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Murdoch: I will block Google
And challenge 'Fair Use' principles, thinks headline/snippet use is illegal
Syzygy




msg:4021858
 8:01 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

From the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk]

The billionaire told Sky News Australia he will explore ways to remove stories from Google's search indexes, including Google News.
Mr Murdoch's News Corp had previously said it would start charging online customers across all its websites.

He believes that search engines cannot legally use headlines and paragraphs of news stories as search results.

"There's a doctrine called 'fair use', which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether," Mr Murdoch told the TV channel. "But we'll take that slowly."

Ok, so we all know that he could simply prevent indexing, but I'm sure he's aware of that too. Seems the wily old fox wants to go much further than just that and seeks change the entire landscape of the web by making it illegal for anyone and anything to use text from copyrighted stories as search result snippets.

The ramifications are huge. How very, very interesting...

Syzygy

 

IanCP




msg:4022652
 9:22 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

How many people actually listened to his interview before lashing out?

I did and, when I wasn't fidgeting and my wife wasn't hurling abuse at the screen. Murdoch was being typical Murdoch from way back from when I can remember him. His interviewer had to handle him with kid gloves because you don't make the "big cheese boss" look bad. ABC's Kerry O'brien from the "7:30 Report" would have been a far more informative interview.

Murdoch was his typical arrogant "born to rule" self, the "king maker" of governments because he owns about 70% of Australian print media and has great influence elsewhere as well.

The topic under discussion here was in fact only a small portion of the interview. He complains about Google among others on the internet. He equally complains about the Australian ABC-TV network as well as the UK BBC network. Both effectively government funded and he believes have an unfair competitive advantage over his own networks Sky News and Faux News.

The real situation is that these government networks seek to inform rather than influence their audience - thus undermining his own political agenda and, indeed he has one. Speak privately to journalists in his employ as I have.

As for Google's usage of content, he is in a no different position to myself. Would I ban Google? Not likely and if he did he would be cutting off his nose to spite his face.

A suicidal decision. Already put on the back burner.

Apart from WSJ the only online news outlet I know of moving to a subscription model is Asia Times Online. A prestigious, accurate and informative news outlet which is simply offering further in depth information ad-free to subscribers.

Most subscribers do so simply to ensure it keeps afloat.

Don_Hoagie




msg:4022653
 9:22 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

>> and be forced to go by word-of-mouth or a personal visit to, say, Afghanistan, to find out what's happening there

Yes my fault there BeeDeeDubbleU, bad editing... Option A is meant to say that you would have to acquire the knowledge first-hand. I've edited it since.

willybfriendly




msg:4022656
 9:24 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Forgetting everything else, there are very few of us here who would scrape news stories to the extent that Google does and hope to get away with it.

Shucks, Google specifically prohibits mere mortals from scraping their scrapings!

hutcheson




msg:4022667
 9:45 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google is not altogether a content creator. They're a distributor. (Rupert Murdoch never wrote a news article in his life. He runs a newspaper. Which is not a dishonorable job, necessarily: just a bit 19th-century.)

If Google doesn't send you traffic, it can hardly be accused of stealing your content, can it? At most, it's buffered, and the buffer isn't used. But there is a point here: and that is, the 2000 newspapers "below the line" aren't contributing value (so far as google can tell.) And surfers will agree with Google: if there were only 1000 "below the line", would surfers suffer? Not hardly.

I've just been helping proofread a book by Ralph Vaughan Williams, who made a living in the music industry (and who has been characterized as England's greatest composer). He felt, strongly, that music was not an industry, but a human activity: that music was thriving when lots of people were active, not when lots of money was being made; that good music was produced not when there was an active music "industry" but when lots of people were playing with making music. But most of these people will not and cannot "make money in music." They make music because they're human and therefore want to make music.

Is news really different? Most people tell each other about whatever has happened that they think is important: even though no money is exchanged, and no ads are viewed, as a result. If the "news industry" disappeared from earth, the more human sort of people would still be sharing information--freely.

Humans need music, and news, and ideas. They don't need monolithic industries, and, when push comes to shove, they don't need the vast majority of people who want to charge for original music, news, or ideas. For most purposes, we humans can make do with the local and tribal (or the universal and timeless) humanities, and ... let business do something useful (like stack groceries, or build or fix tractors).

techrealm




msg:4022676
 9:59 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Honestly I am happy Murdoch is doing what he is doing, I no longer will have to glance over the petty drama to get to the news.

As for blocking Google, its pretty easy and very well documented for anyone to do. And any sys admin or network admin could easily drop Google connections before they even hit the servers... Again easy.

Apparently he believes his content snippets is generating revenue for Google forgetting that it takes targeted content for people to buy things otherwise they are just attempting passive branding.

davelms




msg:4022682
 10:09 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

"No press - no story."

In today's inter-connected world there are more than just those known as the press reporting the story. Events will continue to happen and there will always be the story and with or without press there will continue to be people writing about the event. If Murdoch finds a way to restrict his version of the event, there will still be others writing about it and offering their version to readers for free. As Don_Hoagie wrote, it then comes down to reliability of the source and trust, and as londrum repeatedly states there are another few hundred sites / people writing about that very same event. But there is no "no press - no story" conundrum, I don't buy that at all.

Edited for spelling.

WiseWebDude




msg:4022723
 10:50 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ummm, so what stops members from signing in and copying the article and pasting it all over the place? Be hard to catch them all I would imagine. The news sites should, instead, make some type of revenue-sharing deal...how, I don't know but there has to be some type of compromise. My opinion: Murdoch will destroy himself if he does this...

mack




msg:4022734
 11:05 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)


Come on Mack, you know better. This issue has been decided in court more than once. Google didn't make the law, the courts did.

Yea there have been cases, but would you or I get away with it offline? Or let's imagine Google news didn't exist and you created a service that was on par with the current G news offering. Do you think potential cases would have the same outcome?

There is a lot more to Google news than a simple index, the news is essentially there to be read.

Mack.

willybfriendly




msg:4022746
 11:14 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

If Google doesn't send you traffic, it can hardly be accused of stealing your content, can it?

Well, they aren't borrowing it when they run ads next to it.

The content is the bait. The ad is the hook. You need both to catch a fish. A page full of hooks would be far more useless than a page full of bait.

Theft? That is a strong word, but it certainly appears to me that they exceed fair use quite often.

kaled




msg:4022748
 11:20 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

What Murdoch (and all other news organizations) need to do is quite simple - block all search engines (by cloaking) so that they only see news that is, say, 48 hours old. That way, the historical record is maintained but if people want to read the current news online, they must go directly to a news website.

If the whole news industry followed this simple rule, they might improve their chances of running viable websites, but as I have said before, news is a commodity and no one has yet demonstrated a way to trade that commodity online and show a profit.

Kaled.

loudspeaker




msg:4022755
 11:32 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

What Murdoch (and all other news organizations) need to do is quite simple - block all search engines (by cloaking) so that they only see news that is, say, 48 hours old. That way, the historical record is maintained but if people want to read the current news online, they must go directly to a news website.

I've often thought along the same lines. I am sure something like that can be effective.

Syzygy




msg:4022760
 11:45 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Murdoch will destroy himself if he does this...

It's not a coincidence that Murdoch is starting to bare teeth at the same time the Associated Press is barking ever louder about its tougher stance towards those who undermine its activities, which is the gathering, distribution and publishing of news. For certain, powerful forces have made alliances.

Understanding that this is a Battle Royale about to begin, Google has already sought to pre-empt and assuage the hostility of one set of foes by setting up it hosted news services.

However, this means that news industry overlords can now exert influence from inside the kingdom of Google. Have the menacing Dark Knight Rupert outside the fortress walls exerting pressure too, and perhaps the once mighty stronghold will succumb to the realisation that it is no longer unchallenged and all-powerful. Indeed, it may find that some power sharing is the best option diplomacy can offer...

Syzygy

vincevincevince




msg:4022790
 12:56 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mr. Murdoch, Sir, your news sources are mostly of third rate quality, resplendent with unbalanced editorial, lowest-common-denominator targeted copy, and dogmatic political bias. I would be glad to see them absent from Google's results to give more room to your competitors, particularly those who don't agree with publishing #*$!ography as a way to sell newspapers.

BillyS




msg:4022804
 1:14 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Quite simply, the news industry is nearing the end game and they know it. Only the strong will survive. Local news will have a niche as will quality national news.

We don't need hundreds of newspapers spewing the same story for local or regional distribution. It's not needed anymore. Once all the ranks are thinned out, then advertisers will come and they will pay a premium to the survivors.

Murdoch should block Google because that will test his paid subscription theory. He doesn't block Google because he knows he doesn't have any loyal readership. No one will pay for substandard news stories.

I remember the days of AOL, Prodigy and Compuserve. They tried to get us to pay for premium content - it didn't work in every case and that model failed.

Television is the next up. Why should I pay for the Yes network if I'm not a Yankees fan (<- only an example)? I shouldn't have to pay $2 / month for a channel I never watch.

Providing people with choice will hurt weak content in the Internet age.

IanCP




msg:4022807
 1:21 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have the menacing Dark Knight Rupert outside the fortress walls exerting pressure too

I prefer the appellation, not entirely geographical though, of:

"Ferengi Infidel"

Google "Ferengi" - as I had to.

signor_john




msg:4022853
 2:28 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

what content does google bring? nothing. they collect up other people's content and repackage it in a different format.

Sure, in the same way that TV GUIDE used to deliver abstracts of TV shows, and in the same way that THE MAGAZINE INDEX publishes abstracts of magazine articles with citations.

Rupert Murdoch should know (as his editors and Webmasters must know) that:

1) Citations and linking are--and always have been--fundamental principles of the World Wide Web. They're how the Web is supposed to work.

2) Search engines have been around at least since the days of Archie, which predated any of Mr. Murdoch's newspaper sites.

By publishing content on the open Internet, rather than behind a subscription firewall, publishers like Murdoch aren't just giving implicit permission for citations and links; they're inviting citations and links. If Mr. Murdoch doesn't want his sites indexed, he should remove the sites from the open Internet, block crawlers and users with a subscription firewall, and/or use the technical tools that are available to anyone who has THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO WEBMASTERING and Microsoft Notepad.

moTi




msg:4022858
 2:50 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

and the "google sends you traffic" argument only holds up for the first four or five papers that get a link underneath the story. the other 2,000-or-so papers who give away their content get absolutely nothing -- because they all get hidden behind an unappetising link which reads "all 2,000 news articles".
what has google given them in return for scrapping their content every day of the week?

of course they get nothing. what do papers expect? what information have they provided for the audience? a completely redundant news article which can be found on 2000 other sources. not worth showing to the user - actually not even worth scraping.
show me something unique and get your traffic. otherwise get lost and go under.

Lexur




msg:4022953
 7:20 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think most of you are absolutely lost in theorical/academic thoughts (probably because most of you do not nave a news publishing business:)

If I had the sales force/power of Murdoch Corp., of course, I would make my sites just for suscibers because nobody can give away his product for free. They did it for years because paper sales covered the "advertising cost" of the online presence. Once the paper business is ruined, no one can mantain the news online for free.

a) Murdoch media will cross the Rubicon and become a paid service; he realizes how much are worth his news business online and adjust cost and income until reach the profit point

b) other online newspapers receives tons of freeloaders (who sing wonderful psalms about freedom and anonimity in Internet) and gains market audience. Breaking the business logic, its advertising income deceases and its loses become more ande more heavy. They open a debate about new online business models, online freedom, Google power and fair use and so on while its results go down and down. Finally, the structure collapses and they open a blog where thousands of people rant against capitalism and pleads to the government to support freedom of speech and smart journalism.

Last friday, another newspaper (La Opinión de Granada) closed its doors in my city.

davelms




msg:4022965
 7:50 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Take the sports section. People might go there to find out who won the game last night. As soon as google has scrapped the scoreline and snippet containing the goalscorers and controversial events, then what is left? People have got all they need to know -- at no cost to google. we found out all the details, sent the reporters to the ground, paid someone to write the report, and google has just come along and nicked it.

Who needs your reporter when you have 50,000 people in attendance giving a running commentary on Twitter. If you're like me you have your fave teams set up as searches, or you follow people you know are at the matches, and every sporting incident at the game is preserved in a nice timeline. I appreciate not everyone will have done this, but I've long since not required the services of "press" attending sporting matches I have an interest in; I just rely on the fact that of those attending a proportion will be updating the World about it every few minutes. Or, I just visit the team or league's official website where they typically announce results, etc. Sport is an easy one to lose any reliance on the attendance of paid press and I currently get all my sports news, results, information without the need to visit any news site or news aggregator.

There is always another way and it's not as black and white as half the posts might suggest.

Lexur




msg:4022978
 8:09 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Who needs your reporter when you have 50,000 people in attendance giving a running commentary on Twitter.

Here, in Spain, stadium seats doesn't have connected computers to report results so we need sport journalists.

Even more, I don't want to spend my time building my own report about every match, car crash, war or corruption story. I have too two hands and do not want make my own hair cut.

Even more, I have a cutter and nobody better than me to know where exactly I feel the pain but I don't want to do my own surgery. I'm smart enough to study as doctor but, fortunately, I have a life to live.

davelms




msg:4022985
 8:29 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Lexur, it might be different in Spain but here in the UK a lot of people have iPhones and other such mobile devices which means the audience can easily become (and do become) the sports journalist. I see absolutely no difference between the original comment (to which I was specifically replying) saying that someone can piece together the score, action, etc from Google News to someone doing what I perceive to be the same piecing together from a source like Twitter where I can rely on the people there to post pictures, tell me the latest score, action highlights, etc. So while you may not have to, or cannot in Spain, or have no will to, I certainly myself have left sports journalists behind and rely on the audience to become my journalists. It's simply a choice I made with the sources available to me. It might not work for everyone, but it already works for me and I'm happy with that. My point is: there is always another way, it's not this-or-that... but whether that path is suitable for you is another argument altogether.

jecasc




msg:4022986
 8:31 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another question that pops into my mind: Are newspaper articles even major contributors to Googles revenue?

How much money is to be made bidding on keywords that pop up in newsstories?

Let's lock what is in the news today: There is washington sniper, tensions in korea, soldiers missing in afghanistan...

How many of you bid on any keywords related to one of those topics? Probably nobody.

The real truth here is that internet advertisement is keyword based, and the truth is that news keywords simply do not sell.

Why should I advertise my widgets with keywords about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan? The only ads I see on news topics are ads for news websites. Ok, you can try to sell baseball equipment on keywords related to baseball news, but thats about it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4023013
 9:32 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

So while you may not have to, or cannot in Spain, or have no will to, I certainly myself have left sports journalists behind and rely on the audience to become my journalists.

Any technology we have here in the UK is also available in Spain but there are those of us who do not use stuff like Twitter, which to my mind is just a PITA. I am in the UK but I am with Lexur on this. I prefer my news and sports news to be properly compiled and presented to me by real journalists on the BBC news pages or national newspaper websites.

The real truth here is that internet advertisement is keyword based, and the truth is that news keywords simply do not sell.

Really?

We are talking about contextual advertising. If a story interests me and I click on it then there is a chance that the Adwords that are displayed there may also interest me. Newspaper websites are not really any different from other websites in this context (no pun intended). That is why so many of them now use Adsense.

We should also remember that it was the newspapers who invented advertising. They do know a thing or two about this too. :)

jecasc




msg:4023036
 9:56 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

We are talking about contextual advertising. If a story interests me and I click on it then there is a chance that the Adwords that are displayed there may also interest me.

My point is that the amount of news keywords with relevant contextual ads is limited. What contextual ad could there possibly be for the execution of the washington sniper? Or a skirmish in the Korean sea?

Do a quick check search on google for the major newstopics of today, what ads do you find? I get nearly nothing. Mostly newssites promoting themselves.

At least nothing compared to the result I get when doing a simple product search on Google.

And when you take a look at newssites themselves: There a usually no contextual ads but the ads are usually totally unrelated. Not surprising because contextual ads on news articles are highly dangerous for advertisers. You never know what article will trigger you ad. It does not look to good when there is an article about a fatal car crash and it triggers the ad: "Ford. Designed for living." Or there is an news article about 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz and it triggers the ad of a gas company: "We deliver the gas for tomorrow". Thats not too funny for the companies involved.

In my opinion: Contextual ads are the present and the future - but not for news. Most news is bad news, and why should you choose to advertise in a negative context if you do not have to anymore.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4023046
 10:31 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good points.

Seb7




msg:4023089
 11:45 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can understand Murdoch's point. But he needs to understand things have changed in the last 10yrs. More and more people are now reading their news online, and hes in competition with thousands of other news companies giving up their content for free. How much better can news be from a paid source? I cant see that many people would pay for it. He needs to work with the internet not against it.

The bigger picture here is probably that news companies will no longer be able support themselves because of change of wide spread use of technology.

With the ease of communication the internet brings, everyone having high quality cameras, video phones etc. The source of news is more than often now self-posted, and published by viral websites.

The only way I can see the news industry surviving is to downsize and radically become ultra efficient.

Rosalind




msg:4023139
 1:39 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my opinion: Contextual ads are the present and the future - but not for news. Most news is bad news, and why should you choose to advertise in a negative context if you do not have to anymore.

That's why Demand Media stays away from news and instead concentrates on how-to content. I think it's also why Murdoch mentions the low value of people coming from search engines, because he doesn't know anything about who those one-time visitors are. News needs to sell a demographic to advertisers, and if it can't it's not as valuable.

bateman_ap




msg:4023148
 2:04 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

What a depressing read from the vast majority of posters here. From general hatred towards Murdoch (I think you mean Desmond when you are talking about publishing smut) to dislike of his publications, remember for every Sun he also publishes the Times. Along with Fox News he also broadcasts Sky News. Sky has done more for grassroots sports than anyone ever has along with a huge investment in technology (SkyHD) etc.

He raised an important point, his sites are valuable, everyone bleating about how their sites are equally important etc, I am afraid they aren't. If you run a news site how much original reporting are you actually doing, have you got correspondents currently in Afghanistan and other dangerous countries? Would I rather read a well written piece on the latest Giants defeat rather than a collection of Tweets prob saying "Eli wot u doing. u SUCK!"

If you speak to anyone in the news industry they hate search traffic, as mentioned before the average news referral from an engine comes in, reads the article and goes away. Newspapers to get the advertising revenues they require to continue to produce quality journalism require multiple page views of advertiser friendly demographics, they need people to interact with their site. Google doesn’t, they make their money from utilizing other content in order to sell PPC advertising.

In a perfect world G would rather you never clicked a natural result, the revenue driving sites would be the only clicked ones, they are just using your unpaid for content to fulfill this, the fact you currently get a few clicks is a bit of a bonus, and that basically is wrong. Content sites need to find a way of getting paid otherwise they will die. Gourmet was the latest casualty of this, I don’t want it to be replaced by a few third-rate bloggers who can make so with the limited payout of a few adsense ads.

londrum




msg:4023164
 2:40 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

In a perfect world G would rather you never clicked a natural result, the revenue driving sites would be the only clicked ones, they are just using your unpaid for content to fulfill this.

that is exactly right. you only have to look at the content that google has been steadily introducing to the top of the serps recently -- the maps, and stocks, and cinema listings, and football results, and place pages, and news stories -- they all point to google's own pages, pushing down the top ten. people turn a blind eye to that and argue that they have motives above their balance sheet ("organising the worlds information" etc) but they are a business like any other. if they can repackage all of our high-quality content for free, and make a tidy bundle off of it, then of course they are going to do it.
they are like the cuckoos of the web, warming themselves up in other people's nests.

jecasc




msg:4023191
 3:23 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

He raised an important point, his sites are valuable, everyone bleating about how their sites are equally important etc, I am afraid they aren't.

Sorry, I have spent over a million Euro on adwords in the last years and news sites have no value at all for me.

I do not want to advertise my products next to a car crash, a state of the nation address, election results, the war on Iraq or Afghanistan or most other news out there.

Before the internet you had no choice but to advertise in newspapers to reach a wide audience. You could choose if your ad was placed on the left or right, on the top or the bottom of a page but not next to what news.

This times are over. Today you can perfectly target your advertisement to match the context. You can advertise your bikes on a website about bikes. But who wants to advertise next to a bicycle accident? You can advertise swimming pools on a website about pools - but who wants to advertise his pool next to news about a drowning accident.

A normal private website made by some enthusiast about his hobby often has more value to advertisers today. It may not generate a million page views - but what worth do have a million page views if they generate no revenue? I'd rather have my ads shown on a hundred highly targeted small websites generating one sale each than wasting my money on news sites - because they generate no sales. There is a reason why most advertisements on news websites are not pay per click or pay per sale but pay per view.

Or why do you think newspapers split articles into two or three pages. Why do you think they generate one picture a time photo galleries. To boost the page views.

Because the only value for news sites is for "branding". Shove your brand name in the face of a reader a hundred times and hope that it sticks. But thats not where most of the ad money is spent today.

[edited by: jecasc at 3:46 pm (utc) on Nov. 11, 2009]

ChanandlerBong




msg:4023199
 3:46 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I worry for the future of quality news. We've been spoilt by the likes of the bbc, cnn, the guardian, the times and whatever. High class journalism costs money to produce, to send brave and talented men and women not only to war fronts but into bleak mountainous or jungle or desert areas to lay their fingers on the pulse of what's happening in the world. Who will pay that money if, in 10 years, print editions stop and nobody wants to pay for online news? Will a war correspondent become an extinct role?

be very careful what you wish for because it might come true.

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