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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

 

Future




msg:4021861
 8:09 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

Beleif and Trust are completely different !

Every yet publisher on webmasterworld follows on same boat.. its I.T. (Information Technology).
You make a news items (as a media giant) specially being worked on by your news reporters and/or officials. You post videos/images about same.

Now any xyz dot com comes in and steals the same..., xyz caught this story from google or bing or yahoo or 1000s others, where is Mr.Murdoch going to follow ?
I think, they should do finish up there homework properly first.
I hope I was in place of Mr.Murdoch ! to make proper words instead.

Masters of Minds, will be Emperors of Future
(A quote from someone, till duplicated from me, hope I am held against law for same ?)

fargo1999




msg:4021866
 8:17 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would gladly pay for access - but only if I was sure their news stories are as objective and lobby-free as possible. But that's not the case.

Demaestro




msg:4021899
 8:44 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mr Murdoch needs to retire somewhere that has no Internet connectivity.

It seems to confuse him.

willybfriendly




msg:4021912
 9:02 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok, so we all know that he could simply prevent indexing...

Not that easy, as can be seen if one visits the spider forums. He could certainly use a robots.txt file or noindex/nocache attributes, but those are certainly no guarantee.

Isn't part of the issue here the old argument about opt-in vs. opt-out? The SE's have established a defacto system that requires one to opt out of their index, but early on there were good arguments that publishers should opt-in.

Cast in those terms the ramifications hardly change everything, but they could certainly change the landscape in terms of who is best able to monetize their own published material - publisher or parasites.

Demaestro




msg:4021930
 9:17 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

opt-in vs. opt-out

Yes but that issue has been decided in court already.

robots.txt file or noindex/nocache attributes, but those are certainly no guarantee.

These have to work otherwise the opt-out system would be called into question if one couldn't be guaranteed the ability to opt-out. If those methods don't guarantee your site not being indexed then Google is in legal trouble.

My guess is that Murdoch is trying to figure out how to get Google to stop indexing their content without removing their site from Google's search results.

He doesn't want to use the current removal techniques and he talks about Google not using his titles and content, but never outright says "I don't want my sites to appear in Google"

Syzygy




msg:4022045
 11:07 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

At present search engines index content with impunity. The entire structure of the web counts on this 'free service' provided by 3rd parties. It's something we take for granted.

Murdoch is, I believe, trying to create a future whereby the indexing of 'his' content via the current means will be deemed as unauthorised - illegal. He is seeking to destroy the universally held assumption that being indexed is desirable - that sites freely allow access to search engines and that they may freely reproduce headlines and snippets.

Instead, he would have it that search engines should perhaps pay for a license to index - specifically, news content.

He seeks to turn received wisdom - that search engines spiders may come and go as the please, harvesting information for the purpose of indexing without any legal barriers - on its head.

If he can win a legal battle that determines that indexing methods, and the display of that information, is no longer 'Fair Use' - that it is instead infringement of copyright - then search engines would have to seek permission from the copyright holder in order to be able to index/display that information.

If such a ruling came about, specifically in respect of News, then search engines may be left with no alternative but to negotiate for the rights to get access to this crucial content. When it comes to negotiating with big fish like Murdoch, you know those rights are going to cost a pretty penny.

As a wild thought, if the news sector controlled how its content were indexed then it may prove very profitable, not to mention strategically sound, to invest in their own news-specific search engines and/or delivery platforms.

Why? Because then the news industry could sell you access to it. Like the good old days, they could sell subscriptions - not for a newspaper or magazine that would arrive through your letter box, but for online access to a closed news network on a scale as yet unimagined.

Sure, both public and politicians would cry that access must be available to all, and rightly so, thus deals would be brokered for new online outlets that would serve up limited stories of limited depth.

As I say, just a wild thought. :-)

Regardless, Murdoch is seeking to change the landscape by turning upside down that which everyone - and especially search engines - take for granted: indexing and the unrestricted reproduction of headlines and snippets using the 'Fair Use' principles.

Syzygy

BillyS




msg:4022069
 11:55 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

News Corp needs a new webmaster. I suspect he realizes traffic will plummet overnight.

commanderW




msg:4022077
 12:11 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

If webpages are publicly posted then their 'indexable'. anybody can point to them, and anyone can post a guide to 'what's out there'. If he doesn't want this, then all he has to do is set up a 'join' page. No charge, just join. Then, all content is inside the 'members area'. Why would anyone think they ought to be able to put something up in public and then to dictate who can do or say what about it ? Unless Google is actually copying and stealing the content word for word, and at length, then this is all crotchety stupidity. Just like the fantasy that you can charge people money to read webpages. Has any literary magazine or any other (which doesn't feature titillating photography) ever succeeded on the web with this business model? If we all had to pay a fee for every webpage we view, even a tiny one, there would be no Internet. Rupert Murdochs butt may be in the 20th C, but his brain is still running on coal. Is there any reason he can't just take out an adsense account and run Google ads in the margins of his news sites, like everyone else?

maximillianos




msg:4022086
 12:55 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let him block away, and hide in his corner with all his toys... then his website can take off with all this employees visiting it every day.. since they'll be the only ones with access.... since no one is going to pay for news they can get from 10 other legitimate sources...

I can't remember the last time I read the Times. I even tried their iPhone app once long ago... but it kept locking up and freezing after I read one or two stories... I almost felt like they were doing it on purpose. I now think my hunch was more correct than I originally thought.

koan




msg:4022094
 1:08 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with the robots.txt? Mr Murdoch wants to have his cake and eat it too.

ChanandlerBong




msg:4022107
 1:43 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

we were all happy to feed the beast when it was two guys in a garage. Now they're making billions off our collective content, not so nice anymore, is it?

I actually hope murdoch wins this battle. Yes, he's deluded to think he can tweak the whiskers of the tiger because everybody else (webmasters on here included) live in fear of them and would never dare do anything to upset them.

go rupert, you old fool.

willybfriendly




msg:4022118
 2:12 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Unless Google is actually copying and stealing the content word for word, and at length, then this is all crotchety stupidity.

What value does Google add? Audience? For who? At what cost/benefit?

I can cite a news story, complete with brief quotes. That is fair use. Is a compilation of headlines and opening paragraphs fair use?

Seems pretty gray to me. Even more so when that compilation is not made as a public service, but rather as a vehicle to further G's core business, which is advertising. Do a search on G-News for 'health care' and get a load of all the insurance ads accompanying the compilation of news stories.

swa66




msg:4022161
 3:23 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The concept of "fair use" isn't the same globally. Challeging it would be easiest outside of the US and he was talking to "Sky News Australia", I'm not sure of the existence and extend of fair use down under. It might be different.

Not getting indexed: only works if you have no need for traffic from the search engines. Their webmaster should be able to tell if they are a starting point that's able to grow it's traffic without any need ever to get a new referral.

Pointing to something is not the same as copying it. I can tell author X has written book Y, And point people to it talking about the book as long as I don't copy it verbatim. I can even summarize what happens in the book and given away "who did it" without the author having much legal recourse.

What seems to be a move those in the news business are after is a right to be the only ones who can talk about news. And that would be something bad, really terribly bad.

willybfriendly




msg:4022182
 4:31 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Pointing to something is not the same as copying it. I can tell author X has written book Y, And point people to it talking about the book as long as I don't copy it verbatim. I can even summarize what happens in the book and given away "who did it" without the author having much legal recourse.

Neither of these scenarios really captures what G is doing.

I might, for example, write a blog post that says, "The Washington Post had a nice background story about current unemployment rates being tied to economic decisions made under the Bush Whitehouse. Meanwhile, Fox News ran a similar story that squarely places the blame on the Obama administration."

No question of fair use there.

Google lists nothing but headlines, excerpts and ads. If there is any "value add" it is in the simple act of compilation - something done completely automatically, without human intervention.

What seems to be a move those in the news business are after is a right to be the only ones who can talk about news.

I am not sure I am following this line of argument. I don't hear that no one can "talk about news'. I hear, "If we are paying to gather, report and publish the news, then you aren't going to get a free venue to publish your ads at our expense."

The loss of independent new reporting would be "something bad, really terribly bad."

And, the "free"dom of the Internet threatens that in ways the news media never contemplated and has yet to develop a strategy for.

commanderW




msg:4022192
 5:31 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just went and checked Google news. I don't get what Murdoch finds objectionable. There is the headline, and the first paragraph. This is that introductory 'who, what, where, when' paragraph that they teach you to write in journalism classes. The entire purpose of this paragraph is for just exactly what Google is using it for. To tell the prospective reader what the news story is going to be about. Every site that links to news stories should take such trouble ! This helps the surfer decide whether it's worth it to click on the link and wait for the code and script bloated corporate news landing page to load. If news junkies could only find out exactly what the story is about by clicking on blind links (meaning 2-5 word summaries) instead of the actual headline and introductory paragraph, they would very quickly suffer that extreme and absolutely stultifying mental fatigue we have all come to know so well. Maybe Murdoch doesn't know about it. How much time does he spend on the Net (and does he use Google?:).

Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe he is the webmaster of his sites. Maybe he doesn't want his potential readers to know the 'who, what, when' of his stories ahead of time. A webmaster who's gone over to the dark side and thinks he can trap his readers like flies on a labrynthine landing page which forces them to click madly on ad after ad as they desperately try to figure out which link is actually to a news story. In which case, he should really consider opening up an adsense account for his sites.

IanCP




msg:4022210
 6:27 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Heh! I watched that interview.

Totally delusional!

Murdoch honestly believes people will pay to read his online trash. We only buy his print edition for the comics, crosswords, sports results and racing form guide.

The rest is largely lifestyle, celebrities and half baked news. On serious issues, such as the Iraq War as one example, his trashy outlets never sought to "inform" readers BUT to "influence" public opinion.

A huge difference.

No one in their right mind would pay for his online recycled junk. I can't see Mr. Google slashing wrists.

JAB Creations




msg:4022225
 6:57 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

<snip>

- John

Edited by Rupert Murdoch
Reason: All 752 words in this post have appeared in our articles.

graeme_p




msg:4022235
 7:21 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

IanCP, exactly, he has nothing other than the Wall Street Journal that is actually worth paying for. There is very little that will not be available elsewhere free.

mack




msg:4022250
 8:01 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't want to go off topic, but I have a real beef with Google's attitudes towards this whole issue. In the recent thread here about adwords accounts being terminated it is clear that Google doesn't like affiliates because they are middlemen. The difference between that and Google news is?

Mack.

jecasc




msg:4022251
 8:02 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I checked a few Murdoch news sites, they have robots.txt explicitly including google right now and even Google Sitemaps.

And what Murdoch really finds objectionable is clear in my opinion. It is not that his websites are found to much - but that with services like Google news you are not reliant on certain website "brands" to get your news. With Google News you can as well read the latest stories on news sites you never heard of before, like the "North Arkansas Town Crier" or the "San Antonio Express".

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4022279
 9:32 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't want to go off topic, but I have a real beef with Google's attitudes towards this whole issue.

Yes, one of the problems here is that (contrary to the positive publicity they generate) Google does not appear to care who they damage with their juggernaut. There is no doubt that newspaper sales have been damaged by online content.
See [washingtonpost.com...]

While I am not his number one fan I can understand why Murdoch is upset. His whole business in under threat from online content. How would Google feel if they were being similarly threatened?

We should not lose sight of the fact that Google tends to do what they want and hang the consequences. For example how many businesses have they closed down by buying up services then offering them for free? How much concern have they expressed for the people whose livelihoods were ruined by their actions?

They are becoming too powerful IMHO. In this situation any valid challenges to this power are to be commended.

londrum




msg:4022288
 10:15 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just went and checked Google news. I don't get what Murdoch finds objectionable. There is the headline, and the first paragraph.

quite often, that is all that people need. how many times do you look through a paper at the stories but not bother to read the actual articles.
it's like that on TV too -- people will watch the news headlines, but won't bother to sit through the half hour program.

that is what google are doing. they are taking the juiciest bits that people need, and the newspaper just gets a link which most people don't bother to visit.

if you're one of the big papers (who gets one of the five or six links underneath each story) then you might be okay with that, but for the other 99% of newspapers it's a complete waste of time. they don't even get a worthwhile link. if i look at the top story on google news right now, there are links to the biggies -- New York Times, Washington Post, Aljazeera and Daily Mirror, but under that there is a link saying "all 25,687 news articles..."

Be honest... what is the point of having a link on that second page? It's the equivalent of having a link on the 2500th page of google search.
how many people are going to visit that second page to search out a story from the Bognor Regis Echo, when google have already given them access to the same story on the BBC?

the only papers getting a benefit out of having their expensive scrapped every day are the first 4 of more than 25,000.

glitterball




msg:4022302
 10:36 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The rest is largely lifestyle, celebrities and half baked news. On serious issues, such as the Iraq War as one example, his trashy outlets never sought to "inform" readers BUT to "influence" public opinion.

A huge difference.

Too true. This seems like the battle of the megalomaniacs between the two most dangerously influential organizations in the world.

graeme_p




msg:4022318
 11:45 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

While I am not his number one fan I can understand why Murdoch is upset. His whole business in under threat from online content. How would Google feel if they were being similarly threatened?

Too bad, its called a free market.

If he had really valuable content, he could put up a pay wall. The problem with his content is that you can get it for free elsewhere, and it is, at best, just plain news (at worst, it is distorted news). If he wants to charge, he needs to ad value.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4022326
 12:23 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

his trashy outlets never sought to "inform" readers BUT to "influence" public opinion.

Name me a newspaper that doesn't do this? Don't get me wrong, I don't like what Murdoch stands for. I just think he may, just may have a point.

sullen




msg:4022336
 12:55 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think he has a point too.

Google makes money by placing ads next to its search results - effectively it makes money from other people's content (and yes, some people may just read the snippet and be satisfied). Why is that fair?

I feel quite strongly about this because I really like reading a proper newspaper, and yet because of falling advertising revenues, I have to pay more and more for a paper with less content. Those advertising revenues still exist: it's just that Google and other search engines now take a big slice.

I really like Syzygy's idea about a news-specific search engine. I think it would work, but I'm not sure you'd get all the big papers to agree on how it should be run / who should run it.

StoutFiles




msg:4022338
 12:55 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

All it takes is one giant to get the ball rolling...other sites would love to have paid subscriptions if they could get away with it. He will need something unique though; ESPN's Insider content is pretty popular.

You all do realize news really isn't free? People need to get paid to go out and get the news, and website ads pale in comparison to subscriptions. Murdoch obviously sees the big picture; he HAS to do this to save himself.

londrum




msg:4022362
 1:27 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

people keep saying that google is giving him traffic... so he should be happy... but that might not be much comfort to the newspapers. if the traffic doesn't make any money, then what's the point.
if a print newspaper increases its circulation then that is good, because everyone has handed over 50p to read it. but if an online paper increases its circulation, the vast majority have got it for nothing.

it's true that an increased circulation means higher advertising prices, but it doesn't translate into any more profit -- because online papers already start way behind because they can't charge 50p for people to read it.

google is trying to suggest that swapping non-money making traffic for expensively produced content is a fair swap. the only side making money out of it is google.

BillyS




msg:4022368
 1:47 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The newspaper as it is today (printed copy) is going the way of the dinosaur. Every day I get my WSJ delivered to my house in print. I read it on the train and it's in the recycling bin at the end of the trip. Total lifespan of that paper - about 1 hour.

When my print subscription runs out, I'll buy a reader so I can read the "paper" electronically. The world is changing rapidly. Old business models need to evolve or those companies will die. The WSJ makes money through advertisements. Why in the world wouldn't an advertiser care if they're in print or website? They don't.

He's swimming upstream on this one - too bad. I'll miss my WSJ.

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