Google: whipping boy for distressed publishers
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"Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?" Murdoch asked.Skip to next paragraph
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"We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories," Singleton said.
Do not crawl - Doh!
Google counters that what it is doing is well within the confines of "fair use." It is doing what a librarian would do in providing an index to newspaper content. Yes, it's doing it faster and more conveniently and at a massively more dominant scale -- but it's the same thing.
And besides, if a news organization doesn't want Google to scrape its content, it can make a simple code adjustment on its articles -- a "do not crawl" designation -- and Google steers clear.
Also no traffic.
What would AP do?
Jeff Jarvis thinks Google bashing is dead wrong. The City University of New York professor is a big fan of Google. How could the author of the book "What Would Google Do?" be otherwise? He also acknowledges a financial interest in another aggregator company, Daylife.
That said, he makes a compelling case in his Buzzmachine blog that all the Google-bashing among publishers is because they are caught in the past and are failing to embrace what he calls the "link economy."
Get me rewrite
His most provocative point isn't that publishers are old-school, however. It's that the real culprit is the organization that is the central nervous system of the news industry: the Associated Press.
The venerable AP, he says, is built on appropriating the content of its members, rewriting it, and selling it back to them and to other organizations without so much as a link back to the originator.
Jarvis writes: "If the AP really wanted to help support original journalism ... it would stop rewriting, homogenizing, and anonymizing all its members’ news. Or when it does, it should provide credit and links to the sources, a moral necessity in the link economy; I urged the AP to adopt such a link ethic last year."
The link economy
The ol' CUNY perfesser is right about the link economy. It is the real world we're living in. Or at least the world we are going to be living in.
What Google is doing is what any erstwhile librarian would do: cataloging information for your convenience. And Google is giving not just credit to the original source. It is creating a path back to that original source.
Google needs no defending. It is so strong that it can defend itself. It is incredibly successful. And it still isn't evident that it is doing evil.