The Future According to Google: Technology Policy from the Standpoint of America’s Fastest-Growing Technology Company
Google is at the center of some of the most contentious technology policy disputes of recent years. These disputes range from controversies over the fair or noncommercial use of copyrighted work or trademarks on the Internet; to those over the ability of innovators to avoid discriminatory or exorbitant charges by broadband or wireless infrastructure providers; to those over governmental control over content. Copyright lawsuits arising out of search engines and user-generated content sites such as Google Video and YouTube may change the rules governing communication ver the Internet. Similarly, trademark litigation alleging that comparative advertising and Internet keyword-based advertising are infringing may limit the ability of technology companies and their customers to compete online. Many technology companies also believe that injunctive relief obtained by the owners of patents in comparatively minor components of complex software-enabled products or services may chill innovation and divert capital away from applied research. But it seems to be the power of infrastructure providers to favor allied content providers that has truly spooked technology leaders like Google. Meanwhile, members of Congress have expressed growing concern about foreign governments that block entire Web sites or types of Internet content from being accessed by persons present in their territory.
This Essay contends that two of the most likely candidates for important technology policy initiatives in the next presidential administration are two of Google’s public policy priorities, namely net neutrality and global online freedom. The adoption of these initiatives as policy priorities of the next administration would be a very positive development for users and producers of technology around the world. Their success would mean that two of the foremost threats to online freedom had been deferred, at least for a while. Overbroad copyright, trademark, and to a lesser extent patent rights will continue to bedevil technology firms, however, as they did for much of the last century.
Hannibal Travis. "The Future According to Google: Technology Policy from the Standpoint of America’s Fastest-Growing Technology Company" Yale Journal of Law & Technology 11.Spring (2008): 209.