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Your IP: does Google care? (bertrandmeyer.com)
34 points by hachiya 1788 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

No, and it shouldn't. Google Search's mission is to show relevant results to queries. Clearly it's doing that here as it found the full content of a highly relevant book by the author. The fact that the site pointed to is a copyright violation is a problem with the website not with Google. The avenues for enforcement may suck but that's not Google's fault.

The author doesn't even mention Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine. Those could also probably be used to find this website. Google Search just happens to be very good and very popular. Forcing it to be the IP police because of that would be a tax on innovation and success.

Yes, it does, and the link has been removed. At the bottom of the Google Scholar page linked in the article[0], you find the following notice:

> In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.

It leads to [1], which has been filed by Bertrand Meyer, and corresponds to the "kms" file he referenced in his post.

That being said, there are five other links to his book in pdf form in the results.

[0] http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=115252680840168408...

[1] http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=775089

That last point deserves underlining, so I'm just going to post a separate comment about it. Even though this particular link has been removed from this particular page, the first result on Google Scholar is still "Object Oriented Software Construction" and if you click on Google's helpful "all 95 versions" link, you will still find PDF versions of the document.

I skipped the first one (which was an FTP url) but ran an HTTP HEAD request against the second PDF listed there (from stttelkom.ac.id) to determine that it was 16.6 MB long, presumably that is also the whole work. The same file was also available a few links below that from uettaxila.edu.pk and then on the next page from fs1.bib.tiera.ru . (There are other things labeled as PDFs with wildly-too-small file sizes to be a 1000-page book; I'm not sure what they are.)

So saying that 'Yes' Google really cares seems too simple. They've never cared enough to, for example, store a database of hashes of forbidden files. Their efforts on YouTube are significantly more extensive, where any audio or video which remotely resembles some registered property can be taken down automatically.

They followed the DMCA takedown notice. They are not supposed to know who is or isn't authorized to distribute a version of a document. Even if they are identical, some, but not all links may be infringing.

You can signal several infringing links per request, I don't know why the OP didn't do so.

I checked all the PDFs present in the "all 95 versions", five of them lead to a copy of the book, the others are either 404 or slides for courses that use the book as reference material.

Helpfully enough, the entry on chillingeffects.org now directly links to the pdf as well.

... as do most DMCA notifications archived there. It makes Google a good search engine for copyright infringing material. Just check the DMCA section at the bottom of the page.

Why isn't chillingeffects.org hit with DCMA takedown notices?

They don't link to anything, they just list URLs.

Their FAQ regarding the legality of hyperlinks (US jurisprudence) can be found here: http://www.chillingeffects.org/linking/faq.cgi#QID152

Google has little to do with it, but as much respect I have for Meyer I can't feel bad for him in the slightest:

> You can buy it at Amazon [5] for $97.40, a bit less for a used copy.

People would still pirate it if it cost $0.97, but why are you even pursuing that kind of exorbitant pricing? If it was your publisher that made that price, why personally complain if you don't agree? If I'm an educator, my calling is to teach. It isn't to make exorbitant amounts of money from my words, it is for my words to reach as many people as they can and maybe help someone.

He has a (I imagine) highly well-paid job and could get an even more financially rewarding one anytime he wants in an industry that'd be pining to hire him. If this was his publisher making the post I'd understand. But personally complaining about how someone in Indonesia is stealing your overpriced textbook to try to pass on that intellectual knowledge to others who are (most likely) less privileged is just impossible to sympathize with.

Were they misrepresenting his work or something similar? If it's that I can understand protecting your IP. If it's merely redistributing it then no, I can't.

I'm biased because I don't agree with nearly any part of Intellectual Property, but my problem here isn't ideological, just material: pricing it out of reach for 80% of the world's population and then complaining when people want access to it.

I picked up a legal copy for about < $5 in 1999 at a book store near Peking University. They do (or did) price the book for the market; it was in English (back then), and was a crappy printing, but hey...it was cheap! These days, they've translated the cheap copy into Chinese, but its still reasonably priced.

I guess my point is: books are like drugs and are priced according to local market conditions. So the rich Americans pay more (they get nicer binding, but still...) and subsidize the rest of the world.

I doubt Bertrand makes that much money on being an author (who does?), and if he wrote the book in today rather than 20 years ago, things could be very different: self published, e-copies, whatever. But he made that deal back before any of this was an option.

But thar be pirates in those waters: in countries where IP is not respected this will happen. Piracy is quite wrong and its not weird that people have a problem with it. We should respect property rights, we don't have to buy it unless we are Dr. Meyers students.

Pity: its not a bad book, but is definitely dated and is probably no longer a must read, definitely not worth $90. Cutting the cost to make it more consummate with its value would be better.

> I guess my point is: books are like drugs and are priced according to local market conditions. So the rich Americans pay more (they get nicer binding, but still...) and subsidize the rest of the world.

Absolutely not, and I think your idea of global and local market conditions are completely unfounded. "Rich Americans" don't subsidize the rest of the world.

An example for this particular setting: I'm from Brazil where a copy of this book simply does not exist. It needs to be imported, which will be the precise price of the book in dollars, converted to reais, plus shipping and the local library's fee (if you don't buy from Amazon).

If I could buy a copy of it for R$50 I would right now. But as it stands it'd cost me ~R$200 for a new copy. People who don't have that kind of money to spend on a technical book are simply priced out of knowledge.

> I doubt Bertrand makes that much money on being an author (who does?)

I agree, he probably gets a very small percentage.

But he's not just an author, he's a PhD professor and a software consultant. Writing books isn't his only job and he probably makes more money in a single year of his other activities than he did in the sale of all of his books combined. If we were talking about someone who is a pure writer I'd agree somewhat. But if he wasn't a professor and a software consultant he would never have written that book, so it's just an offshoot of his other professional activities.

> We should respect property rights, we don't have to buy it unless we are Dr. Meyers students.

We don't have to buy anything. Not even his students do. But if we want to acquire knowledge we must. The point is, to those who are producing this knowledge, do you want to enhance people's intellect or do you want to make money? If it's the latter, and you are already handsomely paid, I won't shed a tear when your intellectual property rights are ignored.

I wouldn't have a problem if it wasn't him, personally, complaining.

For those on a budget, search for this book's ISBN on Abe Books. This edition looks like it's available for around $30, plus or minus. I suppose shipping would make this somewhat less attractive in Brasil, but probably still better.

Abe Books sells used books, as well as international editions. YMMV on the legality of the international editions.

Amazon is selling a used copy in good condition for $15.

He's not allowed to complain because he (assumedly) has a high-paying job? That's ridiculous.

I frequently find authorized textbooks in S Korea and Taiwan at 10-20% of US prices, with clear "not for sale in North America" labeling, so yes, I think this does happen.

It is priced like a textbook (not that that is an excuse but it is an explanation). The fact that it is a textbooks is likely also why it is highly pirated.

I checked the book out on Amazon[1] and, bizarrely, you can buy it new for $96.89, used for $45.87, and you can "rent" it for $62.79. If I were still in college I would get the $50 copy and try to resell it to a student the following semester for $40 (campus bookstore would probably buy it back for $5). Or if I were a broke student I'd just use the library's reserved copy (you can't check it out but nobody ever took advantage of this when I was at school so it was always available to use at the library).

1: http://www.amazon.com/Object-Oriented-Software-Construction-...

Not to mention it's the second edition from 1997. Hasn't anything happened in OOD/OOP during the last 15+ years that would make it worth updating?

Edit: I just skimmed the table of contents (11 pages) and while I suspect there are some nuggets of gold in the book, I'm not sure they're worth reading 1500 pages. I've found that the problems new developers have with OOD/OOP are architectural and generally related to a specific language and/or framework.

I think it would be worth perusing (not buying), just to see if he still recommends that procedures (routines with side effects) should never return any value, but should instead set one or more member variables - one or more per procedure - which callers should access after the call by separate getter methods. Really.

Your first paragraph admits that he may not have any control over the pricing and then your last paragraph implies that he does. How did that happen?

Wait, so search engines are now supposed to be responsible not just for indexing the web and providing relevant results, but also ensuring that all links they display are compliant with copyright laws?

Seems to me that the (legitimate) claim of copyright infringement should be targeted at the website hosting the infringing material, not a search engine that happened to index it.

Here is an almost too obvious idea... which I'm confident my fellow HNers will debunk in minutes!

Why doesn't Google allow, indeed encourage, a pre-publication process? As I see it, this registration would allow me to "predict" that my 5000-word essay, which can't be found anywhere on the Internet right now, will appear on example.com/article within a day. Almost beyond any reasonable doubt that should bring lots of credibility to my allowed site(s) and accurately destroy the credibility of unscrupulous sites that simply copy and paste. By the way, this could also apply to works placed in the public domain [1], and copyrighted material that will not (or should not) appear freely on the web, as is the case with the OP's book.

A refined API would speed up the process and allow authors to attach copyright restrictions to the resource in question. Needless to say, this process could be extended to other search engines, but it's safe to say right now that if Google alone allowed something like this it could rectify many problems in SEO.

I guess pre-registering heavy data such as images or video may not be reasonable yet, but plain text (even excluding HTML and CSS) could be a great beginning.


[1] Even if a work is placed in the public domain, it would be reasonable to give the author's original version due prominence in the search results.

The bigger problem would be abuse. Google couldn't verify that you actually own what you say you do. So people could easily spam the system to get content they don't like removed. This is currently a problem with the DMCA, but at least with the DMCA there is legal recourse for bad faith requests. The worst punishment that could be done with your proposed system would be account cancellation, which would not be a deterrent.

Google couldn't verify that you actually own what you say you do.

OK, but then Google already has that problem now. If they receive a DMCA notice against your pre-registered content they must act. But I'm sure their algorithms would prove that pre-registered content that is not available elsewhere to be extremely reliable. Keep in mind that Google's index probably has basically everything that is out there.

I believe a downside to my proposal is that, if it went into effect, honest publishers would in essence be forced to pre-register, just to be safe. I can imagine some would complain about that.

But with the current laws verification of ownership is not Googles responsibility (nor should it be). If google recieves a valid DMCA it has to act on it. Honestly I wouldn't want a private company to be the arbiter of copyright ownership on the internet. Many copyright issues are very complicated and it would be an undue burden (not to mention against the public good) to have a private part control it.

The DMCA has issues but at least disputes end up in court, how do you think an ownership dispute would play out if private companies were in charge of making decisions.

Thanks for your answer, and sorry for my late thoughts... I understand your position, and surely there would be many challenges, but if publishers adopted this proposed API, Google's results would be fairer and, potentially, their crawling could become more efficient (unnecessary?). Clearly they would carry the burden of providing a way to report malicious registration... but again, the moment badguy.example.com claims to host original content and it receives 20+ complaints... it's game over for that domain!

With regard to the notion of a private company controlling copyright issues, I'm a first believer that Google, big as it is, is not the Internet. An honest effort to clean up their index should not be confused with an attempt to censor anything. Taking the flip side: prove (via a simple API) that your content is indeed original, and then you'll be welcome in our index. Needless to say, only a dominant industry leader could take such a bold attitude.

Short answer: It would bring Google an incredible amount of grief. 99.9% of everything you read on the web is copyrighted text.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Object-Oriented+Software+Con... gives:

"In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org."

Here's DMCA complaint:


I'm not quite sure why this is a Google problem.

What are they supposed to do? What are they not doing in this specific instance?

> What are they not doing in this specific instance?

Remove the link to the content of his book he choose not to publically share. I fail to see what's difficult to understand.

> Remove the link to the content of his book

They have removed the link.

Google removes very many links every day. There's clear law about this, and Google obeys that law. Are you suggesting that the need to do more than the law says?

Whatever Google does, the content is still available. It's been posted to Usenet news at least once. (http://binsearch.info/?q=Object+Oriented+Software+Constructi...)

> Are you suggesting that the need to do more than the law says?

No, all I'm suggesting is that Google removes this link [1] as asked by the author of the book. Again, I fail to see what's hard to understand.

> Whatever Google does, the content is still available. It's been posted to Usenet news at least once. (http://binsearch.info/?q=Object+Oriented+Software+Constructi...)

Google is not responsible for others indexing systems, I've never said otherwise.

[1] http://www.imagebam.com/image/e2e9df239055991

They did remove the link that the author asked them to remove. That just promoted another link to a pirate version of the book up the list.

A useful service might be something that helps tell Indonesian colleges that they've allowed directory traversal open, and that they have copyright violating materials available to the world.

Or a tool that helps gather a list of all the IP owners of a collection of material at a site (the site in the image also has other books, as well as a 4.3 GB iso called "IBM_RSA_V803" (I'm guessing it's IBM's Rational Software Architect?) and then helps with coordinate a collaborative request for IP takedown effort.

If you look carefully, you'll note that the link in your screenshot is not the same as the one in Dr. Meyer's DMCA complaint.

The root of the problem is the Indonesian institution hosting the book, not Google. A search engine should show you what's publicly available on the internet with as little filters as possible, otherwise it opens the doors to a lot of abuse.

They did remove the link, what are you talking about?

Note that this blog post is from Jan 28, so it's entirely possible the DMCA content removal hadn't happened yet when Dr. Meyer wrote it.

Google is a reflection of the web. What the author has is a problem with the content of the web, not with Google. He's asking Google to censor the web, which is very dangerous.

Instead of spoiling the reflection for everyone, he should change what is being reflected.

I know that he can't really do that in this case, but who expects anything worth reading to not end up online for free?

Let me simplify this title ...

"Does Google Care?" And the answer is a resounding no.

I like using many Google products, but as a company I find Google to be somewhat despicable. They have enormous power and the sheer impossibility of making human contact with anyone at Google seems like an abuse of that power.

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