From the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Julie Samuels, a good dressing-down for Google over its mysterious, lily-livered removal of the Grooveshark music app from the Android store. I agree entirely -- and this epitomises the reason I chose to use Android devices, not because I trust Google to do no wrong, but because the OS lets me install software that Google doesn't approve of. In other words, I'm more interested in how well it fails than how well it works.
It's hard to not speculate about what happened. We can only assume that a complaint from the RIAA would be based in copyright. That Google would perform a copyright takedown without requiring a valid notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is surprising to say the least -- especially given that Google just last week filed its reply brief in the Viacom v. YouTube appeal vigorously defending its policy of responding only to valid DMCA notices where copyright complaints are concerned. (Separately, we question whether there's a theory of copyright law under which Google would be liable in the first place, given that Google merely stores the code for another service provider's app -- code that we seriously doubt is itself infringing or otherwise illegal and which isn't even executable on the Android Market platform.)
Google's Lack of Transparency and Openness in the Android Market Will Hurt More Than Just Grooveshark
And if the RIAA's complaint was not one under the DMCA, we - and others - are left to wonder: Did Google take down the Grooveshark app because it will compete with Google's rumored soon-to-be-released cloud music service? Did Google's takedown intentionally coincide with its appearance before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on IP in an effort to make itself more sympathetic to Congress? Is Google simply letting itself be controlled by the whims of the RIAA and the larger content industry as a whole?
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