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Some television networks have banned Google TV from accessing their online episodes out of piracy frustrations. Will customers simply move on to more open networks?  (Source: Reuters)
Fox and MTV Networks haven't blocked their content yet

Your plans to watch those missed new episodes of Chuck on your shiny new Google TV may have to be put on hold.  ABC, NBC, and CBS have all blocked Sony's new HDTVs that pack Google TV from accessing their treasure trove of online episodes that are accessible from the PC for free.

ABC, owned by Walt Disney Co., and NBC, a unit of General Electric's NBC Universal, both still allow the Google TVs to access free teaser clips.  CBS, a part of CBS Corp., does not appear to even allow access to teaser clips.

Other television providers have clearly come out in support of Google.  Among those who provide Google TVs with optimize content include Time Warner Inc.'s HBO, Turner Broadcasting networks, and -- ironically -- NBC Universal's CNBC.

Still other providers like MTV Networks and Fox, a piece of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, remain on the fence with content still accessible, but no official endorsement has been announced yet.  A Fox spokesperson is quoted by 
The Wall Street Journal as saying, "A firm decision has not yet been reached."

It appears that ABC, NBC, and CBS are blocking Google TV both out of fear that they'll draw less ad revenue from the online episodes, and out of anger at Google's unwillingness to apply filtering to its internet search results.  Google TV says it has "optimized" its built in search to show legal episodes first, though illegally uploaded episodes may still pop up.

The internet firm has long clashed with networks on the topic of piracy.  Viacom, owners of Comedy Central and other television channels hoped to spearhead the issue bringing a blockbuster suit against Google.  That suit ended in disaster for Viacom when Google exposed that Viacom employees had been secretly uploading video clips to YouTube under fake usernames, seeking to incriminate Google.  The case was quickly dismissed after that revelation.

A Google spokesperson delivered a tersely worded response on the topic to 
Reuters, commenting, "[Google TV] enables access to all the Web content you already get today on your phone and PC, but it is ultimately the content owner's choice to restrict users from accessing their content on the platform."

Despite its frustrations, the largest internet company in the world says that it is continuing to actively negotiate with the networks to try to restore the content.

Ultimately Google's official statement seems apt -- the biggest losers in this mess are the customers.  And the blocking networks have plenty of cause for concern.  If Google TV gains enough traction, they may find viewers switching to watch TV episodes on more open networks like Fox (assuming Fox doesn't decide that it wants to block too, of course).

Google TV is a specialized version of Android OS optimized to run on Intel's new consumer electronics hardware.  The hardware and OS can be incorporated into Blu-Ray players, or directly into flat-screen TVs.  Past internet-access options relied on an extra set-top box.  

Google makes no money directly from televisions sold with Google TV.  However, it does gain ad revenue from ads that are served when the user searches for content.  It also is using the OS to help funnel more traffic to its property YouTube, which is currently the web's most-visited source of video.

The platform is open to any TV product manufacturer, but thus far only Sony has embraced the operating system.

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RE: Pirated Materials
By phazers on 10/22/2010 11:53:05 AM , Rating: 1

To reduce its overseas tax bill, Google uses a complicated legal structure that has saved it $3.1 billion since 2007 and boosted last year's overall earnings by 26 percent. While many multinationals use similar structures, Google has managed to lower its overseas tax rate more than its peers in the technology sector. Its rate since 2007 has been 2.4 percent.

According to company disclosures, Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM—which together with Google make up the top five technology companies by market capitalization—reported tax rates between 4.5 percent and 25.8 percent on their overseas earnings from 2007 to 2009.

"It's remarkable that Google's effective rate is that low," says Martin A. Sullivan, a tax economist who formerly worked for the U.S. Treasury Department. "This company operates throughout the world mostly in high-tax countries where the average corporate rate is well over 20 percent." The corporate tax rate in the U.K., Google's second-largest market after the U.S., is 28 percent.

In Bermuda there's no corporate income tax at all. Google's profits travel to the island's white sands via a convoluted route known to tax lawyers as the "Double Irish" and the "Dutch Sandwich." In Google's case, it generally works like this: When a company in Europe, the Middle East or Africa purchases a search ad through Google, it sends the money to Google Ireland. The Irish government taxes corporate profits at 12.5 percent, but Google mostly escapes that tax because its earnings don't stay in the Dublin office, which reported a pretax profit of less than 1 percent of revenues in 2008.

Irish law makes it difficult for Google to send the money directly to Bermuda without incurring a large tax hit, so the payment makes a brief detour through the Netherlands, since Ireland doesn't tax certain payments to companies in other European Union states. Once the money is in the Netherlands, Google can take advantage of generous Dutch tax laws. Its subsidiary there, Google Netherlands Holdings, is just a shell (it has no employees) and passes on about 99.8 percent of what it collects to Bermuda. (The subsidiary managed in Bermuda is technically an Irish company, hence the "Double Irish" nickname.)

RE: Pirated Materials
By RjBass on 10/22/2010 1:31:28 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Pirated Materials
By Suntan on 10/22/2010 1:50:20 PM , Rating: 1
hmmm... I'd love to find a smoking broad that would be willing to do a "Double Irish" or a "Dutch Sandwich" to me.


RE: Pirated Materials
By Danish1 on 10/22/2010 2:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
all the corps. do that.

have operated in Denmark for decades without ever posting a profit because their earnings also goes to Ireland.

It's something that really should be dealt with by the western world in unison but those companies are paying enough politicians to make sure nothing will ever happen.

RE: Pirated Materials
By Danish1 on 10/22/2010 2:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
hmmm it ate some of my reply.

It was supposed to say:

Companies like McD, Nestle and Coca Cola have operated in Denmark for decades without ever posting a profit because their earnings also goes to Ireland.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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