Google Mows Down Snodgrass In Court

    March 16, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A federal judge in Philadelphia tossed out copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google, where the plaintiff claimed the search engine’s archive of his Usenet posts constituted republication.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found precedent under case law to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Gordon Roy Parker, also known as Ray Gordon, CNet’s Elinor Mills reported. Parker publishes his writings under the business name of Snodgrass Publishing Group.

Apparently, Parker posted a chapter from one of his e-books, “29 Reasons Not To Be A Nice Guy,” to a Usenet group, where Google’s spiders found and indexed it. The court did to Parker what the Eagles just did to Terrell Owens and gave him the boot, court documents said:

…Google’s activities, akin to those of an Internet Service Provider, do not constitute infringement.

“When an ISP automatically and temporarily stores data without human intervention so that the system can operate and transmit data to its users, the necessary element of volition (willful intent to infringe) is missing,” the court said.

The court’s 20-page decision to dismiss carries one odd statement at the end of page 1, regarding Usenet:

Google also maintains the USENET, a global system of online bulletin boards and allows users to post and search archived messages on the system.

Google owns Deja News, an archive of Usenet posts that the search advertising company acquired in 2001, according to Wikipedia. Google Groups allows users to post and read Usenet messages, but it doesn’t own Usenet, which is distributed over a number of global news servers with access provided by ISPs or providers specializing in Usenet access.

Parker plans to appeal the decision, and claimed to CNet that the court is confused about what cache means. Google really is a third-party republication.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.