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Murdoch: I will block Google

And challenge 'Fair Use' principles, thinks headline/snippet use is illegal

   
8:01 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



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

9:00 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)



the content creators need to get a decent return on the work they are putting in, which is substantial. but "traffic" is not a fair return. traffic is not money. it doesn't pay the writers, the copy editors, the photographers and everyone else.

Search engines supply the traffic.

It's the publishers' job to make profitable use of that traffic.

If you lack the skills needed to earn a profit on free traffic, that's your fault--not the search engine's.

Getting back to the topic of this thread, Demaestro said something that you should commit to memory:

...there is value in being in Google's news results. If there was no value in being indexed then you can bet your life Murdoch would have ordered his sites de-listed by now.

But he doesn't, and the reason is simple... there is value in being indexed.

That's it in a nutshell. If and when Rupert Murdoch figures out a way to get more readers to enter his sites through the home page and pay handsomely for the privilege, he won't need traffic from Google News. Until then, he'll continue to accept Google News referrals and profit from that traffic as best he can.

9:17 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



That's it in a nutshell. If and when Rupert Murdoch figures out a way to get more readers to enter his sites through the home page and pay handsomely for the privilege, he won't need traffic from Google News. Until then, he'll continue to accept Google News referrals and profit from that traffic as best he can.

Adds Joe, the neighborhood heroin dealer: "If and when you figure out a way to kick your habit and not come to me every day to hand over your last money, I'll believe you that I am not all that necessary - and may be even detrimental to your health. Until then, please accept me as part of the solution to make your life better. Oh - and pay up, buddy."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

9:38 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)



It's ironic tens of millions of webmasters live on the mercy of one single company to list them on their website. And most of them still claim they cannot do anything about it ;).

It's from the same category: "When the lie is too huge or too ridiculous people will believe it."

9:42 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Search engines supply the traffic.

It's the publishers' job to make profitable use of that traffic.

It is interesting to note the forum this discussion is taking place in - Content, Writing and Copyright - and to note the responses that have nothing whatsoever to do with content or copyright.

Almost as interesting as it is watching Gorg apologists completely disconnect G's commercial activity from their search "service".

10:33 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Willy, Why so upset that Google profits?
11:25 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Search engines supply the traffic.

It's the publishers' job to make profitable use of that traffic.

If you lack the skills needed to earn a profit on free traffic, that's your fault--not the search engine's.

Google is much more than a search engine. And the traffic isn't free; Google gets first dibs with the traffic for showing ads, your pages are cached and stored on their servers, etc. The internet does not revolve around Google, or at least it shouldn't.

11:30 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Willy, Why so upset that Google profits?

This question is about as related to content and copyright as Google is to the Dewey Decimal System.

Oh, wait, someone already made that assertion...

2:23 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)



Google is much more than a search engine. And the traffic isn't free; Google gets first dibs with the traffic for showing ads

But the traffic is free. No PFI, no PPC, just free organic referrals of readers who mostly wouldn't arrive on the publisher's pages if it weren't for Google.

Both parties profit from the symbiotic relationship between search engine and publisher. That's something that Rupert Murdoch clearly understands, even if you don't, because he continues to welcome traffic from Google (including Google News).

2:30 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



But the traffic is free. No PFI, no PPC, just free organic referrals of readers who mostly wouldn't arrive on the publisher's pages if it weren't for Google.

Time is money - the only non-renewable resource.

For the vast majority of us that receive traffic from Google it is anything but free. You pay for SEO or you do it yourself. Even you, signor_john, have experienced sudden drops in G traffic, and have invested significant time in regaining it.

No, Google referrals are not free. And if the readers are arriving through Google it probably is not by accident on the part of the site owner.

5:32 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"tens of millions of webmasters live on the mercy of one single company" AND "When the lie is too huge or too ridiculous people will believe it."

Consider this hypothetical situation, 100's million of Webmasters are so peed off with nasty, greedy Google and all the others "stealing their content".

They all decide to ban Google, Yahoo, Bing or whoever.

Where will these 100's million of Webmasters then derive their traffic from?

Whether I like Google, Yahoo, Bing or whoever and their business practices is totally irrelevant. They represent reality as it is. I, and everyone else live with it because no alternative exists.

You can wish for a utopian or idealistic world all you want but absolute reality is what you have to deal with.

Reality is Google. Deal with it. Life's unfair.

8:54 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I guess all those arganic links mean nothing. (Joking!)

The web wouldn't break, but would be bruised.

Murdock has a valid point. One I support. Like most webmasters here I pick and choose which SEs get my stuff. These days I'm looking at returns... and guess what (and many of you are already seeing it), the Goog isn't doing as well as it used to (monetization). Makes no difference if you get a bunch of non performing clicks from the monster when the second/third ranks out perform.

But this is about copyright, and how much Google takes avowing "fair use" which clearly exceeds that, and is waiting for a large enough company/constortium to sue them so they can make a deal. JUST LIKE THEY DID WITH THE BOOKS. This has been coming for a long time, but webmasters in general are not the class Google needs to deal with to settle the "copyright" issue once and for all. Murdock and gang are that class. So watch it, and watch carefully. One way you're protected, the other way and you're screwed.

9:33 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Reality is Google. Deal with it. Life's unfair.

Reality need not be Google. I get fed up listening to all these people preaching some sort of doomsday scenario if Google was to disappear overnight. The only people who would be seriously troubled by this would be website owners (like me) who take Google's shilling in the form of Adsense.

Everyone else would have moved to Bing by 10am next day and Google would be forgotten in three months. We should not overstate their importance in the greater scheme of things.

12:59 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Consider this hypothetical situation, 100's million of Webmasters are so peed off with nasty, greedy Google and all the others "stealing their content".

They all decide to ban Google, Yahoo, Bing or whoever.

Where will these 100's million of Webmasters then derive their traffic from?

Gasp! Surely the internet would fall apart and be no more!

I currently have around 20,000 uniques/day; less than 2% of those people come from search engines. It's called building a site that people enjoy and revisit, not expecting Google to provide the traffic.

When I want sports news, I don't go to Google and type in "sports scores", I just go to ESPN or multiple other sports sites. Remember, it IS possible to use the internet without Googling something. The web would survive without search engines; actually, it would probably clean up a lot more as it would be harder for MFA sites to survive without targeting search engine key words.

1:23 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



google, to me, is a bit like this...
they come in your sweet shop and take all your sweets, and instead of paying for them like everyone else, they send along 100 grannies. if the grannies don't buy anything, then tough luck -- that's your problem.

and then they use the free sweets to open up their own sweet shop.

and when we say that isn't very fair, they turn around and say "well you should have locked your door"

2:09 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)



But this is about copyright

No, it's about Rupert Murdoch's inability to earn enough revenue from third-party traffic. Here's a "Cliff's Notes" summary of the real issues at work:

- Murdoch wants users to pay for content.

- Murdoch wants to improve his ad revenues by relying more on paying customers (who attract higher ad CPMs) and less on low-quality third-party referral traffic.

Murdoch has said he'll block Google after he has "paywalls" in place. Why after, and not before? Because Google News is currently a source of traffic and revenue for him, and he wants to keep that traffic and revenue until he can find a better alternative.

Murdoch's problems have nothing to do with copyright and very little to do with Google (except to the degree that Google makes it easy for Mr. Murdoch's readers to find other news sources). His problems are the result of the news industry's inability to make the old newspaper business model (local quasi-monopolies on text news and advertising) work on the Web.

Murdoch is hoping desperately that a paywall scheme will stem the loss of newspaper subscriber and newsstand revenues while making his audiences more valuable to advertisers. That's what forum members should be taking away from this discussion.

2:20 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



that's what google wants us to take away, you mean.
you can't just sweep the whole copyright issue under the carpet because there's been court cases about it. it's a very real issue to a lot of people.
3:01 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Murdoch's problems have nothing to do with copyright

if you look through this thread again, you may be able to see what this is all about:

1) Google takes content from Murdoch and others to create a summary newspage (a frontpage if you want). Whether or not Google's use of news content in this fashion is actually OK (i.e. "fair use") or not has not been tested in court AFAIK.

2) Backed by this content Google attract traffic and monetize this traffic either directly on that page or elsewhere on their site. So EVEN IF they do not directly monetize the traffic, they still add to their brand value. And it's all based on content they have neither produced nor paid for. Murdoch and others do have a problem with this, obviously. But Murdoch is one of the few who speak up.

Murdoch is hoping desperately

Do you really think that a 78 year old billionaire is desperate? I don't think so, and he certainly does not sound that desparate. On the contrary - just because he is NOT desperate he does speak up. Due to his status and age he just does not care. He is not a coward who bows in front of Google and greedly consumes their Kool Aid.

3:17 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)



that's what google wants us to take away, you mean.

No, I meant exactly what I said.

Boilerplate anti-Google rants may be therapeutic for those who feel unloved by Google, but they don't contribute to understanding of the topic at hand.

As for Mr. Murdoch's unhappiness with Google, what do you expect him to say? "Hi, I'm Rupert Murdoch, and I'm trying to figure out how to keep my former local news monopolies alive in a global news economy?" He needs a scapegoat, and Google is the designated Billy.

Finally, you'll note that Mr. Murdoch hasn't turned his back on Google or other news aggregators. He willingly accepts the traffic and ad revenue that Google sends his way, and he's a client of an OEM news aggregator that does exactly what Google does, with one difference: The OEM news aggregator sells its aggregated news headlines and snippets to media companies like Mr. Murdoch's, who then "curate" the aggregated headlines and snippets on their own pages. So please don't test our credulity with silliness about "copyright," because Mr. Murdoch (the subject of this thread) has made it clear through his actions that he considers the aggregation of news headlines and snippets to be an acceptable business practice.

3:34 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So please don't test our credulity with silliness about "copyright," because Mr. Murdoch (the subject of this thread)...

More accurately, Mr. Murdoch is one of the protaganists in this thread. The subject is clearly about copyright, which is why it is in the "Content, Writing and Copyright" forum.

It does appear that there are those unable to distinguish between personality and principal.

Boilerplate anti-Google rants may be therapeutic for those who feel unloved by Google, but they don't contribute to understanding of the topic at hand.

Is there any evidence that "google love" has anything whatsoever to do with the points being made here? I see an awful lot of people posting critical thoughts that seem to have received fair amounts of google love, yet still have serious concerns about the issues under discussion - copyright and fair use.

4:57 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



A lot of people here are anti-Google or anti-Murdoch. However, none of these opinions add anything to the topic. The topic is really just "Is Google's use of snippets and other content breaking copyright laws?"

If it is, then the service Google News needs to be changed or abolished. If it isn't, then Murdoch should go ahead and block Google and get on with his plans for paid content.

[edited by: StoutFiles at 5:26 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2009]

5:15 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



"Is Google's use of snippets and other content breaking copyright laws?"

Only is someone else does it - not Google! ;)

7:18 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)



Is Google's use of snippets and other content breaking copyright laws?"

I don't believe it is, and apparently Rupert Murdoch doesn't, either, despite his public posturing. If he really did believe Google was using his content illegally, the rational response would be to either:

a) Sue, to defend publishers everywhere from Google's illegal behavior; or...

b) Opt out of Google News and/or Google Web Search, which would be the quickest, simplest, and cheapest solution.

7:30 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



b) Opt out of Google News and/or Google Web Search, which would be the quickest, simplest, and cheapest solution.

He chose option b), at least in his robots.txt. I assume he hopes to change the rules of the search game anyway, whether they are legal or not.

7:50 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Here's another viewpoint on same issue which indicates the scope of the discussion:

[theregister.co.uk...]

8:10 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)



I assume he hopes to change the rules of the search game anyway, whether they are legal or not.

I suspect that what he'd really like to do (if only in his dreams) is put independent news search engines out of business and turn the Web into something akin to cable TV.

I'd love to see Google News made opt-out. Google could say: "We want to send Google News traffic only to sites that would like it and that can handle it, so any domain that wants to be included in Google News after February 1st needs to put <meta name="googlenews" content="yes"> in the code on its home page." I think you'd see a stampede of news publishers heading for the corner Meta Attributes Shop. They'd be elbowing each other out of the way to stock up on free "googlenews" tags.

Mind you, that's no more likely to happen than a lawsuit by Rupert Murdoch, because Google appears willing to defend both a legal principle ("fair use" in the form of abstracts, which have a long history in libraries and academia) and the most fundamental principle of the Web (citations with links). Murdoch just wants to take Google's money while muttering about a supposed crime that puts money in the victim's wallet instead of taking it out.

8:28 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I think you'd see a stampede of news publishers heading for the corner Meta Attributes Shop. They'd be elbowing each other out of the way to stock up on free "googlenews" tags.

Reminds me of people elbowing each other out of the way for jobs in The Grapes Of Wrath. You're right though, people would still want in, but for huge news sites I'm starting to doubt that web ads pay the bills.

Murdoch just wants to take Google's money while muttering about a supposed crime that puts money in the victim's wallet instead of taking it out.

He just wants people to go directly to his site instead of taking the Google News route. He also wants Google to stop making money off of content it doesn't produce. Time will show if he gets his way(probably not). However, if enough big news companies decide to start jumping on this idea it could be game changing.

9:18 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Time will show if he gets his way

I'd put a lazy $10.00 down on Google

(probably not)

That's why I'd put a lazy $10.00 down on Google

9:43 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"fair use" in the form of abstracts, which have a long history in libraries and academia...

Aw, come on. Abstracts are not generated automagically by snipping a headline and the opening text of the paper or book.

They are either provided by the author, or written by a real live person that took the time to read the work in question.

Again, I would ask the same question I asked previously (which remains unanswered). Would you be OK with me scraping your site? I promise, I will just grab the <h1> and opening <p>.

Is that fair use?

9:48 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I'd love to see Google News made opt-out. Google could say: "We want to send Google News traffic only to sites that would like it and that can handle it, so any domain that wants to be included in Google News after February 1st needs to put <meta name="googlenews" content="yes"> in the code on its home page."

Erm, just for the record, you are describing an opt-in scenario. And this is probably the last thing that Google wants to see happening - because they built all their products and services around the principle of "opt-out".

Google spiders and stores the content first - ignoring the basic copyright principle of "opt-in" - and should someone complain just shout: "You could opt out of Google News and/or Google Web Search, which would be the quickest, simplest, and cheapest solution."

But I am not surprised that Google replies like this - after all they needto protect theoir business, too.

2:25 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I want to thank tangor for the Register article link (5 messages prior). A very interesting point of view, also accurately describing the range of opinions on the subject and even the personalities of some members of this thread - which I guess is pretty representative in such discussions. Highly recommended reading - and this is a "bipartisan" recommendation.
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