26 November 2006

Petard, Meet Australian Government

Welcome back to the dark ages, Australia:

Plugging a word or phrase into a search engine may soon give you fewer results if proposed new Australian copyright laws are adopted, according to Internet giant Google.

The laws could open the way for Australian copyright owners to take action against search engines for caching and archiving material, Google says in a submission to a Senate committee considering the legislation.

This could potentially limit the scope of the search engine results, which the Internet company describes as effectively "condemning the Australian public to the pre-Internet era".

This is what kowtowing to intellectual monopolies gives you. (Via Boing Boing.)


Anonymous said...

Oh, boy. This is especially annoying when there is already robots.txt that people can use if they don't want Google or others to index their content.

If they want to make a law that penalizes crawlers for ignoring robots.txt, that would be slightly more reasonable.

Of course, to be fair for copyright owners, shouldn't *everyone* be required to get permission before accessing a web page? If there are web sites out there concerned about copies being made, they really should require permission be granted in all cases, shouldn't they? Crawlers and browsers alike. My computer and browser can make copies that I then may keep saved and distribute to others.

To be sure it's all official, I suggest these web sites who are concerned about being found or read should put up a front page that gives a postal address for you to write and request permission to access. Then they would reply by post with a secret URL for one-time only access.

That would work much better.

Glyn Moody said...

Better still, they could make their Internet address purely nominal, and put it in a big directory - maybe one with yellow pages - where it referred to the physical address you would send you written request. After that, you'd get a letter back telling you another (changing) physical address where you could go to view the Web page (once) - it would be too dangerous actually to allow users to access your site.

Anonymous said...

This is just taking it too far. This does bring attention to an area though where we need some decent laws developed...fast!