Google: Caught on Tape

Less than two weeks ago, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) revealed plans to expand its search empire into video. Already, there's trouble. Last week the search king was forced to pull copyrighted material from its digital archives. Among the popular posts were the movies from the Matrix trilogy, as well as episodes of the cartoon TV show Family Guy.

How could we have not seen this coming? Google's site spells out a strict policy against posting copyrighted material, but in the end, the company relies on the honor system. I admire its pluck, but this is the Web we're talking about, where untold millions posing as modern-day Robin Hoods get their kicks distributing illegal content freely. Google's video archives are as good as an enabler as you'll find for these crooks.

That's not to say Google Video is a bad idea. It's just fraught with problems. How Google handles those issues will offer clues as to whether it will become the high-rent digital landlord we all hope it can be or a digital slumlord of a mess of broken-down properties serving as havens for copyright criminals.

Think about it. Every Google property is vulnerable. Gmail has spam, for example. And AdSense has click fraud, as Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz pointed out not long ago. The list goes on and on, which means an increasing part of Google's expenses will have to go toward policing its properties.

I get a little queasy about that because Google is about innovation, not law enforcement. Can management handle the transition? I think so. Consider: Google pulled most of the copyrighted material in less than 24 hours, according to That's a good sign. But, again, this is only the beginning, and risk still abounds. The Foolish investor would be well-advised to stay tuned.

Googling for related Foolishness? Look no further than these:

You don't need to be Scully or Mulder to know that the next Google is out there. Join the search today by taking a risk-free trial toMotley Fool Rule Breakers. Or sign up for a year and get ourbest stock picksfor the next 10 years free. Either way, your portfolio will thank you. eBay and TiVo areMotley Fool Stock Advisor selections.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers thinks Googling may be the coolest made-up word he's ever heard. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which is here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 493036, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2016 9:57:00 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 2 days ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:00 PM
EBAY $29.06 Up +0.04 +0.14%
eBay CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $824.06 Up +2.43 +0.30%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
TIVO $19.90 Down -0.10 -0.50%
TiVo CAPS Rating: **