Schmidt, Eric. “Conversation with Eric Schmidt Hosted by Danny Sullivan,” interview by Danny Sullivan (9 August 2006) (http://www.google.com/press/podium/ses2006.html) (last accessed 26 November 2006).
In this interview of Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, by Danny Sullivan at the Search Engine Strategies Conference, Schmidt discusses issues facing Google. He addresses everything from click fraud to protecting user private data. Ultimately, Schmidt underscores Google commitment to provide to Internet users the most relevant information, whether it is news, ad-content or search results. He does confess to a new emphasis on profitability.
Most relevantly, Schmidt addresses the pending lawsuit with AFP. Schmidt asserts that Google understands and wants to be sensitive to various conceptions of rights and copyrights. Schmidt also admits that there is an underlying ambiguity associated with fair use but appears to remain firmly committed to Google’s definition of fair use. Schmidt asserts that Google’s use of parts or snippets of copyrighted materials, like books and news, is not only fair use, but a vital research and knowledge tool. In the interview, Sullivan, expressly asks Schmidt about the AFP lawsuit, and whether the deal between Google and the Associated Press was made to “solve a legal issue.” Interestingly, Schmidt answers that for Google, litigation is just another way of making a business deal. In other words, the AFP lawsuit was not unexpected, but rather something Google understood might occur given its new use of technology. The deal between Google and AP addresses these same issues in a different way – a way that attempts to foreclose litigation and to reach an amicable resolution of essentially the same issue.
Despite its altruistic mission of making relevant knowledge available worldwide, Google is ultimately a profit making corporation. Schmidt’s comments reveal that Google’s rise from search engine to a dominant corporation rests in its aggressive and liberal interpretation of fair use. Thus, the dispute with AFP could be settled if Google could reach a satisfactory monetary agreement with AFP as it did with the AP. No matter what social cause the EFF or other bloggers ring regarding the global importance of Google and free speech and the public’s right to knowledge, Google is just another company trying to impress its shareholders with its profitability.