By: Justin Sanders
Well, another holiday season has come and gone, and we’re feeling a little blue – though not for the reason you might be thinking.
Sure, we’re bummed that it’s going to be another year before we get to pull out the menorahs and the Christmas ornaments and the Kwanzaa kinaras.
But what really has us down is that we didn’t get to properly celebrate (and by “celebrate” we mean “dump all over”) the most special (and by “special” we mean it the way the Church Lady meant it) holiday gift of them all – the November release of Google’s How Google Fights Piracy report!
In this epic exercise in self-congratulatory spin, the PR munchkins at Google weave a jaw-dropping 65 pages that cloak their company as the Great Defender of Creatives Everywhere.
Had we covered it last month, we could have called it “a lump of coal for creatives.”
But now, it’s too late to lay a holiday-themed smackdown on Google…
…Or is it?
It turns out that our calendar is chock full of fun, quirky – albeit lesser-known – holidays… giving us lots of opportunities for raising a glass half-empty to Google’s bloated collection of lies and exaggerations about its anti-piracy efforts!
Let’s take January alone. From Trivia Day, to Nothing Day, to Make Your Dreams Come True Day, we can celebrate Google’s fluffball of a report again and again. Here are just seven examples of how January holidays fit.
Science Fiction Day (January 2)
On the official birthday of sci-fi visionary Isaac Asimov, take a moment to indulge in some real science fiction by reading How Google Fights Piracy. It’s jam-packed with fantastical tales of “anti-piracy solutions” such as YouTube’s Content ID and other tools that empowered content owners to send Google nearly 900 million DMCA takedown requests in 2017 (page 12).
Wow, the system must really work, right? Well, no. If rights owners need to send 900 million takedown requests, that’s evidence of metastasis, not of a cure. Think about it – if it took just one minute to file each of those requests, that would be fifteen million hours of time lost by our communities trying to protect our works. For Google to say that their science is the cure to piracy is the biggest fiction of them all.
Trivia Day (January 4)
What a treasure trove of trivia the Google piracy report is – an epic tome of “facts” and “figures” signifying nothing. Google brags about its 9,000 “partners” (page 13) who “manage and monetize” their works using Content ID. But what about the huge number of independent filmmakers who you don’t allow to quality for partnership, for reasons known only to you – such as Mitchell Block, whose indie film distribution company has seen its offerings pirated on YouTube millions of times? And Google brags about entering into some Voluntary Code of Practice put out by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (page 16). Did that on your own, eh? Or could that have something to do with the fact that a U.K. high court was about to hear a €3 billion privacy lawsuit against you? And what about all the dirty messaging tricks YouTube has been playing in 2018 in its unrelenting attack on the European Union’s groundbreaking Copyright Directive?
Hey, Google, we’ve got a good trivia question for this special holiday: What Big Tech company did Creative Content Australia chairman Graham Burke recently accuse of being “as evil as Big Tobacco 30 years ago”? (Hint: It starts with a “G” and ends with an “oogle.”)
Clean Off Your Desk(top) Day (January 8)
We love the idea of a whole day devoted to the removal of workspace clutter. We didn’t waste good paper on physically printing out How Google Fights Piracy. After we digested this baloney sandwich, we dragged the PDF of this thing right into our digital trashcan.
Maybe we can re-designate January 8 as “Clean Up Your Search Results, Google, Day.”
Make Your Dreams Come True Day (January 13)
Well, Google’s dreams of global domination sure came true. Their parent company, Alphabet, is now worth more than $700 billion. Nothing would make our dreams come true more than if Google would quit bragging about how great it is at fighting piracy and actually take meaningful measures to stop it! You can start with all the indie filmmakers whose profits have been decimated by piracy enacted on your platform. How about making their dreams of getting back control of their creative content come true?
Nothing Day (January 16)
According to timeanddate.com, Nothing Day is a holiday on which to go “without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything.” What better day to not celebrate How Google Fights Piracy? What better day to avoid observing the report’s misleading claims of “Demoting Infringing Websites” (page 39), an effort that has done little to curb a rise in streaming piracy that has destroyed even Academy Award® winners around the globe? And what better day to not throw a party for Google’s “Updates to Google Image Search” (page 43), which was implemented only after years of receiving widespread, well-deserved copyright infringement claims by major photography companies? It was something Google only did under pressure – not because it cares about artists one whit – and we’re delighted to not celebrate it at all on this very merry Nothing Day.
Macintosh Computer Day (January 24)
Take a break from celebrating How Google Fights Piracy to celebrate one of its biggest rivals. Sure, Apple isn’t without problems of its own, but at least its business model isn’t based on selling your online data to the highest bidder. Google’s report flouts its commitment to “providing transparency” (Page 8), and yet we know next to nothing about how it tracks us, what it knows about us, and what it does with all that juicy information it’s collecting. Even the much-reviled NSA is subject to external oversight when it comes to data collecting – but not Google! But hey, at least they disclose the immense number of copyright takedown notices they receive every year (page 44) – notices that wouldn’t be necessary if they were more accountable for all their platform’s copyright infringement to begin with.
Data Privacy Day (January 28)
LOL. Fuck it. We’ll let your imagination run wild with what we could have written under this heading.
With that, we wish you Happy January Holidays! And if you’re still not tired of “showing the love” for the blustery How Google Fights Piracy report – well, join us again on Valentine’s Day!