Tuesday, May 15, 2007


STRATEGIC: European publisher says Google stealing content; free can't continue


European Publishers Group Says Online Content Cannot Remain Free

By HELENA SPONGENBERG, Associated Press Writer

Published: December 06, 2005 2:25 PM ET

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) European publishers warned Tuesday that they cannot keep
allowing Internet search engines such as Google Inc. to make money from their

"The new models of Google and others reverse the traditional permission-based
copyright model of content trading that we have built up over the years," said
Francisco Pinto Balsemao, the head of the European Publishers Council, in
prepared remarks for a speech at a Brussels conference.

His stance backs French news agency AFP which is suing Google for pulling
together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news Web sites.

"It is fascinating to see how these companies 'help themselves' to
copyright-protected material, build up their own business models around what
they have collected, and parasitically, earn advertising revenue off the back
of other people's content," he said.

"This is unlikely to be sustainable for publishers in the longer term."

Consumers were drawn online by free content but this needed to change, he said.

"The value of content must be understood by consumers so that new business
models can evolve. Industry must have legal certainty and the confidence that
their intellectual property will be protected.

Balsemao said that good quality content produced by professionals would be the
"gold content" for new media.

Last March, Agence France-Presse claimed the "Google News" service infringed on
AFP's copyrights by reproducing information from the Web sites of subscribers
of the Paris-based news wholesaler.

It is seeking at least US$17.5 million (euro14.85 million) in damages. AFP says
Google is breaking rules on the "fair use" of copyright material because its
news site looks similar to AFP subscribers.

The Google News service, which debuted in 2002, scans some 4,500 news outlets
and highlights the top stories under common categories such as world and

Many stories carry a small image, or thumbnail, along with the headline and the
first sentence or two. Visitors can click on the headline to read the full
story at the source Web site.

Yahoo Inc. has a similar service, though it uses human editors and pays some
news sources, including AFP and The Associated Press, for rights.

HELENA SPONGENBERG, Associated Press Writer (letters@editorandpublisher.com)
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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