Google to content owners: you will be compensated, maybe

How does Google decide which content owners to compensate?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has recently been touting what he says is Google’s desire to compensate content owners, as I present in “Google royalty-free content: fair use, or foul play?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt extolled the virtues of “financial sharing” in content partnerships during the company’s Q2 investor conference call last month:

'Is it a content partner? Is it a distribution partner? Is it an ad partner? Do they bring in users? What is the economic structure of their industry? But all of them have some form of financial sharing — although maybe not revenue, there may be other ways of doing it — that gets them to where they need to be with respect to their economics, and gets our goals aligned.'

At the Search Engine Strategies Conference last week, Schmidt spoke about Google’s recently announced “test” with Viacom's MTV Networks of a possible new revenue sharing model for Web-based video delivery:

'copyright holders need to monetize' content

Schmidt’s public pronouncements, however, do not necessarily reflect how Google always operates.

In “Nude-photo site wins injunction against Google,” CNET reports on Google’s unwillingness to compensate content owner Perfect 10 for the unauthorized use of its photos:

In an unusual position for an Internet firm with aspirations of being a media hub, Google argues that Perfect 10 (P10)'s high-quality nude photographs are not creative. Here's an excerpt from Judge A. Howard Matz's opinion rejecting that claim:

‘Google argues that P10's works are not creative because P10 ‘emphasizes the objects of the photographs (nude women) and [P10] assumes that persons seeking Perfect 10's photos are searching for the models and for sexual gratification‘ Google contends this ‘implies a factual nature of the photographs.''

The Court rejects this argument. The P10 photographs consistently reflect professional, skillful, and sometimes tasteful artistry. That they are of scantily-clad or nude women is of no consequence; such images have been popular subjects for artists since before the time of ‘Venus de Milo.’

In “Judge: Google News lawsuit can proceed,” CNET reports on the ongoing lawsuit against Google brought by Agence France-Presse that alleges Google News violates copyright laws:

Agence France Presse, the world's oldest news agency and the third-largest behind the Associated Press and Reuters, claims Google News unlawfully incorporated AFP photographs, headlines and excerpts from the beginning of articles. Also, AFP argues, Google News removed photo credits and copyright notices in violation of federal law.

For its part, Google claims AFP's headlines are not ‘original and creative’ enough to be protected under copyright law. ‘Typical AFP headlines are factual, simple and contain only one idea–unprotectable as a matter of law,’ Google says.

Agence France Presse is suing Google for $17.5 million.

At the Search Engine Strategies Conference, Schmidt characterized content owners’ lawsuits against Google:

business negotiations being done in courtroom

Apparently, Google chooses to compensate some content owners, but plays the “fair use” card with other content owners.

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