Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Group: Online content cannot remain free

Group: Online content cannot remain free. This is another in a seemingly endless number of articles about publishers complaining that Google Books is violating copyright.

Note this quote from the report by Francisco Pinto Balsemao, "It is fascinating to see how these companies 'help themselves' to copyright-protected material, build up their own business models around what they have collected, and parasitically, earn advertising revenue off the back of other people's content," he said. "This is unlikely to be sustainable for publishers in the longer term."

But, isn't that how Google (and other search engines) operate in general? They send out spiders, make electronic copies of copyrighted websites, and then make cached versions available to anyone who wants it? The default is opt in and a site owner literally has to put up text in the robots file telling spiders to stay away if the owner does not like it.

As almost all of these publishers have allowed virtually unlimited access to Google on their websites, it may be hard for them to argue that scanning of books and making small portions available online is a problem. After all, if this is a big deal, why have they made no effort to protect the copyright of their websites by ordering Google and other search engine not to copy their online content? By definition, this business practice would be just as parasitic, if not more so.

Hat tip to David Ginsburg for the article link.


Tutorialbase said...

Not just that..Google is also ripping of news websites by using the data their hard working Editors wrote and also Google was ripping some Photo Stock companies by including thehir images in its database..A new law is needed to protect websites from Google ...Other search engines dont have this habit..its only Google who use other people's stuff for their own profit.

M said...

By all means, websites that do not like Google copying their content can set strict robots.txt files to disallow the Google spiders.

However, I have found that these same sites want Google to publicize their sites and bring them visitors for free via their search engine so they can make money.

Google should make these sites decide. Do they want free search engine traffic via Google by copying all of their Web content (and maybe print stuff too) or do they want to protect their copyrighted content and ban Google?

I have the sense that these companies want to have the free cake and eat it too.

And Google can fix it and maybe shut this down by saying, "Make your pick. What choice do you want?"

Those who give Google unlimited access can get free Google traffic but also give up some control of their content. Those who do not can take a PR 0, vanish from Google, and use other means to publicize their web content.

Laws have to be fair. Google can not be forced to carry the selected content of sites for free and then be expected to ignore content that will actually generate them money. Those kind of laws will not be upheld even in the Europena Union.