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.