Almost 4 billion searches are made daily on the most popular search engine, and people of all nations and social classes use it for information, entertainment, comparison, documenting, shopping and validation.
I am one of those who buys hundreds of thousands of people as a digital marketing consultant and uses the advertising service. It’s brilliant and I recommend it to everyone. But they are also produced as a simple search engine user. For each of my roles, intellectual property rights on my own content are respected and confirmed as such by the Terms of Service statement of the service.
Say I’m a regular search engine user and I’m looking for an article about new mobile technologies, so every word written on the search bar becomes a keyword or keyword search phrase that gives me access to a database. The words I wrote, though they belong to me, are simple keywords, a new classification in the search engine universe, but they are not covered by the copyright law.
It does not affect me and I can never prove the ownership of terms like ‘mobile’ 2017 ” new technologies’. But what do we do when the purpose for which we use this service is not for information, comparison of products or services, documentation or shopping? What happens if I use the Search Service for idea validation, that product of human intelligence intrinsically proprietor?
Out of the 4 billion searches surely will be, in a considerably smaller percentage, searches with the scope of validation of ideas, original ideas, disruptive ideas mentioned on the search bar to validate their feasibility and to prove their originality. According to the European Copyright Office , the right of intellectual property does not include the protection of ideas, concepts that are not trademarks of commercial differentiation or registered inventions. Ideas are protected only when an idea or concept becomes a registered invention (patent) or a mark of differentiation first published, whether registered or not (ie copyright).
So the first sentence below extracted from the Terms and Conditions statement of one of the largest search engines does not reassure us at all knowing the above. Also, if we look at an extract from this statement we will see some revealing keywords:
“Some Services allow you to upload, send, store, or receive content. You retain all intellectual property rights in the content. In short, everything that belongs to you remains your property.
When uploading, uploading, storing or receiving content on or through the Services, you grant (to and to the parties with whom we work) a global license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations, or other changes we make to make that content work better with our Services), communication, publication, public execution, public display and distribution of that content. The rights you grant under this license have the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving the Services, as well as developing new services.”
Claiming your right to use the content of emails and generally the keywords we write or receive for advertising purposes is acceptable but the worrying part is that the service can reproduce the idea and create derivative works based on the content received or written by you. The parenthesis that follows the phrase ‘derivative works’ is not exhaustive but merely exemplary according to the lawyer. Under these circumstances, the search engine can use your content, such as innovative application ideas or business that you validate on the search engine, and reproduce them. If it does or does not, we do not know and it’s very difficult to find out when the former employees are under lifetime confidentiality contracts.
This concern for your content may seem paranoid, but for many individuals, inventors, programmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, or even all those companies that value innovation, these things are worrying. Once again, we realize that nothing in this world is free.
I can not help thinking about all that search information and wondering how many of them have led to parent company derivatives.
What can we do? We take care of how we validate our ideas and what information we write. Ambiguity is useful.
We use the product without counter-cost as the ideal environment for online promotion and provide protection through patenting and publishing.