World's Press Asks Google To Respect Copyright

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2009 10:55 AM
World's Press Asks Google To Respect Copyright
The newspaper industry's representative association made an impassioned defense of copyright to Google's chief attorney on Thursday, calling for "a more rigorous and unambiguous acceptance" of publishers' rights to decide how their content is used.
"Being able to make a commercial return is essential to justify investment in content ¬ whether we are talking news or education or entertainment ¬ and that depends on having the mechanism to choose how that content is distributed, used and paid for," said Gavin O'Reilly, President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), in a debate at the World Newspaper Congress with David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of Google.
"That is why copyright was invented 300 years ago ¬ and when you consider the breadth, depth, richness and diversity of 21st century media, it has been a stunning success ¬ and that is why copyright remains as relevant today."
But Mr O'Reilly added: "what is clear is that, collectively, we haven't made copyright work properly on the web, and that is down to we content creators who have, perhaps foolishly, failed to enforce our copyright."
Mr Drummond denied that Google violated copyright. "This is not a question of Google not respecting copyright. This is a fundamental disagreement when you're applying copyright rules on the web," he said, adding that the idea that indexing sites was a violation "flies in the face of how the web has been built and how it operates."
But Mr Drummond said Google was interested in working with the newspaper industry, and announced that Google was launching a separate crawler for Google News, so that publishers can give one set of instructions on how their content should be treated in Google News, and a different set of instructions for Google Search.
He pointed out that Google News offers publishers a billion clicks a month and massive traffic, which he called "a source of promotion undreamed of just a few years ago."
Mr O'Reilly said: "Unfortunately, the pat answer always seems to be, 'don't complain ¬ aren't I giving you traffic?' As if I could take traffic to my bank manager. But shouldn't I have the right to determine ¬ as a fair trade for my own content ¬ whether I want traffic or something else? Leaving aside the thorny issue of dominant market position that Google enjoys, why should I just be forced to accept Google's business model of site referral as the only online model?"
"I want to say that I am not advocating charity here. We publishers don't need hand outs or crumbs from Google's table. What we want is a more rigorous and unambiguous acceptance on copyright, an acknowledgement of our right to choose our own business model, a more transparent technical mechanic, and perhaps, less of the rather tired, 'fair use' rhetoric."
He called for adoption of the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), a new protocol back by WAN-IFRA and others in the industry that allows publishers to describe how their online content can be used in a way that the news aggregators' automated indexing crawlers can read.
"Some dismiss this, including Google ¬ saying that the existing Robots Exclusion Protocol does the job just fine. But, if you're listening to us, it just doesn't do it for publishers, and we publishers need something more than essentially a binary 'yes/no' for the management and commercial exploitation of our valuable content."
"If Google are genuinely pro-copyright, then they must be pro-ACAP, or at least pro its goals, as all ACAP seeks to do is to make copyright work on the web, by creating an infrastructure that is universal ¬ not proprietorial, not owned by any one individual business, not confined to specific media, not telling anyone what their business model should or shouldn't be, but making it easier for them to choose. An open standard available to everyone and at no cost to the user."
More on ACAP can be found at
Also participating in the debate were: Kees Spaan, President of the Dutch Newspaper Publishers Association and Chairman of the Copyright Working Party of the European Newspaper Publishers Association, and Dae-Whan Chang, Chairman of Maeil Business Newspaper and TV in Korea.
The debate was the closing session at the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo, the global summit meetings of the world's press, which drew more than 900 publishers, chief editors and other senior executives to Hyderabad, India. Full coverage can be found on the WAN-IFRA multiblog at , on the Editors Weblog at , on the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog at , or on Twitter by using hashtag #wanindia09.
Read Gavin O'Reilly's remarks at
Read David Drummond's remarks at
WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world¹s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.
Learn more about WAN-IFRA at or through the WAN-IFRA Magazine at

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