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News, Copyright, and Google News
An interesting article
Livenomadic




msg:374415
 5:45 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Article on Wired [wired.com]

Wired has an interesting article up on Google News. This article touches on a subject brought up almost weekly on WebmasterWorld, copyright issues.

Basically, the article says that Google News cannot make money through ads because it does not own any of the content it displays.

 

Rosalind




msg:374416
 2:20 pm on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmm. Technically it doesn't own the content it displays in its SERPs, but it makes money from that. I'm not convinced that there's any real distinction to be made here.

Interesting that RSS is mentioned. RSS is usually made with the express purpose of being redistributed in this manner, with the advantage that the site owners can specify exactly how much information they want to put in their summaries, so it can act as teasers to articles rather than giving away the most important information in a snippet. Google News should use that where it's made available, (which it is for most major news sources).

Leosghost




msg:374417
 3:01 pm on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Seems to me all the same arguments apply to googles "cache" of pages ..the only difference being for us as individual webmasters google feels it can ride roughshod over our page / content copyright ..it apparently doesnt dare with the printed press ..."might is (copy)right?"

netguy




msg:374418
 3:27 pm on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting article.

What the author is missing, is a large portion of those "tens of millions of dollars in [ad] revenue" that online publishers are earning is based on traffic sent to them by Google News, tens of thousands of blogs [and many of my own news sites].

Since bandwidth is so cheap, they would be shooting themselves in the foot to go after the websites that drive people to their sites. (Most already do, by expiring news stories after only a few days).

RSS is an entirely different matter. Unless/until you have a business model that can properly monetize it, I see very little advantage to many of the sites I see offering it.

Steve

Rosalind




msg:374419
 4:06 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)


RSS is an entirely different matter. Unless/until you have a business model that can properly monetize it, I see very little advantage to many of the sites I see offering it.

Not quite sure where you're coming from here. RSS doesn't exactly take much effort to implement, you can make it update automatically and control what goes in it. For the large news sites featured on Google news it's true that they are often already using it, unlike most smaller sites. The advantage is that there is limited content that's been authorized, in exchange for links in to the site. For a lot of sites this is a good deal, and definitely better than getting a snippet linked to a search term, that could be part of a sentence out of context or even the most important nugget of information in the entire article.

Brett_Tabke




msg:374420
 4:19 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

> can't make money.

lol - That's horse hockey. Google News is the most impactful and profitable thing Google has *EVER* done. It put 30% on to the top of that IPO.

The pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, it is that Control of The Pen is mightier than any nonexistent advertising dollars.

Google sent a cold shiver down the spine of every news desk in the world when it launched Google News. This isn't about money - it is about Power -- which ultimatly *is* about money.

The author has misunderstood the nature of how Google news partially works:

[Google]...could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that "fair use" doesn't cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles.

Google has agreements with most of those top news sites. How else would they get into "subscriber only" sites? They get those from specific "data feeds" setup for just such services.

Additionally, Google does provide a means -- via robots.txt -- of opt'ing out of the search engine.

Wail




msg:374421
 4:55 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't Wired News and Google rival Lycos have the same (for now) parent company?

BReflection




msg:374422
 5:28 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very insightful Brett.

Essex_boy




msg:374423
 5:31 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

horse hockey- Isnt that polo?

Jbrookins




msg:374424
 6:30 pm on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Seems to me all the same arguments apply to googles "cache" of pages ..the only difference being for us as individual webmasters google feels it can ride roughshod over our page / content copyright ..it apparently doesnt dare with the printed press ..."might is (copy)right?"

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOARCHIVE">

Seems pretty simple and straighforward to me.

paybacksa




msg:374425
 2:55 am on Oct 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Brett's right on here and that article seems pretty shoddy journalism to me. No mention of referals from GNews, benefits of getting listed, or the impact of globalization in the news media business (a huge impact). Not the first time I noticed that from Wired.

greenleaves




msg:374426
 8:13 pm on Oct 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is one thing I don't understand. Google can avoid a huge part of this mess if they require their news-providers put some specific text either in the robots.txt or in the meta-tags. That way they will only gather content from sites that specifically want to have their content promoted on g-news. I don't understand why they don't do this?

BTW, I know that a company as HUGE as google has probabily had this idea before, I just don't understand why they wouldn't implement it?

StupidScript




msg:374427
 10:41 pm on Oct 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

The author mentions two examples of what he considers "fair use" of copyrighted content, and then wonders how G's use of (1) a headline and (2) a single paragraph of the article's text fit into that picture.

Well...

If that single paragraph (or the first 250 characters of the article or whatever) is more than 30% of the entire article, then there is definitely a problem. But what if it's around 1% or at least under 25% of the article in total? That would fit the definition of "fair use" under copyright law, wouldn't it?

Regarding caching: if that's brought into the copyright picture, then any web browser that uses local caching where it improves the perception of the value of the browsing software might be running into a sticky area, too.

Maybe the answer is to allow indexing and ranking, but no caching by the SEs. Small matter.

As webmasters, we expressly allow caching as a concept, except in the case of streaming media. Those of us who create sites that require long download times due to inoptimal graphic filesizes and such DEPEND on user caching for a satisfying visitor experience.

You could say that G is doing what every web browser does, technically. Most negative comments are about their profit model. They make money to stay in the search result provider business. If they don't make money, they go out of business.

Do we want that, as a community?

HughMungus




msg:374428
 10:47 pm on Oct 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

If that single paragraph (or the first 250 characters of the article or whatever) is more than 30% of the entire article, then there is definitely a problem. But what if it's around 1% or at least under 25% of the article in total? That would fit the definition of "fair use" under copyright law, wouldn't it?

"...comment, criticism, news reporting, research, scholarship and teaching, with several factors considered, including how much material is involved as a percentage of the entire work and whether use is of a commercial nature or strictly for nonprofit, educational purposes."

Regarding caching: if that's brought into the copyright picture, then any web browser that uses local caching where it improves the perception of the value of the browsing software might be running into a sticky area, too.

The US government (anyway) has long defended "time shifting". It would probably be covered under the same laws that cover the legality of taping at TV show and watching it later.

paybacksa




msg:374429
 3:28 am on Oct 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

The US government (anyway) has long defended "time shifting". It would probably be covered under the same laws that cover the legality of taping at TV show and watching it later.

and time shifting has come under attack in the US, with new regulations coming next summar that try to make it illegal to sell devices that enable copying/time shifting unless the broadcaster specifally enables it.

Hard to believe the made a law that blocks your right to tape a show for viewing later, but they did.

Yes it only applies to digital broadcast TV, yes it specifically says it is not intended to prevent time shifting or personal recording. But since the FCC wants to switch to DTV as the only broadcast TV in the US, and the broadcast flag is controlled by the broadcaster with no option for the consumer, the end result is quite likely a block of your ability to record and time shift.

Rosalind




msg:374430
 12:59 pm on Oct 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

If that single paragraph (or the first 250 characters of the article or whatever) is more than 30% of the entire article, then there is definitely a problem. But what if it's around 1% or at least under 25% of the article in total? That would fit the definition of "fair use" under copyright law, wouldn't it?

Copyright law is careful not to specify a percentage or word count, so any guide can be misleading. Some articles are structured like this:

Introductory waffle.

Waffle waffle waffle

More waffle

Big surprise revelation

Several hundred more words of waffle ....

It takes a human review to judge whether a quote is infringing copyright, and this is where algorithms can easily come unstuck. It's not beyond Google to figure out how to quote no more than 10% of any article, but as we've seen again and again there's no way a computer can tell the meat of an article from the brussels sprouts.

HughMungus




msg:374431
 7:05 pm on Oct 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Copyright law is careful not to specify a percentage or word count

If Google thought they could get away with making money with other people's content, they would have done it by now. Obviously, they don't think they can get away with it without a ton of lawsuits.

mack




msg:374432
 12:32 am on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Think about it this way...
Joes news site is on Google news. He gets thousands of referals from Google news every day. One day he gets anoyed that Google news is breaching his copyright. He opts out of Google news. Next day he has 4 uniques. One of Joe news.

Google news is simply awsome from a publishers point of view. It opens a whole new door of potential readers.

From Googles point of view I have to agree with what Brett said. It's about power. Just think of the value of being able to say you are in the top 10 online news sites. It may not fill the bank directly, but it makes a statement.

Mack.

Mack.

Brett_Tabke




msg:374433
 2:51 pm on Oct 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

> then any web browser that uses local caching

Nope, because that is for personal use. If you start posting your browser cache on to a p-2-p network or onto your website for the world to download, then that would be be a clear violation of any applicable copyrights.

> If Google thought they could get away with
> making money with other people's content,
> they would have done it by now.

The #1 criteria to define a "successful" site, is the average "on site" time of each visitor. There is a perfect 1-to-1 correlation between on-site time, and site success.

Googles cached copy of pages is the biggest reason for their success because it raised the on-site time average for every visitor. During that time, they were able to put their own branded logo at to the top of every page.

> Google news is simply awsome from a publishers point of view.

I bet CNN, New York Times, and the other top 10 new sites, wish Google News didn't exist. They've lost alot of visitors because of it.

> It opens a whole new door of potential readers.

It cross pollenates visitors. It turns the news cycle into "stories" and not "sites". People that used to get all their news from say the LA Times, now visit Google News and get news from all sorts of places. Thus, the Times has been hurt, because its audience is now mobile on the web, instead of being locked in.

...rule 1 of site building: a site must be sticky or it will die (-me, 1997)

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