Thursday 14 January 2010

Google’s Chinese walls

Google’s threat on Tuesday to pull out of China on human-rights grounds coincided with Google cancelling the next stage in talks with the China Written Works Copyright Society over copyright infringement. Are there Chinese walls between these two episodes?

Google sent some kind of apology to the CWWCS on 9 January – although apparently only for poor communication. According to the CWWCS a bigger apology was anticipated: ‘Google was supposed to apologize for its infringement, provide a final list of Chinese books it scanned, and fix a timetable for copyright issue settlement during the talks during Tuesday's talks’ (People’s Daily Online). Although it would be too much to suppose that the books dispute is the sole cause of Google’s human-rights stand, perhaps the timing is relevant? Google has saved itself from admitting copyright infringement – which would have undermined Book Search and the Settlement globally.

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