Center for Citizen Media Rotating Header Image

Biting the Hand that Feeds?

Reuters: Newspapers take aim at Google in copyright dispute. The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, whose members include dozens of national newspaper trade bodies, said it is exploring ways to “challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners.”

At the association’s annual meeting last year in Seoul, one of the keynote speakers was Krishna Bharat, the man who was a principal creator of Google News. (I was the other keynote speaker.) He was treated somewhat roughly by the audience, which was visibly skeptical of his message that Google was more a friend of newspapers than an adversary. Now the other shoe is dropping.

The newspaper people are mistaken. Google does create disintermediation, but it also sends traffic. More fundamentally, it uses the Web as designed.

If the newspapers are serious about this, they should simply tell Google (and use technology to enforce it) to stop linking to their stories, or put them behind pay-walls. These would be dramatically counterproductive moves, to be sure, but at least the lines would be drawn in an appropriate way.

Legal threats against the Web’s design are the wrong way to proceed.

2 Comments on “Biting the Hand that Feeds?”

  1. #1 Craig McGinty
    on Feb 1st, 2006 at 1:56 am

    If some newspapers are seriously considering firewalling Google then it just means more power to citizen journalist projects.

    A lot less competition for those who want to talk to people and keep them in touch with what they care aboout.

  2. #2 Make You Go Hmm: » Dynamic links are newspapers weapon against unwelcomed deep linking
    on Feb 2nd, 2006 at 8:27 am

    […] Dan Gillmor wonders if this is biting the hand that feeds and the answer is of course, yes. It’s already working with me but I’m just one miniscule section of the internet. One of the fastest ways to guarantee that I don’t read your publication or link to it is to change the link to the source after some period of time. This is considered very anti-webmaster behavior. In some niche online businesses (link lists, for example) this can get all of your sites blacklisted. It’s a form of redirection and it’s bad netiquette. […]