Google vs. Belgian media: You go Belgium!

Google vs. Belgian media: You go Belgium!

Summary: PUBLISHERS FIGHT BACK! Rather than being applauded for sound, legally justified business decisions, Belgian publishers are being roundly declared dumb and ungrateful while Google is deemed the benevolent provider of free traffic.

TOPICS: Google

It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that in this Google-centric world a legitimate copyright owner is subject to ridicule for defending its content ownership rights and for demanding compensation for the for-profit use of its proprietary content by a third party.

The International Herald Tribune reports on Google’s latest copyright infringement woes:

Google said Monday that it had removed from its Google News site content from French and German language newspapers based in Belgium after an association of local publishers won a lawsuit against copyright abuse.

The legal challenge strikes at the heart of Google's business model, which is based on categorizing and accessing the content found on all kinds of Web sites, including those of news organizations, without paying for it.

The legal action is the most recent example of the news media fighting back against the growing might of the largest Internet portals and search engines. Increasingly, young people are reading their news in bite-size nuggets on search engines, and newspapers are seeing their advertising revenues dwindle as a result.

Rather than being applauded for sound, legally justified business decisions, the Belgian publishers are being roundly declared dumb and ungrateful while Google is deemed the benevolent provider of free traffic.

For example, Techdirt headlines: “Google hoping someone in Belgium recognizes how the Internet works.”

A more realistic headline would read, however:

Google making sure everyone in the world understands the Internet works the way it wants it to work, which is to Google's profit advantage.

In “Google, YouTube: multi-billion dollar “fair-use” risky bets” I discuss at length how Google aims to play the "fair-use" card to its $122 billion market cap advantage:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt proudly waves the “fair-use” flag in defense of Google’s mission to obtain all the world’s content for free and YouTube directs its online copyright agnostic volunteer army of video uploaders to “fair-use” Websites.

Both Google and YouTube rely on a Web 2.0 crowd pleasing “content must be set freed” stance to garner public support for their self-aggrandizing business models based on obtaining, exploiting, controlling, owning and monetizing others’ content cost-free and on a calculated disregard for certain copyright owners’ rights over their own content...

Google also employs a selective copyright protection stance. In “Google Verticals vs. What is Google’s end-game?” I put forth implications of Google’s third party content caching strategy and present its verticals-based no-cost content acquisition strategy...

I conclude with the prediction:

More and more content owners will undoubtedly be stepping up to the copyright royalties plate to demand their just deserts: large slices of the advertising pies of Google, YouTube…

Topic: Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • True.

    If Google uses material belonging to another to make money, then Google should pay for the source of its profits.

    The only exception occurs when the value of the material being used is enhanced by Google's effort.

    For example, if a website makes money based on views of the whole page and Google's search results produce an increase in traffic, then Google is contributing to the value of the website.

    Surprising how blithely some people can forget the necessity of earning a living.
    Anton Philidor
  • Google News rocks

    I am a former journalist. Google wins this round, with me, at least.

    Google News publishes headlines with links to the newspapers that carry them. On occasion, there may be a paragraph from the story accompanied with the link. A reader who wants that story will be forced to click through to the appropriate newspaper.

    This is an online version of -- get ready -- a newsstand. I can walk to any bookstore/newsstand and skim the headlines. I can then buy the paper I want, or I can actually read the paper for free in some places.

    The "Internet" component is what scares everyone. Compare it to a brick-and-mortar equivalent, and the absurdity of this all becomes apparent.

    If anything, news content holders (e.g. newspapers) should applaud Google for giving them more exposure. In past weeks, I have clicked through to, and provided registration to, newspapers from around the country and the word that I never would have seen otherwise. Those newspapers gained a reader and a clickthrough to their websites. Their revenue actually increases with no extra effort on their part.
    • Like everything, the devil is in the details.

      Last year it was a headline, now it's a headline and a paragraph or two, tomorrow? Who knows?

      No, the newspapers are right to force this issue now instead of later. If not, I can easily see a future where Google would have control of the newspapers and what gets published.
      • And then...

        ... and then the next thing you know, the Communists will come over and the world will end as we know it.

  • Biased reporting

    - I don't think Google is making money for its useful property. I don't see any ads when using it.

    - I found this article using Google news.

    - There is a well known and simple way to keep anything from showing up in all search engines. Just add a "robot.txt" file. But I guess being ignorate is an excuse in this case because we're talking about a news publisher on the internet.
  • what about the others?

    You mean they're not going to sue Alta Vista, Yahoo, MSN and a host of other search engines? Sounds more like selective prosecution than copyright protection to me.

  • RE: Google vs. Belgian media: You go Belgium!