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Belgian Papers Win Google Copyright Case - Google Drops Belgian News Content
Google Must Remove New Story Content
engine




msg:3251186
 12:55 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

A Brussels court said Google Inc. violated copyright laws by publishing links to Belgian newspapers without permission and ordered the company to remove them, setting a precedent for future cases in Europe.

Google, the owner of the world's most-used search engine, must pay 25,000 euros ($32,500) a day until it removes all Belgian news content, the Brussels Court of First Instance ruled today. There's ``no exception'' for Google in copyright law, the court said. The Mountain View, California-based company said it has already removed the content and will appeal the ruling.

Google Loses Copyright Case & Drops Belgian News Content [bloomberg.com]

Google loses Copyright case [businessweek.com]

Belgian Papers Win Google Copyright Suit [newsday.com]

A court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Belgian newspapers that sued Google Inc., claiming that the Web search Internet search leader infringed copyright laws and demanded it remove their stories. It ordered Google to remove any articles, photos or links from its sites -- including Google News -- that it displays without the newspapers' permission.

 

Harry




msg:3252356
 12:41 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure the Belgians are right on this issue, and as for Google, it did expose itself to this. There are a few things that people have said about this case which is not true.

1-It's not true that Google News archive news article forever. It keeps them at most for two months and then they are erased.

2-Google News only take a few lines from the articles. There is no cache available. At most, it will also take a thumbnail of an existing image and ALWAYS includes the sources in its summary page.

3-Google does not profit from Google News. There are no advertising nor any direct offer to offer profit generating services to users.

4-The dilution of a Newspaper's commercial and brand appeal is not Google's responsibility. For example, several television morning shows read headlines from local newspapers everyday. Often, they will mention several competitors. Can one accuse the anchorman and the station of diluting a brand, because and headline is read? Isn't that the same as what Google News is doing right now?

5-People have said that the Belgian news sources want out of Google News. That's not true. They actually want in further and want Google to share the non existing profits from Google News with them.

A few things that Google should have done better to avoid this mess with those greedy and unreasonable Europeans.

1-All news clippings should be opt in. I actually thought this was the case.

2-It could limit the amount of material it takes from news sources an / or only take some from participating sites.

3-It could limit the amount of time it keeps headlines in Google News down from two months to one month.

4-It could remove the cache of the same articles from its regular search engine results or only keep those that opt in - yes, opt in for the search engine might be the best way to placate all greedy folks who want to have their cake and eat it too.

The Belgian case, which is similar to the French case, is really about sticking it to the Americans. The French and several other Europeans like to oppose so called "American cultural imperialism" while they have practiced worse in their own spheres of influences for centuries.

If I were one of those Europeans, I would be far more worried about the cultural and economic weight of China, than a few news clipping about news nobody outside my country really cares about. For one thing, Google featuring these various newspapers actually opened up their contents to the rest of the world. I mean, who in their right mind, would seek out a news article from Belgium that relates to a story every other single newspaper in North America already covers?

Because the so called intellectual property they are fighting over is mostly Reuters and Associated Press news clippings. We can read this stuff anywhere and certainly don't have to go to Belgium for that.

atlrus




msg:3252426
 2:18 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

You just dont get it do you?

YOU HAVE TO PAY TO USE AP AND REUTERS CONTENT!

I hope I spelled it right for you (I dont speak American well).

There are many newspapers which use the AP wire - but they pay for it. They may have 0 content but the AP wires, but they paid for that.

The bottom line - YOU ALWAYS PAY FOR NEWS CONTENT, it is not free, nomatter if you buy it from Reuters or pay your own staff to do the research.

You may see the same story on Fox and CNN but they are both SUBSCRIBERS to AP and Reuters, that's why the news story may appear simillar.

On another note - the only websites which benefit from Google traffic are websites which are selling something. That's it. Selling handbags or PPC is the same thing. For eaxmple - no university website cares about Google traffic (except maybe Phoenix). The same thing about industry related websites - they get the visitors from their community and other industry related websites.

Brett_Tabke




msg:3252467
 3:09 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

> What happens if Google decides to put ads on Google News?

Every page in Google News has an advertisement in the top middle of the screen. Is a full color ad where you find the bright red call to action ad slogan "Search and browse 4,500 news sources updated continuously" on it. It is a great example of lost/loss leader marketing.
Good set of points Harry, but I disagree on a few of them.

1- we have all seen Google cache old pages for a long time. Much more than 60 days for sure. I think the record for dead stale pages is somewhere around 9months in the cache.

2- Google uses the entire article for algo and future usage. That data is used to find similar articles and refine the system. Google has made big noise that Google News is "algo" driven. That algo lives and breaths on data. This is a more important fact than even what you see on a news listing at Google. This is private copyrighted intellectual property that is being used to further the Google news system.

3- Google news has been one of the most profitable things Google has ever done. Outside of the search engine, Google has had few services that have taken off with any measure of success. Google News is one of those such features that has successfully helped build the brand that is Google. Google News has easily added 10-25% to Googles quarterly bottom line profits.

4- When Google takes private copyrighted intellectual property that makes up a brand and uses it to further their own service - of course it is important to the holder of the IP property. It is clearly important to Google too, or they would not have tried to get the world to stop using Google as a verb like Kleenex.

5- Not the way I read the stories.

BillyS




msg:3252532
 4:22 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>It is possible to run a very succesful web business with zero Google traffic. And some web businesses prefer it that way.

Really? Why in the world would someone prefer to spend millions on advertising rather than have search engines send them free traffic? If you don't think all the search engines (past and present) have helped make websites popular, then how did it happen?

Please provide examples certainly it's easy enough to find many websites that love free traffic from search engines. These Belgian Newspapers certainly want to be in Google's search index.

oddsod




msg:3252565
 4:59 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why in the world would someone prefer to spend millions on advertising rather than have search engines send them free traffic?

1. Millions on advertising is sometimes cheaper than giving your IP rights away. You are confusing some sites don't need Google with no site could use Google traffic.
2. It doesn't matter why. Suffice that it is their preference. They are entitled to run their business however they want. It may be that the Google traffic is cheap, rubbish traffic that doesn't convert anywhere near the highly targeted traffic they get from niche sites.

I'll give you a for-instance: I once owned a high-tech B2B business. We automatically deleted enquiry forms when the visitor was referred by Google. That's because the time spent answering the idiotic questions from the non-specialist general Google user was wiping out the profits we were making from the genuine businesses wanting to use our service. There are thousands of other eventualities when someone may not want Google traffic.

callivert




msg:3252584
 5:13 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

On the face of it, this is a very simple situation.
The Belgians have a right to ask not be included in Google News. They want out, and they're out. Beyond that, people seem to be making all sorts of statements about Google's evilness or Belgium's stupidity.
My nickel's worth:
1) whether Google should assume opt-in is a legal question, nothing more, that will be sorted out in the fullness of time.
2) Google might be archiving whole news stories for their own in-house algo development purposes, but again, that's an even more arcane legal issue. My hunch is that Google is in the clear on this one, but who knows.
3) Google does not distribute entire stories on Google news. They provide a couple of lines and a link, rather like a regular search result.
4) just because Google News is good for Google doesn't mean that it's bad for everyone else. There is such a thing as win-win, you know. (google search being a good example). If I was a news service, I think I'd want to be in Google News.

atlrus




msg:3252629
 6:11 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

No,no,no

Google should ask the Belgians if Google News could use their news! Not vice versa.

Belgians are providing tangible goods to Google - the headlines/news snippets, where Google is offering in return - nothing, but some kind of promise for clicks...

What makes Google think that just because I want to be listed on their search engine, I want my news to be shown as part of Google News? They are MY news not Google News.

Visit the main page of Google News and you will see that they have made it look just like a news portal, except - they get it all for free and 0 effort. They also offer you on the same page to bookmark Google News, to recieve Google News alerts or to add Google News to your website. All these services are provided by Google, and yet, none of them belong to Google and they dont pay a dime.

And do you know how many times I have seen Google News featuring a news story with a link from some cut-and-paste website, where the actual outlet breaking the sotry is burried on the bottom?

Do you have any idea how muach a news outlet such as CNN pays yearly to AP, Reuters etc to have something that Google thinks they can get for free?!?

I dont think so Google, good for the Begians.

And funny thing - 99% of the news sources on Google News use Adsense...Ha-ha...Are you laughing yet?

davelms




msg:3252647
 6:44 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is a question asked or hinted at by someone earlier, and seems to have been skipped by all replies since. I apologise in advance if this is a naive question, but I only have my own experiences to draw upon.

I personally had to *apply* to be a source of articles in Google News. Therefore, once approved, my inclusion in Google News was at my request.

So ... my question is, does everyone have to apply or is content from some sites included in Google News automatically (i.e. without an application request from the site, as I had to do)?

Brett_Tabke




msg:3252785
 9:03 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Great article for further reading

BusinessWeek [businessweek.com]

It has all the makings of an epic David vs. Goliath battle: A band of scrappy Belgian publishers, citing copyright infringement, have taken on Google and emerged victorious. On Feb. 13, a Belgian court said the search giant could not reproduce certain copyrighted titles and summaries on its Belgian Google news or Google.be Web site. What's more, the Mountain View (Calif.) company must pay &#8364;25,000 a day ($32,500) until it removes all related content. Google says it will appeal.

At first glance, it might be easy to dismiss the case as a one-off. After all, the ruling only applies to French- and German-language publications in Belgium, including Le Soir and La Dernière Heure, that are represented by Brussels-based copyright group Copiepresse.


swa66




msg:3252921
 11:53 pm on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Please make it clear it's a case where not all Belgians want out of Google, it's only one lobby group of a minority of (French speaking) newspaper publishers that is suing Google and won once again.

That said, copyright law out here is clear enough, Google and many others go over that limit more than once (e.g. news, but also cache, and outside of google also archive.org etc.).

Courts should uphold the laws, that's their purpose after all.

Harry




msg:3253039
 4:15 am on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Brett, when you say Google archives pages for more than two months, are we both talking about Google News? I don't remember the exact time period, but it is stated in the agreement contract somewhere on Google News that news headlines stay for a specific amount of time.

The Belgian case reporting is ambiguous on whether they sued only because of Google News or search engines.

About what you consider and advertisement with a call to action, I don't consider traditional advertising. And I'd like to know exactly how Google makes direct profit with Google News? I've used the service for years and I never paid a dime to them, nor registered for one of their paying products, because of Google News. For me, eyeballs is not profit, nor money.

Here's an hypothetical question. What if the Google bot that gobbles data, only scan the material and doesn't cache it. it is quite a possibility. In regards to News, the spider is different than the regular one who does keep a de facto cache for search engines results.

I still disagree with the claim that Google dilutes brands. Again how does it differs from what my local morning show anchor man does every morning when he reads the latest news from local papers live on TV?

Isn't the amount of material used by Google similar to what academia does when it quotes/references another source? Will it soon be illegal to quote your sources? If the Europeans get their way, it will.

Finally, in the story I read, from a British paper, but I can't recall the name, they quoted Copiepresse's American lawyer as saying they wanted to share Google's profits. I think that's a clear indication that they want in...

I'll look for that specific article some more.

The Europeans' action bothers me a lot. I'm all for the protection of IP, but not when it protects cartels, hinder progress and is done inn bad will - such as the Belgians' wanting in on Google's profit, while playing the anti-American card.

Belgians are some of the world's largest usurpers of other people's rights.

oddsod




msg:3253142
 9:12 am on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Belgians are some of the world's largest usurpers of other people's rights.

Some would argue that it's the Americans, not Belgians. Even assume you're right (which you are not) ... that some Belgians are usurpers of others' rights is, you argue, good legal grounds for Google to usurp the rights of any Belgian organisation? Hmmm.

'm all for the protection of IP...

Sure. On your terms? Not the terms of local law in the country we're talking about?

DamonHD




msg:3253212
 10:44 am on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I take strong exception to the "greedy European" line earlier, but I do agree that this Belgian/French action has a strong chauvinist/stick-it-to-the-Yanks odour and is wrong-headed and self-destructive. The French in particular have a long history of glorious pig-headed self-destruction, but then the hands of the host nations and cultures of the other parties involved are not exactly clean either.

It is a case of "cutting off your nose to spite your face", or as the Maltese even more colourfully put it, "cutting off your balls to spite your wife"...

I think that if you chose to use a medium to publish your wares/IP then you have to learn the rules and behaviour of that medium and not demand that it be stood on its head to suit you. In this case that means USING ROBOTS.TXT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE INDEXED. Goodness!

It is possible that these newspapers have been scribbing their best editorials on lumps of slate that they fling into the sea each morning, and are about to launch an action against Google for NOT indexing it, and against advertisers for not calling up and demanding to pay large sums of money to have their ads scribbled on the slates.

Rgds

Damon

mzanzig




msg:3253603
 7:26 pm on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that if you chose to use a medium to publish your wares/IP then you have to learn the rules and behaviour of that medium and not demand that it be stood on its head to suit you. In this case that means USING ROBOTS.TXT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE INDEXED. Goodness!

Nope. Copyright does not work this way, and I can 100% understand why the Belgians are upset.

Just because it is convenient, no one (including Google) should not override existing laws.

Why not turn around the default function of robots.txt, so that your content is NOT indexed (by default), and only if robots.txt is present with the right commands, then it the site will get spidered? This way, you'd have the automatic protection of the copyright, and you could allow automatic indexing.

And yes, I would be the first one to implement the rule "Google may index everything on my site". :-)

kaled




msg:3253719
 9:16 pm on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've lost count of how many times I've said this but...

What is needed is a new http header something like
Allow-archive: yes/no

After an interim period during which yes is taken as default (to stop things breaking) the default should be no.

Google could have introduced this years ago and the problem would be history.

Kaled.

Harry




msg:3253997
 2:37 am on Feb 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm all for the opt in approach for search engines as it would settle a lot of petty problems and allow those who want to keep advancing and enrich society the opportunity to do so without seeing a minority always set backward rules for the rest of us.

However, until we get the opt in feature to work, the Web and valuable services such as Google News must continue to go on and I will continue to champion them, even if they cross the line.

[edited by: engine at 12:02 pm (utc) on Feb. 16, 2007]
[edit reason] TOS [/edit]

stef25




msg:3254500
 3:01 pm on Feb 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

as i see it, its def copyright infringement but those belgian news sites ARE shooting themselves in the foot. think of the amount of extra subscribers they could get

only french speaking belgians access those news site directly. you wouldnt know about those sites if you didnt know of the existence of that newspaper.

through having their content on google news they could gather clients from all over the french speaking world, who find their way to the newspaper through google news.

if i could get the first paragraph of all the articles on my content site listed in google serps, i would not complain

europeforvisitors




msg:3255752
 11:29 pm on Feb 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

A February 18 NEW YORK TIMES article [nytimes.com], "The Old Guard Flexes Its Muscles (While It Still Can)," touches on some of the issues discussed here.

Notable quote: "Intellectual property law is clear that the legal impetus, for now, rests with the copyright holder to tell a Web site to take down unauthorized material." (That's in the U.S., mind you; the Belgians appear to see things differently.)

oddsod




msg:3256195
 5:51 pm on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's in the U.S., mind you; the Belgians appear to see things differently.

Yes. Too many people confuse US law with international law.

europeforvisitors




msg:3256613
 7:22 am on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes. Too many people confuse US law with international law.

Or Belgian law with U.S. law, for that matter.

Fact is, there is no simple, universal copyright law--just as there are no simple, universal laws about spam, libel, invasion of privacy, etc.

DamonHD




msg:3256830
 2:16 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is however the Berne convention on copyright, which I understand to be an international treaty to which virtually every country has signed up, and whose effects are signed into local law by each signatory.

(One of the best effects of the Berne convention is that no formal procedure is required to acquire copyright on a newly-created piece---the copyright protections are automatic and international---which is a really good way to protect the little guys from the huge corporations with massive legal departments, IMHO!)

Rgds

Damon

europeforvisitors




msg:3257259
 9:35 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is however the Berne convention on copyright, which I understand to be an international treaty to which virtually every country has signed up, and whose effects are signed into local law by each signatory.

It isn't that simple, because:

1) Not all countries have signed the Berne Convention;

2) Some countries (such as the U.S.) haven't accepted all parts of the Berne Convention;

3) Interpretation of the law varies by jurisdiction.

DamonHD




msg:3257281
 10:09 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi EFV,

Did I say simple? B^> Oscar Wilde got there first with the best line on truth and simplicity of course...

I didn't know that the US had ducked parts of the convention, though I guess there lies another long and (in)glorious national tradition. I may research a little to see what the US didn't accept; interesting...

I'm quite sure that you are right that not all countries have signed, but of what size and economic importance are those that have not? For example, India and China, notable ignorers of IP (etc) in the past, have been taking these things more seriously of late.

Of course, if the US does not do something about its lost (and lost again on appeal) WTO case with Antigua which I have more than a passing personal interest in, then Antigua will be largely released from many requirements to observe US IP, possibly including copyright, which might be fun to watch. Anyone for a heavily discounted and entirely legal copy of AntiguaVista and some really cheap and legal online MP3s of all your favourite US artists?

Rgds

Damon

[edited by: DamonHD at 10:12 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2007]

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