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|Rupert Murdoch wants new internet regulations to protect journalism|
| 6:38 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Journalism and print based companies like Rupert Murdochs News Corp and the NY Times are said to be struggling to turn a profit online and as some print publishers are going under Mr Murdoch suggests in an article today that companies like Google and Yahoo not "repeat" news stories without paying a premium.
Source:Reuters, Washington - [news.yahoo.com...]
|Murdoch also addressed concerns among newspaper publishers that search engines like Google Inc and Yahoo Inc help users to find stories by aggregating links to newspapers websites and blogs -- but then wrest ad dollars from them that they think should be theirs. |
"The question is, should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyright... not steal, but take," said Murdoch. "Not just them but Yahoo."
To me those are fighting words and this is my response
#1 - Nobody holds a copyright on the news, the copyright lays with the written word so Mr Murdoch is free to block the search engines and to force anyone who wants to read what his company writes to pay. That would be a business decision.
To simply say the internet is broken because it doesn't suit your business model is a farce.
#2 - Print publications are closing down because they are being replaced by the internet. To me that suggests print newspapers are going the way of milk delivery and vinyl records and forcing the internet to take serious steps backwards in order to increase news company profits is absurd.
Mr Murdoch, you're charged with needing to find a way to make print based journalism more attractive so that it's used more... you are NOT welcome to attempt to make the internet less attractive instead. Build up the value of print without trying to re-create the internet.
#3 - If big corporation news companies and major print publications can't turn a profit because a more readily available global medium exists then it may very well be time to consider the age of print journalism over.
Again, Mr Murdoch, if you choose to pay a high priced team of executives, lawyers and writers to write articles but find that those articles don't cover your expenses you are free to charge for them or not share them at all... both would be business decisions.
I find it hard to support the idea of pointing the blame finger at the internet when a product no longer competes. I am aware that lives and jobs are affected but to put it bluntly Mr Murdoch, your business is with News Corp, not with attempting to re-create the internet law books to better profit from it (at everyone elses expense).
| 5:47 am on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Indexing is "Fair Use." Deal with it. |
Which Rupe does. You may not like it, when he tries to pull the political strings, but he is certainly acting for the majority of the content producing crowd. Also, publishers will act against the use of their content, whether it is "fair use" or not.
It will be interesting to see Google's reaction once the news and their sources are actually gone.
| 11:18 am on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Rupert Murdoch is not acting for the majority of the content producing crowd, because the majority of that crowd would like other people to know that their content exists and have no problem with Fair Use, which is what snippet usage is. No amount of wishful thinking is going to get around that. I really do not see how anyone can argue here that Google is violating Fair Use by providing these snippets of articles in Google News or snippets of web page content in Search, especially when alternatives exist such that if you believe that the display of two lines from an article constitutes a violation of your copyright, then you can block Google and other search engines.
It is quite a different situation with Google Books, which is what most of the brouhaha was about in terms of publishers. And with that, I can see why. I don't think anyone can argue that throwing up 20% of a book's entire contents is Fair Use. However, the snippers--there is no way you can argue that it is not Fair Use--and Rupert Murdoch is not arguing about Google Books. We should be careful not to confuse the two issues, because they are very different.
I personally look forward to the day when Rupert Murdoch pulls his content from Google. One can only hope.
| 11:58 am on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
but when you're talking about fair use, you're only including that part of google news that people actually see.
but in order to get their index that they've got they must lift every subject from every issue -- every headline, every snippet, every everything, from every issue. then they sort the stories out by popularity and luzz up just a couple of them. even if they only show one link per paper a day, they're still using your paper's entire story output to do it.
and they repeat that every single day, probably more than once a day for the big papers.
i know that guy said in a previous reply that the US courts have approved it, but that still doesn't sound very fair to me when it's making them all this money and they're giving nothing back other than a few links. and when you consider how many actual links are on that page -- maybe upwards of 400 (rough estimate) -- the benefits of getting a link on there might not even be that great.
the smaller papers probably never see their link make it to a big, bold and blue headline on the front screen -- they probably end up on the second page reached by clicking on such things as "all 5,479 news articles »" -- what benefit are they getting, really? from having their entire story output scrapped every single day?
to take an example from today, about the italian earthquake, realistically only seven links are ever going to get clicked -- the big blue one, two smaller blue ones and four green ones. One of those blue links goes straight to google's YouTube, and the other ones are to the world's major papers. The other 5700 newspapers who still had their story scrapped are going to get nothing out of it at all. What are the chances of a smaller paper knocking off the big boys on a major story like that, or any other major story? It's a complete waste of resources for them.
| 12:49 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Wall Street Journal [theaustralian.news.com.au] story calls Google parasites:
|"There is no doubt [GOOGLE] that certain websites are best described as parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet." "Google encourages promiscuity -- and shamelessly so -- and therefore a significant proportion of their users don't necessarily associate that content with the creator. "Therefore revenue that should be associated with the creator is not garnered." |
Ya, I'd pretty much agree with that. He has pegged search engines pretty good at what they do. So get over it already and play the game or be gone.
> Did not last long eh?
and had nothing to do with off sitet search traffic. It had to do with on site search. (but that is another story). Had we had an available decent on-site search, it would have lasted much longer.
| 1:28 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|but when you're talking about fair use, you're only including that part of google news that people actually see. |
Sure, and the writer who reviews an 800-page novel for THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW is reading the whole thing. So what? That doesn't mean the NYT is violating the "Fair Use" doctrine when it uses a 100-word excerpt in the published review, any more than The Magazine Index is violating the "Fair Use" doctrine when it publishes an abstract of a magazine article's contents in its subscription database.
You might want to read up on what "Fair Use" actually means.
| 1:46 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
the point i'm trying to make (not very well) is that google news uses more of your content than they actually show -- at a cost to you. you have to pay money when they scrap all the stories everyday.
alright, it might be peanuts in the grand scheme of things, but the fact is that google is using all your content for free whilst giving you potentially nothing back.
when a book reviewer reads the whole book to write a few lines, he is not costing you any more money. it's completely different.
| 1:51 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|You might want to read up on what "Fair Use" actually means... |
You might be a bit over confident with this assertion, regardless of how many times you make it. When Google added advertising to the news search results they may have changed the game, as discussed in this article [citmedialaw.org] (referred to in my previous post).
There is also the Agence France-Presse win in a suit against Google, and at lest some suggestion that Google has a similar arrangement with the Associated Press.
| 2:12 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|you have to pay money when they scrap all the stories everyday. |
Google doesn't scrap my stories, it indexes them. If I want them scrapped, I'll hit the delete key myself. :-)
Let's cut to the chase:
Murdoch isn't unhappy that Google and other search engines (let's not forget that he mentioned Yahoo as another example) are indexing his articles. He just wants search engines to give him money. In Murdoch's ideal world, search engines would be forced to index his content and to pay for the privilege of sending him traffic.
| 2:31 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
that's the rub... some people think that indexing content is just that. but murdoch is arguing that google is actually 'using' his content - along with everyone else's - to build up their own database of stories from which they can create their own site - and therefore a fee is not unjustified.
the newspapers are effectively providing a service to google in writing all these stories, without which their news site wouldn't exist.
google needs us to give up our content for free so they can build their own site.
| 3:09 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Sure, and the writer who reviews an 800-page novel for THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW is reading the whole thing. |
The book in question was probably purchased.
Alternatively, it was provided by the publisher and written off as a marketing expense.
I seriously doubt that the reviewer went into the publisher's warehouse, or the local bookstore, and lifted the thing.
| 3:41 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|free publicity to the newspapers, by sending zillions of customers directly to the newspaper site. |
That is the bottom line isn't it ? Just about everyones site is having snippets copied and used everyday. Murdoch has to do what we all have to do, try and keep the visitors Google sends you. He should try what Incredibill suggests and watch his revenues shrink further.
[edited by: walrus at 3:44 pm (utc) on April 7, 2009]
| 3:42 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|murdoch is arguing that google is actually 'using' his content - along with everyone else's - to build up their own database of stories from which they can create their own site - and therefore a fee is not unjustified. |
He may be arguing that (whether or not he actually believes it), but the argument is nothing more than a bully's bluster. Search engines are indexing and referral services--pure and simple. And yes, the SEs earn profits from being index and referral services, but so what? So do most other indexing services and directories. Being an intermediary (which requires an investment in technology, equipment, bandwidth, and personnel) is the "value add" that SEs, printed directories, microfilm indexes, etc. provide to both users and publishers.
|I seriously doubt that the reviewer went into the publisher's warehouse, or the local bookstore, and lifted the thing. |
Are you suggesting that the SEs are hacking their way into publishers' sites, removing Web pages, and leaving empty filenames behind?
| 5:28 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
willybfriendly, publishers generally make review copies available for free to magazines and journals that publish reviews. The journals and magazines then pass them on to the reviewer for free. Supplying the book to the journal is no guarantee it will be reviewed. Most aren't.
I am not sure that Google has any special relationship with AP such that it does not snippet their articles, since I have gone to read AP stories on the AP site by finding them as snippets on Google News.
| 5:33 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Are you suggesting that the SEs are hacking their way into publishers' sites, removing Web pages, and leaving empty filenames behind? |
Hardly, but I am suggesting that your normally well thought our arguments are somewhat lacking this time around.
First, fair use in this case has not yet been established (see my previously posted links), in spite of your repeated assertions.
Second, Google (for one) already licenses material from news services, although details are scant (Agence France-Presse, Associate Press).
Third, your examples from traditional print media (reviews, Guide to Perdidocals, etc.) don't quite fit. They cover recent, not current, works, and usually involve materials that were purchased and/or provided proactively by the publisher (as in mailing a new book to a reviewer as part of a promotional campaign).
In traditional print, the aggregators and reviewers are hardly doing their research at the local magazine stand, and if they are (and not buying) the proprieter is probably chasing them away
| 8:27 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|I seriously doubt that the reviewer went into the publisher's warehouse, or the local bookstore, and lifted the thing. |
You need to learn the difference between content, and physical goods.
If I take a cake from you then you don't have your cake.
If I take the content from your page you still have the content from your page.
The great thing about content is even as you consume it you still have it.
The problem with cake is once you consume it you no longer have it. Which is why you can't have your cake and eat it too.....
However you CAN have your content and eat it too. This is a major difference and it is what the MPAA, the RIAA, Murdoch, and even you seem to be missing.
Stop talking about cake, we are talking about content, they are not the same... and in the world of content, indexing is not theft, nor is it copyright infringement. No matter how much you disagree.
Ask yourself this...
What is Murdoch's main complaint?
-> That search engines are taking his content.
What are his options?
1) Use the ISO methods of telling a SE to not crawl content. (robots.txt)
2) Allow an IP range from google to index stories but have visitors pay for the full story. (see WebmasterWorld as they do this)
3) Go after the search engines and have them change the way they do things to accommodate you.
Which road would you take?
[edited by: Demaestro at 8:41 pm (utc) on April 7, 2009]
| 8:42 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
that argument doesn't really work for everything.
you couldn't go into a bookstore and photocopy everything saying "but you still have your content, so it's okay"
that's pretty much what google are doing -- photocopying your entire bookstore and using it to build their own database. which they then go and use to open up their own store.
and because they only put a snippet up for people to see, people think that it's okay.
| 9:10 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I don't think Murdoch is mad at Google or Yahoo, I think he's mad at the internet in general.
The main problem with the news being online is that it can be spread so quickly. In the days of yore, if you had an exclusive scoop and someone wanted to steal it and publish it, they had to read it in your newspaper, rewrite it, print it, and distribute it via stores and mail. Nowadays that is all done in one step, and in a fraction of the time it would take during the newspaper heyday, and is distribured to millions simultaneously with no overhead cost.
If I own an online newspaper, and News Corp puts out a subscriber-only story, then I merely have to be a subscriber to News Corp. Immediately after, I can rewrite and redistribute that piece of news in a matter of minutes. And Google helps me do it. And I can choose to not charge for my online newspaper. And people will read my online newspaper because it is free, and because it has the same stories that News Corp has.
The whole "We broke this story first" has no meaning anymore, because as soon as you do, twenty other people have it as well almost instantaneously. Unfortunately for Murdoch, the story itself (in its abstract form) is not copyrightable.
As for "Fair Use", the courts have already decided on that so it's a moot point to discuss. Adding advertisements does nothing to change that. There were already advertisements on the organic search results, results which contain copyrighted material under the fair use doctrine, so nothing has changed.
Nothing, that is, except the entire landscape of the news reporting industry. If Murdoch can't keep up, that's his problem, but his claim that "People reading news for free on the web has to stop" is a pipe dream, because as long as there's someone charging for information out there, there's another person giving it away for free somewhere else. The internet has made that a reality.
| 9:57 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Stop talking about cake, we are talking about content, they are not the same... and in the world of content, indexing is not theft, nor is it copyright infringement. No matter how much you disagree. |
Content has value, which is why copyright exists.
Pre-Internet, access to content generally required compensation and/or affirmative (vs. passive) permission - even by aggregators.
Post-Internet, the content owner pays the fee (in terms of bandwidth) for aggregators to gain access to their content, and must take active steps to protect their intellectual property rights.
Oh, and if you didn't want your car stolen, you shouldn't have left your keys in it. Didn't you know that is why locks were invented. If you don't lock your valuables up, then it is certainly your fault if it is taken, right? Ergo, lock the bot out if you don't want it taken in the dead of night, else it is assumed that it is your fault. (The old opt out vs opt in argument)
Bottom line, Murdoch, et. al. may have some validity to their arguments. Will they prevail? Doubtful. And even if they do, they should be careful in what they ask for!
But, frankly, the logic being used to defend the SE's in this thread is about as deep and clear as a mud puddle - and this from people that generally present well thought out positions! That would suggest far more emotion than reason is at play...
| 12:52 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|But, frankly, the logic being used to defend the SE's in this thread is about as deep and clear as a mud puddle - and this from people that generally present well thought out positions! That would suggest far more emotion than reason is at play... |
I'd say the emotion is on the other side of the argument. (A dispassionate person would be unlikely to argue, for example, that scanning pages on the open Web for indexing purposes is like stealing a book from a bookstore.)
In any case, we'll have to see how things turn out, but I wouldn't want to place any bets on Mr. Murdoch being able to extort fees from Google, Yahoo, and the other search engines for the privilege of sending him traffic.
| 1:11 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Mr. Murdoch being able to extort fees |
| 1:17 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|you couldn't go into a bookstore and photocopy everything saying "but you still have your content, so it's okay" |
that's pretty much what google are doing --
.... which they then go and use to open up their own store.
That is nothing like what Google is doing.
If you want me to stoop to trying to make a real world comparison to a digital world even though it can never truly apply here goes.....
It more like Google going into a PUBLIC Bookstore, taking note of all the book titles, authors, prices, and the brief overviews listed on the back of the books and finally their location not only what store but where in the store.... then taking that data and creating a book store directory that users can use to search and find the price, title, name or description of the books... and their location... then once someone finds the book they are looking for they use the directions (or link) to the exact place the book that was indexed lives.
[edited by: Demaestro at 1:19 am (utc) on April 8, 2009]
| 2:47 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Nope, just colorful writing. :-)
| 5:11 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Come on, EFV, a dispassionate person would hardly continue to make categorical claims about fair use when documentation to the contrary is offered. Nor would they quickly move to straw man arguments, i.e. the "Google is evil" statement made earlier in an effort to discredit those of us making counterpoints. Or, totally avoid salient points made by those arguing the other side of the debate.
Really quite unlike you to take it to such a personal level so quickly.
| 5:42 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
New York Times has an interesting story [nytimes.com] covering much of what has been discussed in this thread, including both sides of the "fair use" argument.
Ironically, I came across it on Google News :o
| 11:51 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
All the people here saying Google is "stealing content", can someone give a URL on Google News where there is actual content?
Google News has headlines and links, and perhaps the first sentence of a particular story, but nothing approaching what I'd call an article. Anyone who was genuinely interested in an item on Google News would be extremely likely to click on the link and thus generate traffic for the content creator.
"that noam chomsky guy would argue that all news is biased in some way. most papers have a political leaning, even the non-Murdoch ones. people just end up buying the bias they agree with."
I would argue that Chomsky has a leaning towards conspiracy theories without direct evidence... ;-)
But it's true that virtually all news sources have some bias and the only way to find the truth is to examine and compare many sources. Anyone who has studied history at school will know the importance of that multi-source approach.
But plain bias means you consistently side with a particular viewpoint over a long period of time.
What Murdoch's newspapers do is much worse.
For example all of Murdoch's UK newspapers supported the right-wing Conservative party for about 15 years while it was winning UK elections. When opinion polls showed Labour's Tony Blair looked certain to overwhelmingly win the 1997 election, Murdoch's newspapers such as the Sun and the Times suddenly changed their allegiance to supporting the left-wing Labour party instead. This was the same Labour party and (mostly) same Labour politicians which the Murdoch-owned papers had consistenly attacked and derided for a decade and a half previously.
If Murdoch's journalists and editors are truly independent, it means that in 1997 they all decided to totally change their political views, simultaneously, purely by coincidence. Does that seem a likely coincidence?
| 1:52 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
i don't think that's a bad thing, though.
to be fair, a large part of the country switched their allegiance at the same time. so the papers were just following the mood prevalent in the country at the time.
you could argue that they would have been less independent if they DIDN'T change their view. After all, if half the country changed their mind and the papers carried on supporting the Tories regardless, how independent would that have made them? The fact that the papers could switch sides whilst the old government was still in power shows that they were independent.
| 2:35 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Ironically, I came across it on Google News :o |
I'm sure the NY Times will appreciate the fact that you linked to the story instead of linking to the Google News headline and snippet. Don't try that with the Wall Street Journal or the New York Post, or Rupert Murdoch may want to charge you a fee. :-)
| 4:27 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I think a major problem is how to make on-the-ground reporting profitable from a Web only publication. This is what newspapers are struggling with I think.
All very well to say you can attend a remote press conference via the Web but how about runnig down a bombed street in a war zone to interview locals...you need trained and trusted journalists to do that if you want to be sure of what you are getting...that cost big money.
I think that is puzzle that needs to be solved or we will soon find ourselves in an endless cycle of regurgitation and comment but little hard fact.
| 4:47 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|All the people here saying Google is "stealing content", can someone give a URL on Google News where there is actual content? |
The argument would be that something like:
Dow drops 178 points on poor housing forecast with a link to the WSJ story does little to generate a click through. The salient information is in the headline and snippet.
And any of us that have successful websites know just how much thought/work can go into a headline (or title tag).
Or, a list of reviews for a new movie, each one of which has the reviewer's opinion in the snippet. A quick scan of all the reviews' snippets on a single page may be convenient, but hardly generates revenue for the publishers.
Fair use is a very gray term. Courts have refused to establish specific guidlines, insisting on a case by case review. It is not simply commercial use (e.g. running ads) or a set number of words (e.g. an 800 word excerpt from a new novel) or a percentage of words, etc.
The newspapers don't want to risk taking it to court for fear of a damaging prcedent being set. Meanwhile the SE's engage in a fair bit of corporate doublespeak.
I like this one from Google's Alexander Macgillivray:
|Our AdSense program pays out millions of dollars to newspapers that place ads on their sites, and our goal is that our interest-based advertising technology will help newspapers make more from each click we send them by serving better, more relevant ads to their readers to generate higher returns. |
Yeah, right, "I'm only trying to help you..."
| 4:54 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
> Anyone who was genuinely interested in an item on Google
> News would be extremely likely to click on the link and
> thus generate traffic for the content creator.
I check gnews 15-20 times a day. I read about 10-15 stories a day and almost always on the first visit. The rest of the day I am consuming content from those news sites without ever visiting those news sites. And now, google serves me a nice ad along side that content.
| 6:28 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)|
for the papers that get clicked on its probably great. but there's only ever about seven or eight links under each story.
the other papers are hiding behind an unappetising "all 1000+ news articles". (it even goes as high 7000+.) but even if you are very generous and lower it to 500+, that means that 98.4% of the papers that google takes info from every day are never going to see any benefit.
so google's argument that they are doing these papers a favour by advertising their sites doesn't really hold water -- a user would have to trawl all the way through that second page of 500+ articles to find it. how many people are going to bother doing that when the major papers are already covered on the front.
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