The search engine giant will today make the case that regional newspaper publishers should be allowed to merger, because of the impact of Google and other internet companies, in its submission to the Office of Fair Trading’s review of the existing newspaper merger structure.
Google’s decision to introduce advertising to the US version of Google News invalidates the companies arguments that their aggregation is fair use – the thoughts of Margaret Boribon from Copiepresse, speaking at today’s Digital News Affairs (DNA) conference.
Copiepresse won its case against the search engine giant for publishing and storing the newspaper group’s content without permission or offering payment. Google also removed the group’s content from its index – though the damages filed for (£39million) haven’t been finalised.
Boribon stands by the group’s original argument – Google News is an information portal, a filter between readers and news to the detriment of the newspapers’ own websites.
Plus – the opt-out system of Google News crawling sites is in contradiction with opt-in system of European legislation, adds Boribon.
Is she against aggregation? No – but aggregators must learn to respect content producers and their rights.
Speaker Nigel Baker from the Associated Press (AP) said the agency wants to see its content reused, but there must be control and a commercial model in place for this reuse.
“There are some aggregators out there who are helping themselves to content. It gets to a stage when they are more valuable and they have to negotiate proper deals with content providers or suffer the consequences,” said Baker.
But the age-old question rears its head:
Can news organisations afford to live without Google? What alternatives are they proposing?
Newspapers need to educate people that information has a value and producing it is a costly exercise – it can’t be given away for free, says Boribon.
But it is – and news content in particular has to be monetised quickly before, as Livestation’s Matteo Berlucchi said, ‘it dies on the vine’.
Perhaps a Creative Commons attribution/revenue share deal for news organisations content would work, adds Berlucchi, but you have to realise that the value of news is fleeting.