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By Football Italian staffA few weeks ago, when we spoke to Google, the internet giant was struggling to cope with the rise of new rivals like Yahoo, Amazon and Facebook.
It’s an understandable reaction, considering the internet giants are often accused of stealing our data and are subject to US copyright law, which makes it illegal to share content.
But when we asked what Google’s position on these threats was, it replied that it does not support them.
We asked why and Google’s spokesman replied that “our relationship with the EU is very good, and we will continue to work with it”.
While this statement might seem surprising, it’s important to understand that Google is a US company.
The US has long maintained that the EU’s copyright laws are too weak to apply in Europe, a position Google has never publicly backed up.
And even though Google is not a US firm, the European Union’s copyright rules are not very favourable to Google’s European competitors.
We asked Google what it thinks of US copyright laws.
“We believe the EU should not enforce copyright laws on US companies,” Google spokesman Michael Schroder told us.
“We think the current EU rules are too lenient on companies like Google, so we will not be using our business here in the US to enforce copyright law on US competitors.”
We asked what it would take for Google to do something like that.
Its spokesman replied: “The EU should use the same rules and principles that apply to other countries.”
That’s not a particularly encouraging answer.
The EU’s laws are pretty much like those in the United States, which have always required a fair deal for companies like Yahoo and Amazon to stay in business.
But as Schroder explains, Google’s business is different.
The US has laws that give US companies the same rights to copyright as European countries, but they are more restrictive.
That’s because US copyright is more complex than those in other countries, and there are different laws in each state.
This means the US companies have more to fear from US copyright rules than they do from European ones.
As a result, European companies have been able to operate in the digital age by operating in different parts of the world.
“We think it is important to protect these companies from the US,” said Schroder.
“The EU will continue working with the US on these issues, and this is a major concern for European companies.”
In short, the answer to the question posed to Google about US copyright and EU copyright laws is that the US does not “need” the EU.
“European companies are more secure than US companies because we have a different copyright regime and we have fewer restrictions on US-based companies,” said the company’s spokesman.
In other words, it doesn’t really matter if Google’s policies are actually a threat to US competition, as long as the EU does not enforce them.
This is a common position amongst Google’s EU rivals.
In fact, when asked whether Google could have prevented US content from reaching the European market, a spokesperson for Yahoo told us that “we are happy to work closely with the European Commission”.
“We are not in a position to say that it is better for us to cooperate with US law enforcement agencies than with European ones,” said a Yahoo spokesperson.
“It is possible to reach agreement on the European approach to copyright issues.
We are happy for Google and Yahoo to work on this issue with the relevant parties.”