Re: Interview with David Wetherell of CMGI

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From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 19:59:03 PST wrote:

> "Stephen D. Williams" <> writes:
> > Lexis-Nexis was indexing tons of things from multiple 'databases' for
> > years. I worked there from 1991-1994. Of course we, as developers,
> > were unable to drag them into the Internet world. They could have been
> > THE search engine: In 1991 they were indexing 3+ terabytes of data nightly.
> An interesting scenario.
> Lexis-Nexis's work is not useful for prior art invalidating
> AltaVista's patents, though, as (a) they weren't spidering anything
> and (b) they didn't publish.

They weren't spidering? What about all those dialouts to magazines, newspapers,
and court houses to download new data every night?

They didn't publish? After you paid $35 to do a search, you then paid something
for each document you viewed. Essentially they republished every single thing
they took in. Sort of like Google's caching, only with spell checking and
parts-of-document markup added.

> They're also on the side of the demons with regard to sui generis
> database rights, although maybe with the DMCA, those aren't such a big
> deal any more --- copyright as enforced in the ways Gilmore describes
> could be almost as bad.

Indeed, West Publishing created an Oligopoly rather than give up their government
bestowed monopoly on court records. That was a deal with the devil. Lexis
started out fighting against misuse to get started and then was coopted into
participating in it. That's what you get with 3000 lawyers on staff.


OptimaLogic - Finding Optimal Solutions     Web/Crypto/OO/Unix/Comm/Video/DBMS   Stephen D. Williams  Senior Consultant/Architect
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