back to article Google insists it couldn't have been British. Excuse me?

How curious. The Government's review into IP and growth may have been set up by mistake, or at least on a false premise. On announcing the review last November, Prime Minister David Cameron said something quite curious. Cameron explained that the review was a response to Google's concerns... "The founders of Google have said …


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  1. Is it me?

    What is Cameron on...

    And Tony the Blair for that matter, both seem to think throwing names like Microsoft and Google around the place are a universal panacea for something, though what they don't seem to be able to get a grip on.

    Somehow I doubt there are many, if any politicians in the UK who actually understand IT, look who Francis Maud has to advise him.

    DC likes Google, well so do lots of us but don't see what the point of sucking up to them is, nor do I see any benefit to UK PLC.

    Totally agree that UK makes it difficult for innovative start-ups to grow an flourish, but mainly that's finance, ARM & Autonomy show it's possible, but an awful lot will get borged by US companies with better financial backing, and UK PLC is much happier selling out that growing a business over the longer term. in fact UK PLC is crap at supporting itself, to push more UK companies onto the world stage.

    Copyright is a red herring, and the easier it is for Google to borg information, the better their revenues.

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Can you expand...?

        I was with you right up to the last paragraph...

        > Cameron, as much as I hate the guy, is doing the right thing in angling for better support for tech companies in the UK. In fact, this is one of the few positive policies I've even seen that come from his side of government

        What, ACTUALLY is he doing / has he done?

        The IP review is pretty much irelevant. IP isn't a big problem in creating big businesses in the UK - funding is, risk financing is, skills shortage, talent, etc etc

        Cameron has done nothing to help those.

        The R&D tax credit is a great scheme: that is rumoured to be under threat.

        CGT (if you were one of the few people who built a succesful business) increased 50%

        The few tax credits (EMI, VCT) have either gone or under review.

        As I say, I agree with everything else you wrote, but that last para "doing the right thing" has me mystified.

      2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        RE: AC

        Well Cameron also wanted a British Silicon Valley, so if this review actually helps then good, if not, he's just giving big companies a bigger stick to beat our wallets with.

        1. Marvin the Martian

          "Cameron Wanted", but so what?

          It's almost irrelevant what he wants if there's no strategy formulated, let alone implemented.

          There's targets, and steps to be taken. Target: silicon dales. Strategy: ??

          Now it's just underpants gnomes logic: "no no no collecting underpants is just step one. Step one: collect underpants. ... . Step three: profit!" "What's step 2?"

      3. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Probably because

        ARM don't produce any products. They licence out a CPU core design and instruction set.

        The fact they exist is something, every other UK computer pioneer has ended up bust or moved into another market.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not so much tax

        > What Cameron is angling for are the $1bn+ giants, the ones that really bring in massive tax takings

        In the US, HP paid taxes at a rate of 2% on their income in 2010. Not quite a tax bonanza for the government, and I don't imagine the others paid much more.

  2. Magnus_Pym

    I for one...

    ... would be glad if Google could not be set up in this country.

  3. Mike Shepherd
    Thumb Down

    "...Google...could never have Britain"

    Maybe you could say the same of Al Capone. His was another business based on the work of others unable to enforce their rights.

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    1. Anonymous Coward

      Fail comment

      So theft is OK, we get it. Perhaps if only 1 in 20 car sales was legitimate, and the rest were stolen, the car industry would have to get used to it too.

      "I'm a lone creator"

      You sound like a lonely bloke. You admit that you are only talented enough as a creator to create content for a hobby, not for a living, but that is no reason to envy other people's success. Perhaps they get better looking girlfriends too. Professionals should not have to lose their livelihoods because it suits you.

      The music industry is not dying, but it is smaller thanks to selfish idiots like you.

      As for Google contributing more to the UK economy than media, music, fashion or movies - ahem, the facts say otherwise. That line of argument just proves you are blinded by anger and envy.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Would you steal a car..., of course not. But, if you could *download* a car - you bet I would, and so would a lot of other people. Doesn't make it stealing, though. Reduction of *potential* future sales, possibly, but not theft.

        Copyright infringement != theft, no matter how hard you want to believe it.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          What is it about people in IT...

          And car analogies?

          1. Tom 35 Silver badge

            The content companies started it

            With stupid stuff like the locked "you wouldn't steal a car" things that play on DVDs that people paid for.

            1. Spleen

              Re: The content companies started it


              If a car you bought legitimately refused to start for 5 minutes each morning while it screamed "STOP STEALING CARS, YOU TERRORIST" from the satnav, then another 5 minutes telling you you should go back to the dealership and buy some more cars before it deigned to drive off, while a pirated car would start instantly, even the car manufacturers would download cars.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          I'm not stealing, Ma - I'm only downloading!

          "But, if you could *download* a car - you bet I would, and so would a lot of other people. Doesn't make it stealing, though."

          Doesn't make it right, either. Direct harm is being caused to the artist, in the reduction of current sales.

          Freetards seem to need to recite this "downloading isn't stealing" chat to themselves nonstop. Maybe so they can start to believe it's true.

          1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

            It *isn't* stealing...

            ...but it does enable people to "try before they buy", which is what the big companies hate - they find it more difficult to shovel just any old crap out into the market. I shouldn't need to point you towards the studies which show that people who download also happen to be the biggest group of buyers as well - but they're *choosy* buyers...

            "Content creators" need to realise that the world doesn't owe them a living, and it they're only doing it for money then maybe they shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

          2. A J Stiles


            "Direct harm is being caused to the artist, in the reduction of current sales" -- *no* *it* *isn't*.

            What people who take this attitude are missing is, if it wasn't possible to download stuff for free, most of them would manage perfectly well without it.

          3. Martin Owens


            Is harm being caused? can you link downloading to reduced sales?

            Because I can show you a couple of studies and cases which show downloads cause increases in sales.

            You're assumptions are counter to reality.

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        4. Anonymous Coward


          "Copyright infringement != theft" ?

          Try arguing this position with J K Rowling.

          She has a long history of proving people like you wrong, so I expect you will lose.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          you cant download a car, that would be silly, but you can jump in a car and drive it around for a while to see if your happy with it...cant do that with movies im afraid

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        1. Turtle


          "Maybe you're just one of those artists he describes who think the world owes him even though no one is willing to pay for his content."

          He might be in the same situation as many many other artists: the people may not be willing to *pay* for the content but seem very happy to *steal* it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            ...then if the content providers don't like it stop creating content.

            Just coz you think your content is worth something doesn't mean it is.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Double fail on you

        Obviously theft is not ok but you simply did not read what he said.

        He said that piracy needed to be factored in to your calculations when setting a price. ALL retailers (Bricks and mortar) factor in a %age that a product on the shop floor has to be marked up to cover items that WILL be taken by shoplifters - This is a fact of life. Still doesn't make theft ok BUT they cover their potential losses - If they stop shoplifters they make more profit, if they don't they make less profit.

        Welcome to the real world son.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          @ Double fail on you

          You are comparing apples and oranges.

          If you walk in HMV and take a $20 DVD, HMV is out "REAL" money. The money they paid for the DVD (the studio don't really care as they got their money), something like $12, so they will have to sell two more discs to make up that loss. There is also $8 in "maybe" money that they might have got if they were able to sell the DVD, but it's only maybe as they might have had to return it on stock balance or bargain bin it if no one bought it.

          If you download the same movie from some torrent site there is no "REAL" money. No one has less money then they had before you downloaded the movie (unlike HMV in the example above). There is only "maybe" money. If you couldn't download it maybe you would buy a copy, or rent it, or watch it on pay TV... But maybe you would not watch it at all, or as others have said maybe you like it so much after downloading it that you will buy a copy where you would not have before seeing it.

          HMV know the number of items that walk, and they know number they sell, and what they pay for them in real money. They CAN calculate how much they need to charge, and how much to spend on cameras and sensor tags and such.

          You can't calculate maybe money*.

          How much extra are you going to charge because maybe someone didn't buy it? Who is going to charge extra? The studio? HMV? Both?

          If you charge more will the people who actually buy keep buying the same number of items (pay you more in total) or just spend the same and buy fewer items? Or buy less, or nothing and spend their money on beer? (the amount of money people have is fixed)

          *The studios guess. They pull a number out of their ass (a big one) then multiply it by another number they pull out of their ass because the first number was probably too low, then multiply it by the SRP and say they lost $6 bizzillion and it's a loss of 214,341 jobs and funds terrorists, and other bad stuff...

    2. midcapwarrior

      google already plays witjh the rankings

      Google plays with the rankings to promote their sites and services. So don't act like they keep their hands off their sacred algorithm. They do when they can make money. Getting rid of the prate sites would reduce their ad revenue.

  5. myhandle

    Copyright? WTF???

    Copyright is not the problem. It's the patent system. Creative development is not hinder through the inability to literally take someone else codes, it's more than todays copyright's are mostly BS based on rearrangements of existing code and you can only afford the mountain of lawyers to play the game if you are already huge. Cameron... Keep software "patents" out of the way and forget about copyright from an economic perspective. If you want to take about preservation of culture, that's something else. Why did the government extend copyright to 100 years for the music industry? However, that has little connection with small startups.

    1. Mike Shepherd
      Thumb Down


      Is there an English version of this post?

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And even then...

        ....I get the impression over half the stuff on youtube is a blatant copyright infringement.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Poor, poor YouTube

        " Even in the US it's been a bumpy ride and it's been costly for YouTube and Google videos to handle thousands of DMCA requests each week"

        Poor things. They built a business on the back of somebody else's stuff, and only got a measly $1,500,000,000 for it.

        The world really is upside down for some commentards.

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          1. JimC

            >you Tube.Fair use

            No, You Tube survived because it was impossible to sue the thieving ******* because of of their misuse of carrier provisions, and because noone could afford to pay play the game of whackamole that it took to *keep* your content out of their thieving hands as as fast as you got it taken down it was just put up there again.

            Its a simple and effective model - claim that you are nothing to do with all the illegal content whilst continuing to rake in the advertising money you get from hosting it, relying on all the freetards to keep on uploading the stuff for you, with the freetards safe in the knowledge that it was practically impossible to stop them uploading it...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    or was it because Larry and Serge are American?

    Americans moving to the UK to set up their company would have just been weird.

    leaving aside the fact the UK is becoming and un-imaginitive police state, shaped by politics almost as stupid as the US, hampered by an expensive broadband infrastructure, convoluted and painful business regulation and suffering from a massive brain drain it's small wonder that very few players on the world stage are incubated in my old home country.

    it's easier to innovate - both culturally and practically - in countries like the US, Australia, Canada or even Eire and South Africa so it's small wonder your politicians are looking around for someone to blame while not doing what they should do and investigating the 800lb gorilla who is busy ignoring UK privacy laws and when caught doesn't even get a slap on the wrist

  7. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Google in UK?

    Nah, they'd set-up in Ireland. Much better for corporation tax there.

    Copyright? That only comes into it because it makes it awkward for Google to copy everything and serve it up to people without paying, in order to make them visit google's ad sites.

  8. Havin_it

    Metaphor Police, nobody move

    "...the elephant in the room ... is the 800lb gorilla."

    I always wondered why they'd never been photographed together.

    Thanks Andrew, that made my day.

  9. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    When google set up...

    ...their only product was a search engine.

    Copyright didn't become an issue until they bought YouTube and started making money out of serving ads alongside brazen copyright violations. (Frankly I'm still surprised that they've got away with this.)

  10. Tom 260

    Culture of high risk investment...

    Yes, and look what happened to the banks in the US with their high risk subprimes...

  11. penguin slapper


    Nah, they'd set-up in Ireland.

    They're already registered in Ireland for tax purposes - Google avoid vast sums of tax in the UK this way (as do all the other tech giants).

    America has a long tradition of corporations using public money to fund R&D and then wrapping the results up in patents and copyright and profiting for years.

    The UK would jump on a successful back and seek to tax it out of existence but wouldn't help at all in the initial setup and growth.

    Google wouldn't get started in the UK because no one here is encouraged enough to come up with good ideas and on the rare occasion, despite the oppression, misery and apathy, that someone does come up with a good idea, they bugger off over seas to take advantage of the cheap labour rates at the first opportunity.

    Yes, Mr. Dyson, I'm looking at you.

    Cameron is out of his depth on this, as on most other subjects.

  12. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Viva la Freetard?

    Isn't it actually good that Google wouldn't have started up in the UK, that we have more respect for what people produce and make a living from?

    Not to say that what the UK has is perfect by a long shot but it seems far better than the, strangely conflicting, situation in the US where at one extreme you can buy something but not do anything with it and at the other exploit others' work with impunity.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... and if it hadn't been for you pesky kids

    Phorm would have been a great (sort of) British success story.

    "our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation"

    i.e. the law isn't bendable to the whims of corporations. Unlike our politicians.

  14. pixl97

    Craptent publishers try to kill golden goose again.

    Craptent: Crap content that publishers value at gold, demand full control of distribution rights, and see government protection of the revenue stream on, forever.

    If you make your living selling craptent, here's my advice. GET OUT NOW. Why, that fancy multi-gigahertz you're likely sitting behind can produce craptent too. Not only make it, they can copy your craptent and distribute it to every one else in the world. Your shiny little bits aren't precious and aren't special, once they are out of your system and on to the 'consumers' they can be replicated indefinitely and become effectively worthless.

    What people are willing to pay for is services that are convenient. iPod+iTunes store and Netflix for example. That combo right there has dropped my desire to pirate to zero. There is so much low cost craptent that I no longer feel the need to consume (or copy) expensive craptent. We are awash in so much craptent that the value comes in being able to find what you want in this sea of shit.

    This is were google comes in. You may not like them, but if you use their tools correctly you they can connect you and your customer. No, you don't have to exploit Goo's ability to do that, but guess what, your competitor is, have fun watching your customer base erode. Ya, 20 years ago most businesses competed at a local or regional scale. Not any more, these days the widget maker right down the road from me competes with megacorps in China. If they tried to compete on price alone, they'd be dead in the water. Service is where the money is in the future, producing bits that everyone else can copy is a dead end.

    This is only a taste of what the digital revolution will bring.

    Craptent is dead. Long live Craptent!

    1. Mme.Mynkoff

      I see what you're doing there...

      It's very clever!

    2. JimC


      Ye, I think you're right on the money there in one aspect at least: the digital revolution is likely to result in oceans of crap content.

      I fear that the last 50 years will turn out to have been a golden age for high quality popular music which will not be repeated because there will no longer be an infrastructure to support full time professional artists. The same raw talent will still exist of course, but only a tiny minority, probably paid by wealthy patrons, will actually be able to make a living working full time and thus be able to hone their skills sufficiently.

      Welcome to your grave new world...

  15. Chad H.

    I'd like to think....

    I'd like to think that the reason why google wouldn't have succeeded in Britian is we're far too sensible. Google's business plan seems to be: 1. Make something 2. ??????????? 3. profit.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Some days I get up earlier than usual...

    ...just so I can despise the likes of Google and Cameron a bit longer that day.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "I don't have trouble identifying with such people,"

    "Some of my best friends are bl..."

  18. Magnus_Pym

    Car analogy

    Imagine it were legal for a small manufacturer to use existing running gear and graft on a body that looked similar to a car designed and built by a large corporation. How awful, it would be like theft, it would be like stealing the brain child of the designer. It would certainly stifle innovation. I for one am glad that could never happen here in good old blighty.

    1. Charles Manning

      If the Brits made it....

      it would leak oil. Until the internet leaks oil the Brits will be mystified.

      Just about all great Brit brands have been bought out by their competitors and will probably make more money under new ownership. Perhaps that will one day happen for ARM too.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    we have a criminal lack of funding

    or is that a lack of criminal funding?

  20. Savvo

    What am I missing?

    Surely Google didn't set up in the UK because Page and Brin lived in California when they started it? If they'd been doing their PhDs here they'd have started the company here.

  21. codemonkey

    Fiddle me this...

    Nuff said

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Copyright Law

    It was all OK until you wrote ' "I don't believe IP is the problem," said Alison Wenham, representing independent music companies.'

    In recent years PRS (that's Protection Racket Society formerly known as Performing Rights Society) has been nudging the boundaries of the law on copyright for some years, charging garages license fees for their employees to listen to radio on the grounds that a customer might drive in with the radio on and the window down, kennel owners for putting the radio on for their dogs to listen to, employees of firms to listen to talk radio stations on earphones, charities to perform Handel's Messiah to get money for their good cause (sure - Handel got the entire royalties personally), one-person companies working at home to listen to the radio, ad nauseam...... All of this is on the basis of copyright law - or at least PRS' interpretation of it.

    If this is what is meant by UK copyright law making for an uncertain business environment I couldn't agree more. With that kind of copyright law - who would want to do business here?

  23. JohnG


    At the time that Google were starting out, UK copyright law required plaintiffs to demonstrate their losses if they wanted to win a case and was therefore, considerably more attractive to the likes of Google than that of the USA where plaintiffs simply pull large numbers from thin air. UK copyright law only became more stringent after US media figures entertained key politicians, who then cobbled together some crappy legislation.

  24. Dropper

    We lack sufficient penguins

    Some people might say taxes, others copyright, but clearly anything Google or the Government say is designed to mislead and distract everyone from the truth. That truth is simple and yet brutal. Britain does not contain sufficient penguins to power Google's generators. Presumably in the US they don't have such supply issues, although I'm not sure that speaks well of that country's animal rights laws and their zoo's penguin redundancy/overcapacity.

  25. CN Hill

    Google Books

    Google Books are an outrage. They take works which they know perfectly well are copyright, scan them, and make them as available as on a pirate bit torrent site.

  26. Syntax Error

    "I'm a lone(ly) creator/bloke"

    One Anonymous Coward bitching about another. LOL

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright isn't a word Google understands

    Since Google have always ignored copyright, and have perpetrated the biggest copyright breach in history with their Google Books project, I don't see what difference it makes what the law is in any country.

    Basically, they're claiming that the UK government would have done a better job of enforcing the law than the American one; I think the evidence is against such a claim. UK law is there to protect the rich, not punish them.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was anyone reminded...

    ...of this?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The truth is ...

    ... while the politicos have a much delayed vision about the importance of intellectual property it is, unfortunately, Whitehall that calls the shots.

    And unfortunately more still UK civil servants don't really like or are comfortable with fast pace of change (unless of course it has to do with pensions, annual leave, relocation allowances, career path structures or celeries (oops I mean salaries - silly mee!) in which case see you in high court tomorrow rules?

    I guess we can say that Google's observation about the UK holds true for Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, ... and basically any organisation that needs to retain ownership of its intellectual property.

    Maybe on Maslow's triangle IP in the UK featues about the third tear down?

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