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Google's Ban of an Anti-MoveOn.org Ad

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the trademarks-are-not-political dept.

Google 476

Whip-hero writes in with an Examiner.com story about Google's rejection of an ad critical of MoveOn.org. The story rehashes the controversy over MoveOn.org's ad that ran in the NYTimes on the first day of testimony of Gen. Petraeus's Senate testimony. The rejected ad was submitted on behalf of Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins — its text is reproduced in the article. The implication, which has been picked up by many blogs on the other side of the spectrum from MoveOn.org, is that Google acted out of political favoritism. Not so, says Google's policy counsel: Google's trademark policy allows any trademark holder to request that its marks not be used in ads; and MoveOn.org had made such a request.

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Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | about 7 years ago | (#20968599)

Basically, a ad had a trademark on it, and the trademark owner asked for the ad to be removed? Not really big news...
It'll be news if they submitted an ad WITHOUT infringing on a trademark, and that was rejected.

Move-On can't seem to move on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968647)

Their ad backfired spectacularly, and now anyone who even references that ad gets a take-down notice...

And Google bends over backwards for them.

Re:Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

tenchiken (22661) | about 7 years ago | (#20968749)

So what happens if the DNC, or RNC, which are after all political corporations and have their respective party named trademarked forbid Google from displaying any advertising that critiques them.

All of the paranoia, all of the rhetoric, all of te tin foil goes away once it's the other side being muzzled, instead of yours. More proof (as if any where needed) of the complete lack of principles from most of the political slashdot crew.

Re:Sooo.... (1, Troll)

reboot246 (623534) | about 7 years ago | (#20968993)

Oh, this is just a case of Google doing what it damn well pleases. They're showing their true colors and bias.

Re:Sooo.... (1, Insightful)

LameAssTheMity (998266) | about 7 years ago | (#20969213)

Oh, this is just a case of Google doing what it damn well pleases. They're showing their true colors and bias.
Even though this has been stated to not be the case,

are they, as a corporation, not allowed to have political leanings?

Re:Sooo.... (5, Interesting)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 7 years ago | (#20969189)

Or you could, you know, criticize the group without their trademark...it's not impossible...I mean, if I say "Those gosh darned Recoding Industry Association of America people are dumb" I've criticized them without using their trademark, just their name. Names are almost never trademarked, or at least full names (Pepsi may be, but Pepsi Cola Company isn't as far as I know).

Honestly, if you're going to criticize someone you may as well spell out who you're criticizing, what with the ton of different acronyms we have today.

Re:Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969225)

It should be clear that we, the citizens of America (and the world for that matter), are being played off each other.

We're being played. Used by the wealthy and powerful, tricked into fighting over false grievances while the elites literally get away with murder.

Take a glance at TV any time, and you'll see ludicrous BS like "Hannity" and "Colmes." I put the names in quotes because they aren't real people; they are characters. Each is a bumbling caricature of what the opposite political party is supposed to look like. Republicans are supposed to hate the Colmes character, and Democrats are supposed to hate the Hannity character. In reality, neither character says anything reasonable nor worthwhile -- they are purely scripted to trigger the hate-phrases of their respective goading target.

This is just a single example, but when you start to look around you, you notice that almost everything in high-level politics works this way. There are a few exceptions among politicians, but they rarely get elected because they don't play along. Without accepting bribes from wealthy donors, a politician can't afford the ad spots needed to gain popular recognition. Likewise, there are a few exceptions in mainstream media, but they don't last long if they disrupt the flow of advertising money or if they offend their wealthy owners.

Why are we being played?

When we think that our enemies are our neighbors, we will not stand up to the megacorporations fleecing us, and their sycophants in Congress who pass laws to help them steal our money (in return for a small portion of it themselves). We'll quibble among ourselves while they get away with whatever they like. No, the wealthy and powerful aren't concertedly working together against us -- but they're much closer to each other than they are to the teeming masses far below them. They all benefit when we are their slave labor.

We end up supporting the court jester who appears to most closely support our views. In truth, the jesters are all just playing their parts, and they'll all get paid well at the end of the night. We, the paying audience, don't seem to realize it's just a show.

using a trademark <> infringing a trademark (5, Informative)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 7 years ago | (#20968757)

There are many examples of using another's trademark in an ad that do not amount to trademark infringement. The nominative use [harvard.edu] exception allows use of another's trademark to refer to the trademark owner's product or the trademark owner itself when:

[f]irst, the product or service in question must be one not readily identifiable without use of the trademark; second, only so much of the mark or marks may be used as is reasonably necessary to identify the product or service; and third, the user must do nothing that would, in conjunction with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder.
Based on the contents of the ad reproduced in TFA, this ad could easily qualify for the nominative use exception. The determination couldn't be final without looking at the whole ad itself, but the snippets in the article seem to be right in line with these requirements. Certainly, Google has the right to implement any trademark policy it wants. But their policy causes them to reject many ads that are not infringing on others' trademarks. The same policy would stop ads that described the wrongdoing of any organization that has trademark rights in its name (as most organizations that deal with the public do).

Re:Sooo.... (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 7 years ago | (#20968765)

Basically, a ad had a trademark on it, and the trademark owner asked for the ad to be removed? Not really big news...
Unless you spin it into free publicity for your candidate, that is.

"That damn liberal media, they're trying to silence a candidate! Lets vote for her out of spite!"

Re:Sooo.... (2, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | about 7 years ago | (#20968809)

Basically, a ad had a trademark on it, and the trademark owner asked for the ad to be removed? Not really big news... It'll be news if they submitted an ad WITHOUT infringing on a trademark, and that was rejected.
I'm quite sure that referencing a trademark when you're criticizing the holder is considered fair use, and Google is ignoring other ads that use trademarks in a similar fashion. Google may not have violated any law here, but if the article is telling the whole story, I would be hard put to say they aren't Doing Evil. I'd have to see the ad in question to know for sure...

Re:Sooo.... (3, Insightful)

DJCacophony (832334) | about 7 years ago | (#20968929)

Trademarks aren't copyrights, there is no "fair use clause". Beyond that, Google never said they were doing it to comply with laws. They are probably doing it as a professional courtesy. If somebody wanted to put an "ad" up that slammed freerepublic, and freerepublic asked Google not to, then Google would give them the same consideration.

Re:Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | about 7 years ago | (#20969043)

Trademarks aren't copyrights, there is no "fair use clause".

No, Trademark Law also has a fair use doctrine, which includes using trademarks nominatively. Otherwise you'd see Coke and Pepsi suing each other whenever one of them put out an ad comparing the two.

Beyond that, Google never said they were doing it to comply with laws. They are probably doing it as a professional courtesy. If somebody wanted to put an "ad" up that slammed freerepublic, and freerepublic asked Google not to, then Google would give them the same consideration.

The article mentions anti-Blackwater and anti-Exxon ads as being "permitted" by Google, but it doesn't say whether or not the companies have requested takedowns.

Either way, if their trademark use policy doesn't allow for nominative use, it's faulty and needs to be fixed. Plenty of companies run comparative ads (our product versus Competitor X's product), which generally require the other company to be identified.

Re:Sooo.... (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 years ago | (#20969109)

Actually, there is a statutory Fair Use [wikipedia.org] for trademarks. A nonowner may also use a trademark nominatively--to refer to the actual trademarked product or its source. In addition to protecting product criticism and analysis, United States law actually encourages nominative usage by competitors in the form of comparative advertising.

Of course, Google has been sued numerous times over ad keywords and content, so it's not unexpected.

Re:Sooo.... (1)

DJCacophony (832334) | about 7 years ago | (#20969181)

whoops

Re:Sooo.... (4, Insightful)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | about 7 years ago | (#20968859)

It'll be news if they submitted an ad WITHOUT infringing on a trademark, and that was rejected.

Did you read the article, that's what happened! According to the article's quoted intellectual property expert:

Ronald Coleman, a lawyer and leading expert on online intellectual property disputes, noted that, as a private company, Google has the right to treat different advertisers differently.

But he called Google's removal of the Collins ads "troubling." Coleman says that there is no such requirement under trademark law and that Google appears to be selectively enforcing its policy.

"In a recent ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the notion that there is anything like a cause of action under the Lanham Act, the statue governing trademark law in the United States, for so-called 'trademark disparagement,' " Coleman said. The courts have also rejected the notion that the use of a trademark as a search term is a "legally cognizable use" as a trademark use under federal trademark law, he added. Coleman is also general counsel for the Media Bloggers Association.
I think it's bullshit that some people think it's a trademark violation to refer to an organization by name while criticizing it. How could you criticize any company then? It would mean trademark law trumps the first amendment.

Re:Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#20968909)

"There's this company, called... Okay, there's a company that makes an operating system most people use. It's named after a set of glass panes placed in your wall to allow you to see outside. The company... they're called... a word for very small and the opposite of hard. And, see..."

Re:Sooo.... (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 7 years ago | (#20968937)

I think it's bullshit that some people think it's a trademark violation to refer to an organization by name while criticizing it. How could you criticize any company then? It would mean trademark law trumps the first amendment.

The way I understand it, Google doesn't claim that it's a trademark violation, but that the trademark holder has paid to reserve all use of the trademark to their own spot ads.
Much like other advertisers have done to exclusively appear in the "paid spots" for certain search terms.

Regards,
--
*Art

Free Speech? (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20968895)

so I cannot be critical of any corporation or organization? If I don't like the methods of the RIAA, advertising companies can refuse me service? It is certainly within their legal right, because they are private organizations. But is it ethical to refuse customers who wish to push a political message, especially to counter one that already is freely using the advertising service?

Making ads with other people's trademarks should be protected, like if I'm some crappy beige box PC maker I can't really use trademarks for Windows or Intel freely. And if the owners of those trademarks complain the advertiser should take down those ads, to maintain the quality of the advertising.

Google really has only two possible scenarios I see. They are either politically motivated (the company + employees constitutes the largest Democratic campaign contributer in the district for the past few years). Or they are inflexible to the point of being blindly stupid.

Take your pick google, evil or stupid.

Re:Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969041)

Insightfull but dead wrong. Trademark law didn't apply here but Google's left wing nut bias did. Maybe George Soros can buy Google and make all searches terminate in his library of hate groups?

Re:Sooo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969057)

It sounds even less interesting than that. MoveOn made a general request at a previous time to reserve the use of their trademark. The decision to reject this ad was Google's, and not a specific request from MoveOn.

Re:Sooo.... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 7 years ago | (#20969115)

I thought you were allowed to use a trademark to make an ad that criticized or compared another product to that trademarked product.

Re:Sooo.... (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#20969143)

Even if it was a simple matter of "we just don't want to run their ad", what would be wrong with that?

It's capitalism and free entertprise. If Google doesn't want to sell adspace to someone for any particular reason, it is their business. If someone doesn't like it, they can buy a controlling share of google's stock and do something about it.

Re:Sooo.... (2, Interesting)

Gerzel (240421) | about 7 years ago | (#20969191)

No what is news or rather made into news is the Google "Ban" on adds against move-on.org even though there is no such ban. The detail of the trademark will be quietly left out while the pundits loudly shout about the supposed ban.

This is how politics work or doesn't work as the case may be.

the other side of the spectrum from MoveOn.org? (-1, Troll)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 7 years ago | (#20968611)

In other words, Earth?

Re:the other side of the spectrum from MoveOn.org? (0, Troll)

Erris (531066) | about 7 years ago | (#20969137)

The other side of the spectrum from MoveOn are fascists. They are a bunch of right wing nutjobs who hate MLK, science, free software and Google [slashdot.org] . Their hypocrisy is matched only by their ignorance. The sins that Google has committed are all done much larger by the companies they are made familiar with and are told to like by mainstream news. The only thing that's consistent in their arguments is that anything is justified if it's done by a big company to make a buck.

Freedom is a good principle to advocate. Opposing trade with Communists is fine, but ire should also be aimed at M$, Cisco, Yahoo and others who co-operate as much or more than Google. All should be forbidden from trade with China by law and advocates of freedom should also be angry at WalMart for pushing for "normalized" trade. The nut jobs are not. Opposing political censorship is good, but the nut jobs defend big ISPs who have filtered email for political reasons [slashdot.org] . The "neoconservatives" are not conservative, they are fascists and they believe in greed not freedom.

The dumbest of them will put the interests of government and industry above themselves, their family and friends. They advocate government control when it helps make someone rich. It's sad to talk to them.

This is retarded. (4, Insightful)

Silverlancer (786390) | about 7 years ago | (#20968625)

This was on Fark the other day, and between the usual conservative and liberal bashing and flaming, it became quite obvious that this was a non-story:

An organization saw their trademark being used without their permission in an advertisement, and asked that it be taken down.

If this was Microsoft running an ad that said "Ubuntu Linux promotes terrorism," and Ubuntu asked Google to remove it, would you get all angry about how evil Ubuntu and Google are?

Re:This is retarded. (1)

Ice Wewe (936718) | about 7 years ago | (#20968685)

I agree. From the comments that I read, before I became to disgusted and came back to warm and fuzzy Slashdot, this was just a story aimed at starting a political flame war. Yes, I'm a Liberal, yes I listen to NPR, but I also feel that other people's views are very important. Sure, I could start a flame war, but why bother? Google is a private corporation, and while you may not like that you're a conservative and you bought their stock, so dammit they're required to follow your values and morals, Google is allowed to do whatever they want. It's a free country, and whether you like it or not, companies are making decisions for you...

Cancel or Allow?

Re:This is retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968743)

Google is allowed to do whatever they want. It's a free country, and whether you like it or not, companies are making decisions


and people are free to criticize those decisions...

I wonder if Slashdot would be warm and fuzzy if Google banned anti-M$ ads because of trademark issues...

Re:This is retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968707)

Seems kinda hard to be critical of any organization when you can't use their name to describe them.

If the US Government can claim trademark over it's name and say nobody can be critical of them, can't Google?

Do no evil is pretty easy to maintain when nobody can search out the evil done. Some evil they may want to allow, they may even want to keep the public distracted at some kinds of evil while covering up others.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | about 7 years ago | (#20968759)

Its an advertisement. Its perfectly fine if a company doesn't like their advertisements being used for things other than advertising products.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | about 7 years ago | (#20968847)

Exactly, its not like Google isn't going to search stories critical to some group, if they did, it would be a story, its just an ad one of the many that pollute the web, and face it, most /.ers wouldn't have seen it because they use adblock.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

tenchiken (22661) | about 7 years ago | (#20968781)

Since you spun your arguement in a way that the feeble minded b0ts on slashdot will agree with, let me flip the arguement around:
If Canonical put a add in Google and said:
"Microsoft sells your secrets to the NSA, and engages in anti-competitive practices" and Google yanked it, would you still agree.

Careful. Your biases are showing.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

jstomel (985001) | about 7 years ago | (#20968871)

Allow me to be the first to say: I would be totally cool with google yanking that add if Microsoft complained. Google is allowed to make their own trademark and content policies, and as long as they follow them consistently I have no problem with this.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

ceroklis (1083863) | about 7 years ago | (#20968839)

If this was Microsoft running an ad that said "Ubuntu Linux promotes terrorism," and Ubuntu asked Google to remove it, would you get all angry about how evil Ubuntu and Google are?

Yes.

Re:This is retarded. (4, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#20968845)

If this was Microsoft running an ad that said "Ubuntu Linux promotes terrorism," and Ubuntu asked Google to remove it, would you get all angry about how evil Ubuntu and Google are?

Outright defamation is not the same as criticism. Microsoft could and would get sued for that ad, and Google could get sued for it, too.

MoveOn made a political ad criticizing a person by name -- so does that mean it'd be okay to criticize those in MoveOn responsible for the ad, by name, in a rival ad? This is a political thing, and Petraeus, MoveOn is a public figure -- they're fair game in the political world.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

jstomel (985001) | about 7 years ago | (#20968921)

Google and the NYT are allowed to have different policies about what they do and don't allow in their adds. As long as their policies are internally consistent, what difference does it make? And does anyone know whether or not Petraeus asked that his name not be used? Has he ever made any statements to that effect?

Re:This is retarded. (1)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#20968981)

And does anyone know whether or not Petraeus asked that his name not be used? Has he ever made any statements to that effect?

Irrelevant. He's a public figure. It was established way back in a lawsuit brought against Larry Flynt by (I believe) Jerry Falwell that public figures are open game for ridicule. And thank God, because otherwise we could never make fun of the morons without risking a hail of lawsuits.

I never said Google wasn't allowed to have different policies, by the way. I simply said that the example OP presented would be actionable by Canonical, and there's a difference between that and the ad MoveOn is having suppressed.

But I think Google's policy is stupid, and I think MoveOn is being underhanded in attempting to quash people criticizing them -- also hypocritical as they exist to criticize others. I'm not making an advertisement or trying to get an ad on Google; I'm not bound by their bullshit policy, I can say what I want.

Wrong (2, Informative)

G Fab (1142219) | about 7 years ago | (#20968869)

It's a judgment call since Google can do whatever the hell it wants, but there was no trademark violation.

Showing the actions of Moveon in order to criticize them is fair use. There is no question that this ad was not illegal.

Google is liberal. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's obvious. They filter information in a biased way, too. If you look at the fringe sites they allow onto google news, its matches their political views. No right wing nuts, plenty of left wing nuts.

Again, I don't have a problem with google choosing to be biased, but they do.

And maybe they give all trademark complaints instant credit, but I seriously doubt it. This was an invalid complaint and there was no legal reason to pull the ad.

Re:Wrong (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 7 years ago | (#20969173)

Showing the actions of Moveon in order to criticize them is fair use.
But capitalizing on the trademark for campaign publicity isn't.

If you look at the fringe sites they allow onto google news, its matches their political views. No right wing nuts, plenty of left wing nuts.
That's a lie! This simple news search result's second source is "freemarketnews.com", and last time I checked free market was not a lefty wingnut idea http://news.google.com/news?&q=ron+paul [google.com]

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969193)

Clearly you missed the first 2/3 posts about this topic.

The ad contained a trademark which, if the trademark owner so desires, can cause the ad to be pulled via Google's policy. Google is not required to make policies in accordance with fair use! Their servers are private property!

Now, had there been a similar situation involving some anti-anti-abortion website ad, would Google have done the same thing in accordance with their policy? Of course they would!

Re:This is retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968891)

Trademark? What trade are they in exactly? Political skulduggery? Now they want their ball back when someone says something about them. Fucking cry babies.

Re:This is retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969003)

It's the liberal notion of free speech. You have the right to free speech as long as what you say is in agreement with them.

This reminds me of the thing with the Dixie Chicks. They want the right to criticize the sitting President but nobody has the right to criticize them for it. They were portrayed as the victim for how long after that?

Re:This is retarded. (1)

emj (15659) | about 7 years ago | (#20968901)

But that's what is said in the summary, this time the summary was a lot better than the article...

Re:This is retarded. (2, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | about 7 years ago | (#20969069)

Some light reading for you. [wikipedia.org]

The Collins ad and your example have one critical difference: your example is premised on an untrue statement that would be defamatory to (in this case) the Ubuntu Foundation. The Collins ad may have appropriated the MoveOn name, but it did so based on MoveOn's own actions, in a manner that not only doesn't create marketplace confusion about the MoveOn name, but in fact reinforces that trademark.

I don't think it's appropriate to call shenanigans on Google in this case quite yet, but MoveOn got caught with their hand in the cookie jar again. This case is pretty much the same as Evil Corporation filing a lawsuit against {evilcorporation}sucks.com, except using Google as the heavy instead of the judicial system. Oh, and except that people are suddenly unable to see around their political views to get at the heart of the matter, which is that there was no trademark infringement taking place here.

Re:This is retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969113)

On the other hand if there was an ad then said "Linux costs X% less to run than Microsoft Windows Server 2003" wouldn't you complain if they refused to run it? Vice versa for MS fanbois.

Re:This is retarded. (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 7 years ago | (#20969241)

You do not even have to read the article. The summary sais:

Google's trademark policy allows any trademark holder to request that its marks not be used in ads; and MoveOn.org had made such a request.


kdawson, it so typical

Re:This is retarded. (1)

deKernel (65640) | about 7 years ago | (#20969247)

If Google was soooo worried about Trademark infringement, they why did they run the ads that they did because they also violated Trademarks in the same fashion.

Do no evil? Republicans are evil (-1, Flamebait)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | about 7 years ago | (#20968637)

Google pledged to "do no evil." Considering how hard the Republican Party has fucked the world those past few years, I think they're as evil as you can get. Consider this: Al Qaeda killed 3000 americans on 9/11. The Bush administration and its republican minions are responsible for the death of over 4000 american soldiers in Iraq, plus close to 1 million Iraqis, and 4 millions refugees.
So yeah, good for Google.

Re:Do no evil? Republicans are evil (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968677)

Oh yes, and the current system of extraordinary rendition appeared under Clinton. And don't forget that pesky DMCA.

It's not that I like the GOP either - I just think the donkeys, elephants and Googles of this world are all in it for three things: the money, the power, and the women.

Well, actually.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#20968779)

you forgot the cool 767s and your own private runway for said aircrafts.

Re:Do no evil? Republicans are evil (1)

micheas (231635) | about 7 years ago | (#20968827)

You might reconsider the women part of it for the GOP (excluding Condi of course ;-)

No, you are just a traitor... (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | about 7 years ago | (#20968865)

Considering how hard the Republican Party has fucked the world those past few years, I think they're as evil as you can get. Consider this: Al Qaeda killed 3000 americans on 9/11. The Bush administration and its republican minions are responsible for the death of over 4000 american soldiers in Iraq, plus close to 1 million Iraqis, and 4 millions refugees.


This is a bunch of crack. First off, evil arabs killed the 3000 American soldiers. Your million Iraq figure is bloated beyond all possible lies, and even if were accurate, for the most part, Iraqis are killing each other.

So take your oil money, and shove it your ass. Traitor. Go ahead and cheer on Google for their censorship, and I'll cheer George Bush when your traitor ass is sent off to Gitmo.

Re:Do no evil? Republicans are evil (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 7 years ago | (#20968945)

The Bush all evil all the time site is this way ----> http://reddit.com/ [reddit.com]

Re:Do no evil? Republicrats are evil (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20969007)

Whatever, Bush isn't a real Republican. He's some guy who was never presidential material that fell into the job TWICE because of the general failures of our two party system. You can accuse Bush of cronyism, but Clinton replaced much staff when he entered office as well. Which is the tradition of the presidency, and should not worry anyone except people who actually are on the staff.

Why don't you blame the Democrats for not putting forward a candidate that could have had a clear cut victory instead of Gore and Kerry who can only win by margins so small they can be swallowed up by simple statistical errors. Why can't they run another LBJ, FDR, etc. Maybe some of us swing voters would actually start voting for Democrats again.

besides, with all the griping about Bush. I wonder why we can't focus ourselves on the problems of industry, congress , the Fed and other institutions that are either corrupt or incompetent. Bush is in office, he's leaving soon, so move on.

We can't undo our mistakes, lets at least try to learn from them. If there is a candidate running and you think they are the worse possible thing. Democrat or Republican, the solution is not to vote the "opposite". Write a letter to your favorite party, vote for an alternate party, start participating in a parties Primaries (by registering for that party instead of being an independent). And try to put the right people in the House and the Senate to moderate the President, this also works the other way, you can moderate the House and Senate with a good President.

Re:Do no evil? Republicans are evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969235)

Mods? Anyone? Parent's post is weapons-grade flamebait, starting with the title.

What about the other ads with trademarks? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968649)

From the article: "Google routinely permits the unauthorized use of company names such as Exxon, Wal-Mart, Cargill and Microsoft in advocacy ads. An anti-war ad currently running on Google asks Keep Blackwater in Iraq? and links to an article titled Bastards at Blackwater Should Blackwater Security be held accountable for the deaths of its employees?"

Does this mean the only reason we see "Wal-mart sucks" ads are because none of those companies PR/legal departments have asked Google to stop using their trademarks?

Re:What about the other ads with trademarks? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968745)

Sounds like it. Pity the author of the article couldn't have actually dug a little deeper and asked Google whether or not this was the case, but I suppose today's journalist never wants to allow clarification to get in the way of controversy.

Re:What about the other ads with trademarks? (2, Interesting)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | about 7 years ago | (#20969097)

I just spent five minutes googling for the company names in question, as well as searching for " sucks." I saw lots of "X sucks" search results, but few if any ads, and no advocacy ads. Given that the main contention of the article (Google censors ads on a political basis) has turned out to be bunk, I'm willing to bet this additional supposition (Google allows its own policy to be selectively violated) is equally worthless. The original article in question was a shoddy opinion piece with no fact checking done. It doesn't take much effort to discover for yourself that it was, in fact, total crap.

Al Gore on the board (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968687)

I also think it's worth noting that Al Gore serves on the board of Google. Yeah, a lot of corporations have partisan board members and officers, but how many have former Vice Presidents?

Re:Al Gore on the board (4, Insightful)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | about 7 years ago | (#20968761)

If that was true, it might be worth noting. But it's not:

http://investor.google.com/board.html [google.com]

Both Gore and Schmidt are on Apple's board of directors however: http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/bod.html [apple.com]

Just because you're accusing the search tool of partisan hackery doesn't mean it should stop you before making your own partisan hacked up assaults. Not to mention that Al Gore isn't even involved in this case.

Re:Al Gore on the board (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969133)

He's not on the BoD, but he IS a "Senior Advisor" to Google's management team.

Re:Al Gore on the board (1)

JonJ (907502) | about 7 years ago | (#20969199)

Not to mention that Al Gore isn't even involved in this case.

But, but... He made the internet!

don't dis the Hit Dog... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968699)

If you're tired of the war of Iraq, log onto MoVaughn.org and make a generous donation.

It's about the war, Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968705)

It boggles the mind that some in government would piss and moan about the moveon.org political advertising while ignoring a perpetual war, the suspension of habeas corpus, secret prisons, torture, troop deaths, an occupation, over-stretched military, etc.

Wait until those morons discover the political cartoons they've been depicted in.

Well (4, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20968727)

No matter what the causes of the ban are , it's frightening what the power of an (almost) full monopoly on internet seaching services can do. Google is today the number one searching enginw on the internet. It's SO used that "to google" has replaced the verb "to search"... so if Google bans something or have favoritisms for something, this, no matter waht, will have SERIOUS implications for the involved parts. Funny how the powers than be concentrate on the infamious "MS monopoly (whatever that is) and close their eyes on the more serious Google issue.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#20968851)

Funny how the powers than be concentrate on the infamious "MS monopoly (whatever that is) and close their eyes on the more serious Google issue.
The difference, of course, is that Microsoft achieved its position by leveraging its dominant position in order to strong-arm other companies. Google, even though it was late to the game, achieved its position because users found its product to be superior even though its competition had the dominant position at the time.
 

Re:Well (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20969011)

Whaever.. please tell me , back in 1995 which OS my grandma could use? Which alternative? Linuzzz with Midnight Commander? Or maybe an expensive "locked in to hardware" cooperative multitasking MacOS, or a no driver BeOS?... Say what you want about MS methods, but if they got the position they got it was because they happened to offer a relative (imperfect, yes) easy to use OS with good and wide hardware support (not locked in), and with an amazing support for 3rd party programs... So there where abuse issues? I'm the first one to tell: YES, there where, but even withiut those, history tell me that in this field, the fittest and stronger survive, no mather what.

Re:Well (1)

phantomlord (38815) | about 7 years ago | (#20969131)

OS/2. It was backwards compatible with DOS and Win 3.x, had built in internet connectivity, had pre-emptive multitasking, etc. It's the OS that bridged the gap between the DOS 5 days and when I finally switched over to Linux full time. I also remember MS extorting IBM telling them they'd better stop offering OS/2 for their PC sales division or else they'd lose their OEM license for Windows. Memory says MS went around bribing third party dev houses to switch targets from OS/2 to Win32 houses but I'm too lazy to look for references right now. Stardock was the only company I can remember really keeping a commitment to OS/2.

Re:Well (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20969169)

While OS2 was a good OS, it had a lot of issues. yes, it had good MSDOS compatibility, but it was not really an easy to use OS. The interface unintuitive as hell for non- technical users I ask you once again, what OS my grandma could posibly use back in 1995? Microsoft understood that productivity was key, regardless of technical superiority.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20968853)

No matter what the causes of the ban are , it's frightening what the power of an (almost) full monopoly on internet seaching services can do.

I think you mean that it's frightening what the power of international trademark law can do. Do you think Google wrote the code to allow trademark owners to enforce their trademark protections because they wanted to turn away advertising money? They're doing so because they got their asses hauled into court [google.com] about it several times by trademark owners.

What's scary to me is the way "Intellectual Property" law works in general, not that Google in particular complies with it after being forced to do so.

Re:Well (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | about 7 years ago | (#20968889)

This is an advertisement that was banned, not a web site in the normal search results. Google would still be every bit as useful if they banned ads randomly or didn't show ads at all.

So far, Google has a pretty good track record of not hand-tweaking their results (at least in the US).

Re:Well (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20969029)

Dear freak, I'm happy to see your faith in a coorporation of this caliber. I was not talking about THIS case. It was only a refection about the unusual power that Google DOES actually have .

perspective makes mountains out of molehills (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 7 years ago | (#20968923)

Funny how the powers than be concentrate on the infamious "MS monopoly (whatever that is) and close their eyes on the more serious Google issue.
On April 3, 2000, a judgment was handed down in the case of United States v. Microsoft, calling the company an "abusive monopoly" [usdoj.gov] .
Microsoft's position in the OS market is so strong that it manages to be the third most used search engine on the internet [compete.com] , even though its product is vastly inferior to other competitors, since it defaults to searching on that site from many different places in their OS.

As opposed to Google, where I have a nifty search box in my browser that's set to it by default, and comes already loaded with an alternative option should I choose not to use the best engine out there, or to see if I can find elsewhere what Google fails to mention, or if Google is down for some strange reason, or etc.

Re:perspective makes mountains out of molehills (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20968967)

So you are telling me that they are acused of being the THIRD must used engine? Jesus fucking christ... what will be next? Accused of being the #48 most used text editor with Notepad?

Re:perspective makes mountains out of molehills (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 7 years ago | (#20969087)

So you are telling me that they are acused of being the THIRD must used engine? Jesus fucking christ...
Of course not, that isn't even remotely close to what anyone has said. Jesus fucking christ.

Re:Well (1)

Gnostic Ronin (980129) | about 7 years ago | (#20968959)

They don't have anything like a full monopoly. They have a good share of the traffic, but not a monopoly. We can use other Search Engines if we want to. Ask.com, Yahoo.com, Ask Jeeves, About.com, etc. are still available for use. So Anti-Move-On.Org can probably get its ad on one of these other sites.

And while I believe in free speech, there is no right to a microphone. You have the right to SAY whatever you want. But you don't have a right to force someone else to display your content. I can't claim my "free speech" was violated just because NBC didn't air my ad rant about the high cost of cheese. It's their platform, and other than following nondiscrimination laws, they can do what they want to with it.

I think refusing to air one side of a political debate is "EVIL", but they are within their rights here. So I'm going to exercise my right to never touch Google again.

Re:Well (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20969197)

So you are telling me that you cannot get a Mac, or install Linuzzz or use OS/2 or get an Amiga? This IS the same issue, espacially today when more and more programs are bound with Google Toolbar, Firefox is configured out of the box to use it, and even Dells and Lenovo cones with a customized google homepage... What's the difference?

Re:Well (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 7 years ago | (#20968979)

No matter what the causes of the ban are , it's frightening what the power of an (almost) full monopoly on internet seaching services can do.


I don't really see how it's that frightening personally. Google isn't exactly in a position where they can exploit their large market share. They don't have any sort of hold over their users. If they started annoying them the users could easily switch to some other search engine.

It's true if you own a website dependent on traffic from google then it would be frightening to have some sort of messup cause google to ban you. But the minute google actually starts doing such things on purpose articles like this one will pop up all over the place and the people who care will simply stop using google since they want accurate results when they are trying to find something.

Compared to MS who has a lock-in monopoly and a long history of purposely abusing it to cause massive harm to the computer industry it's obvious people are going to "close their eyes" to google in compairison.

I modded you "Troll" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969067)

Take your anti-Google f.u.d. somewhere else, thanks.


And no, I don't care about the moderator "guidelines."

Re:Well (1)

bishiraver (707931) | about 7 years ago | (#20969149)

If you think google is such a big bad monopoly, why don't you start up a competitor? They aren't keeping you from doing that, you know. Which means that while they have a very large market share, they aren't an illegal monopoly. Anyone can go into business in direct competition with them. Just be sure your product is better than theirs, or you don't stand a chance. In fact, PLEASE go into direct competition with them! Competition with google can only make both your product and google's product better. It strengthens the market.

Re:Well (1)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20969215)

So starting up a competitor is a guarantee of not beeing a monopoly? So you are telling me that MS is NOT a monopoly? Because there are a LOT of competitors... And hell, even YOU could start up a new OS. Thsnk you very much for agreeing wih me about the fake MS monopoly.

Trademark everything in sight (1)

MollyB (162595) | about 7 years ago | (#20968755)

summary >Google's trademark policy allows any trademark holder to request that its marks not be used in ads; and MoveOn.org had made such a request.

I'll venture to guess that things we never imagined needing trademarking will now be. And it boils down to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, since so many issues that matter languish while the fabric of our nation frays ever faster.
Can't we stop the food-fight long enough to make issues like this moot?

Actually newsworthy excerpt FTFA (4, Interesting)

thegnu (557446) | about 7 years ago | (#20968777)

Two weeks ago, MoveOn was forced to pay an additional $77,508 following media reports that The Times gave the group a substantial discount for the full-page display attacking Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the American forces in Iraq.

The newspaper initially said MoveOn was charged $64,575, the "standby" rate for advocacy groups with full-page, black-and-white displays that can run anytime during a one-week period.

MoveOn, however, had requested Monday, Sept. 10, the first day of Petraeus' testimony before Congress on the U.S. military surge in Iraq. Because the ad ran on the date requested, The Times later acknowledged that it should have charged MoveOn $142,083.

So the Times accidentally undercharged them, then gets to call up several weeks later and demand the rest of the money? MoveOn.org should have done what I do in cases like this: Send them a bill for additional handling and paperwork for the sum that they're requesting.

Since when do you get to charge someone one amount, deliver the product, and AFTER the fact say, "By the way, we messed up, and you owe us twice as much?" Is this just a case of liberals not being able to stand their ground again? What the hell is wrong with these people that they can't just say that the transaction has taken place, and there's no remedy? I mean, I understand the NY Times going after the money to protect their journalistic credibility, but MoveOn should've thumbed their nose at them, based solely upon the fact that that's not how business works.

Re:Actually newsworthy excerpt FTFA (2, Interesting)

evanbd (210358) | about 7 years ago | (#20969045)

I have no idea how the NYT normally operates, but I imagine it would be standard practice for them to simply declare the amount an outstanding debt and refuse to accept ads from MoveOn until it was payed. And if I were MoveOn, I don't think I'd want to lose the ability to run ads in the NYT over it.

Re:Actually newsworthy excerpt FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20969155)

Good point.
-thegnu

Re:Actually newsworthy excerpt FTFA (2, Informative)

gregorio (520049) | about 7 years ago | (#20969147)

I mean, I understand the NY Times going after the money to protect their journalistic credibility, but MoveOn should've thumbed their nose at them, based solely upon the fact that that's not how business works.
Except that if the whole issue wasn't a mistake at all, but a very common case of illegal financing (charging advocacy groups less is considered a form of financing), then it is not just about mischarging. I'm pretty sure that a MoveOn supporter/member inside the Times managed to get the ad for less than usual and later someone found out about it, mostly because the ad was controversial.

It's pretty hard to legitemately mischarge this kind of service. I consider it to be pretty obvious that someone managed to get stuff for less and when they got busted, they had to charge the remaining sum.

Re:Actually newsworthy excerpt FTFA (1)

thegnu (557446) | about 7 years ago | (#20969209)

It's pretty hard to legitemately mischarge this kind of service. I consider it to be pretty obvious that someone managed to get stuff for less and when they got busted, they had to charge the remaining sum.

They could have learned from the Republicans and just denied it until forever. If it WAS an honest mistake, there would be no reason to pay. Which, I admit, it probably wasn't.

I'm not trying to rag on Republicans. They're just evil and smooth, whereas the Dems are sort of evil and awkwardly self-loathing. And I don't mean all of them on either side.

Ah, more Liberal censorship (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | about 7 years ago | (#20968795)

So much for free speech from the left wing. The fault here really isn't Google, although they could arguably using a weak legal argument to be sympathetic to a particular group, it's MoveOn, whose basically taken a page from the book of scientology to try and avoid criticism of itself. What a bunch of thugs!

Re:Ah, more Liberal censorship (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 7 years ago | (#20969101)

The Left always does what they accuse the Right of doing. That's why they scream bloody murder - to obscure what they've been doing all along.

Being a liberal is standing on your head and telling the rest of the world it's upside down.

Over heard moves which shouldn't be published, (1)

zukinux (1094199) | about 7 years ago | (#20968875)

If it wasn't Google whom blocked an Ad, and it was let's say one of those sites : msn.com, yahoo.com, altavista.com, ... . No one would even care. But because it's Google, THE FREEDOM FIGHTER, whom blocked an ad, that's purely a discretion of democracy.
We shouldn't over-react to moves like that, Like we wouldn't over react to same moves by yahoo or msn. Google has its rights to choose whom to publish or not. That's it!

Great, so look forward to trademarks on (1)

HarryCaul (25943) | about 7 years ago | (#20968881)


Global Warming
Iraq War
Tax Increase
Tax Cut
Death Penalty
Gun Control
President Bush
President Clinton
etc etc etc.

This will be fun.

Silly (2, Insightful)

Silver Surfer 1 (193024) | about 7 years ago | (#20968947)

So by simply discussing this article we are in violation of the MOVEON.ORG trademark.
Why has this not been removed?
Moveon.org can dish it out but they sure cant take it.

Google's perception of it's position in the market (1)

mangastudent (718064) | about 7 years ago | (#20968951)

A solid 1/3 of the US is "conservative" / Republican (not the same 1/3s, BTW, especially as of late :-).

It says something about Google's perception of their position in the marketplace that they feel they can be so brazen. Pissing off that large a fraction of your customer base is not something you should do lightly ... it's not written in stone that they will always provide the best search results (even if we can't foresee them getting a competitor that's at least as good, but perhaps ... less evil...?).

Re:Google's perception of it's position in the mar (1)

Spad (470073) | about 7 years ago | (#20969033)

World Population: 6 billion, give or take
US Population: 300 million, give or take

100 million / 6 billion = 1.6%

Hardly a large fraction (And yes, I know it doesn't account for the ~5 billion people without internet access, but neither did your figures).

Re:Google's perception of it's position in the mar (1)

mangastudent (718064) | about 7 years ago | (#20969119)

Until you care to estimate how large a fraction of Google's audience, now and in the medium term, has significant disposable income as well as access, I don't think your statistics are very interesting.

And any way you look at it, 1/3 of the population of the wealthiest country in the world is not a group you should go out of your way to scorn.

Partisans' perception of their own position. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20969205)

Yes, but what percentage of the US conservative population is so brazenly partisan that they'd be upset at a company for complying with a request to take down an ad from an organization who owns a copyright used in said ad?

And is the ephemeral wrath of partisans who will inevitably find someone else to be more ticked off at in a month or two worth more than a potential lawsuit from MoveOn?

People like to self-inflate their own group's importance, but how much do you think Disney is really suffering from having Gay Days at Disneyworld after over a decade since the initial furor started? For that matter, how's anyone in "the liberal media" faring in spite of near-religious conservative belief in their bias? The current flap is nothing but a tempest in a teacup.

MoveOn... schmoveon. (1)

Topherbyte (747078) | about 7 years ago | (#20969025)

I seem to recall MoveOn coming into existence to oppose a certain political red herring involving a blue dress.

WTF are they still around?

ISN'T THAT RICH (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | about 7 years ago | (#20969073)

Moveon can criticize, but god forbid if anyone criticize them!

Goose meet the gander.

Trademark Reform and Advertising (3, Interesting)

logicnazi (169418) | about 7 years ago | (#20969219)

This is a troubling policy. Frequently trademarked expressions are the only short common way to reference a particular organization. If that organization can block the use of that trademark in advertisements it can control a great deal of what is said about it. Sure individual blogs can do what they want as long as it is legal but even with the internet if you want your message to reach the people who aren't already believers you need a way to reach out to large numbers that don't regularly visit any site who will express your view for free and that means advertising.

One is tempted to blame google in this situation but I'm not really sure what else they could do. When they have sold keywords that were close to a trademark even when the ad itself contained no trademark they came in for a lot of criticism and even lawsuits. Moreover, I would guess (but can't be sure) that they would be at risk of being sued for trademark infringement if they allowed ads to keep running that were engaging in genuinely misleading usage.

Now you might think that google should just let ads like this one run but not ads that use the trademark for competitive advantage. However, not only would this be difficult and expensive it seems likely that google would be forced to rule on tough close choices not to mention keeping having experts in trademark law from all the countries the ad is going to run in examine the use. It would probably be better at this point for them to make an exception for political speech but this still doesn't solve all the difficulties. A much better solution would be to seek an international treaty on trademarks that lets intermediate companies like google step out of the way and requires any legal action to be brought directly against the advertiser.

It isn't like google is never biased. Their policy (or at least their TOS last time I looked) on what custom buttons for their toolbar they will put into their gallery is pretty bad. It lets you post search buttons for sites that advocate gun control but not for sites that advocate gun possession (presumably like the NRA). Still if they are telling the truth here I don't know if this is really one.

True colours? (0)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | about 7 years ago | (#20969249)

I don't know why people are talking about this being Google showing its true colours. Google have always claimed that their motto is "don't be evil", and supporting a pro-democracy group over a militarist group is simply in line with that.
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