Google vs. Belgian media: You go Belgium!

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.

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. Google.com: 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…