Thursday, September 30, 2004
Google news, newspapers' articles and fair use
Still a very good article from Adam, L. Penenberg, Wired, about Google news and the newspaper industry. The quote is a bit long (sorry for the copyright), just because the paper is more than interesting and prospective: "Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can't make money from Google News. So while other online publishers like Yahoo News and MSNBC earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and continue to grow, Google News remains in beta mode -- three years after it launched -- long after most of the bugs have been excised. The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it 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. Other publishers might simply block users originating from Google News, effectively snuffing it out." "What is fair use of a copyright work? According to New York University, where I teach, it covers 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.
... And it's not only in lawsuit-crazy America that Google's aggregate news model faces an uncertain legal future. Earlier this year, a court in Hamburg, Germany, ruled against Google's German news service when it found that thumbnail images were protected under German copyright law and could not be reproduced without permission. (Google has appealed.) A few weeks ago, half a world away, Chinese publishers Sing Tao electronic news service, Ming Pao newspaper and Radio Television Hong Kong, a government-owned radio station, greeted the launch of Google's Hong Kong news with a spate of letters alleging copyright infringement."
And now, please read the whole article.
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I'm not sure I buy it. If I were the project lead on this site, I would be weary of taking it out of beta when it still makes as many mistakes as it does. GN still has a good number of bugs. But I'm sure Google programers are learning a lot from the project about the intelligent parsing of data.
Posted by: Howard Owens at Sep 30, 2004 6:28:10 PM