Thursday, February 15, 2007

Google News in problems with European sites (2)

The news that Google will have to stop Google News in Belgium for as far as 19 French and the German language newspapers (the Flemish language newspapers had requested Google to be left out), has been received at the other side of the pond with unbelieve.

This had happened also with the sentence of September last year. Red Herring for example did not understand at all that newspaper publisher would let slip away this opportunity for marketing the newspapers. And more publications in the States wondered about the Belgian newspapers going to court.

I am part of the Online journalism discussion group organised by the Poynter Institute. And yesterday I saw the same reactions in the discussion group. Clyde H. Bentley, associate professor of Missouri School of Journalism, started off the thread with a neutral comment: “Interesting case in Europe. Will it ever happen here and if so, what does it mean for us?” I guess that us is U.S.

His comment was followed by the comment of Ryan Sholin: “I might never understand why any newspaper executive would want to pull their headlines out of news aggregators and portals. It's free advertising, brand-building, and traffic-building all in one. I've argued this point with an executive or two, and their side has always been that it builds Google's brand, not theirs. I respectfully continue to disagree”.

Publisher K. Paul Mallasch went further by saying: “Indeed. I thought of it as an honor. It's also interesting to look at the 'gatekeeping' by Google News' robot as opposed to the newspaper funded headline service”.

Having thrown in the Buziaulane instalment into the discussion, Clyde Bentley came back with the following statement: “Jak¹s blog explanation is fascinating ‹ and forced me to go back and rethink my own opinion. While I have advocated search, the whole issue of caching opens a new set of arguments. Is a permanent cache all that different from a traditional publication, especially if you sell access to it? Probably not. If I used Google to find all those stories and then printed my own paper, I don¹t think the law would protect me.
I¹m troubled that the whole issue of intellectual property rights is undergoing a cultural sea change that may leave some of us stranded. My students ‹ journalists all ‹ insist that the stories they write are products of their own minds and that they must be paid for them (albeit sometimes with a grade). But they immediately say with equal passion that they have a right to download the music of their choice or to copy photos from the Web to use in their own work.
I¹m confused and will have to ponder this a bit more. My guess is that technology is creating a new reality and a new morality. As one of my students said: ³If you can¹t just copy from the Internet, why did they invent right-click?².”

I am glad to see that the Belgian Google News sentence is putting people across the pond to think about copyright. It is clear that there are different law systems, so different sentences in the end.

I think that K. Paul Mallasch made a relevant comment by saying that US publishers had the idea of gatekeeping their news with the headline service, but that they were succeeded by Google. So newspaper publishers reacted, but did not bring to bear their marketing power.

Blog Posting Number: 668

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