near future. Meanwhile, Google is attempting to get a handle on the creation of a new digital library that will make such works more accessible to more people. Is that a good idea?

The revolution will be televised. And supported by really cool online ads.

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All the data in the world can’t tell you if an ad campaign is responsible for increased sales. The success or failure of any sales effort involves so many factors. It would be impossible to credit or blame an advertising campaign on the data collected. In the fast-paced world of Internet marketing, it is possible to get far more analytic data than we once had to track the results of any online campaign effort. And clients and agencies alike seem to be relying more and more on the numbers and less and less on whether or not it is a good ad. Just because we have more data doesn’t mean we know any more than we did ten years ago. I once heard a creative director at a very large advertising agency tell a very large client that advertising doesn’t make people go out and buy products. The client was dismayed and asked why he was advertising with the agency then. He replied, “The only thing you can hope for is that someone will like you a little more because you just made them laugh or cry.” That’s it! I tend to agree. Any client who thinks a piece of communication is going to get people to remove their rotund arse from a warm comfortable seat and head over to a store with cash in hand is fooling themselves. So why do we have a confluence of analytic tools and measuring methods that are all tethered to sales results? In a recent Adage article, Hernan Lopez, president of Fox Networks and chief operating officer of Fox International Channels said, “the most important factor behind successful TV campaigns was the quality of the creative” .  You go Hernan! He goes on to say that “the industry’s obsession with click-through rates, despite evidence of their small correlation with total sales, results in messages that are rarely entertaining or amusing and are overly reliant on verbal hard sell.” Mr. Lopez believes the answer relies on a creative revolution. As a former creative, I couldn’t agree more. But don’t expect me to move my arse any time soon.