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Content Owners to Charge Royalties for Searching? 203

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pieces-of-the-pie dept.
dwarfking writes in with a story that follows up on the impact of recent Google events: "Ok, maybe I'm a little dense here, but isn't this plan more of an impact to the content provider than to the search engines. From the article: 'In one example of how ACAP would work, a newspaper publisher could grant search engines permission to index its site, but specify that only select ones display articles for a limited time after paying a royalty.' So, ok, a search engine company decides it doesn't want to pay royalties and therefore doesn't index the provider's site. Now won't the provider actually lose readers since their articles won't be locatable by search anymore?"
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Content Owners to Charge Royalties for Searching?

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  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daspriest (904701) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:57AM (#16167543)
    Sounds like one of the dumbest ideas I have heard, this goes alongside the MPAA and RIAA shenanigans.
    • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alef (605149) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @12:18PM (#16168145)
      Sounds like one of the dumbest ideas I have heard, this goes alongside the MPAA and RIAA shenanigans.

      What makes it extra dumb is the fact that it basically is an inverse of Google's targeted ads, if I'm getting this straight. Site owners already pay Google to have their link shown when people search for related material. And now, apparently, some of them expect Google to instead pay them for the exact same thing? Really, really dumb...

      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        The suits now realize that they, as middlemen, are getting cut out of something so they are screaming bloody murder (in the suit-type manner of hiring lawyers - more suits). People who own the golden goose get accustomed to having others do the real work for them and get very pissed-off when their status/authority is challenged. I mean, it's not as if they have any real-world skills or anything besides "managing", so they get desperate.
    • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Informative)

      by Deadstick (535032) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @12:21PM (#16168163)
      In fact, it's right up there with Radio Shack's policy back in the TRS-80 days.

      They claimed the exclusive right to control mention of their computer in print. If you published a BASIC program to run on it, or an article about how to use it, their lawyer would show up demanding that you pay royalties or desist. Magazines resorted to talking about "S-80 Bus" computers, which was sufficiently generic.

      They got their wish, of course: you can read all the computer magazines you want without seeing anything about Radio Shack computers.

      rj
    • A typical academic library spends at least six figures to get the (free) Google News equivalent for peer-reviewed journals -- which usually charge to have their contents indexed -- in the form of subscription research databases... many of which don't even provide the full text of articles.

      With the advent of Google Scholar and Microsoft Live Academic this may be changing (hopefully [lisnews.org]), but cases like this show its a constant tug of war between the profiteers and those that support the free distribution of info
    • (These are notes I jotted down as fast as I could as I was listening in on one of their meetings) -Unsold books actually somewhat decorative... charge Barnes&Nob. a "decoration rental fee"? Interior design fee? -When content creators drive cars around, they're kinda expressing themselves... should charge oil companies money to put gas in our cars -Remember to think outside the box...
  • Many publishers feel, however, that the search engines are becoming publishers themselves by aggregating, sometimes caching and occasionally creating their own content.
    • by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:17AM (#16167725) Homepage
      The problem is that the search engines aren't TRYING to be publishers. The entire point of the search engines is to direct you to the content that you want. Aggregation, caching, and content creation are means to further this end. On the other hand, creation and caching of content is the whole point of the publishers. That IS their end.

      Saying that search engines are becoming publishers because they create, aggregate, and cache content to help users FIND content from publishers seems to be just a little off the mark.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pacalis (970205)
        Search engines are distributors of information content, just like publishers. The 'entire point of search engines' is not to help 'the customer' find the content, any more than the 'entire point of publishers' is to direct customers to the content they want. Really the 'entire point' of companies is to profit for their shareholders. Profit models are slightly different but in the large, given that they both profit primarily from ad content, their interests look more similar than different.

        News publishers
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arminw (717974)
          .....Isn't it obvious that these are competitors....

          If they are competitors, then search engines such as Google should just de-list that publisher from ALL their searches until further notice from that publisher that they want to be listed after all. If said publisher notices a precipitous drop in their page views, they WILL come crawling back on their hands an knees to be re-instated.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by pacalis (970205)
            Google is aggregating the content of the aggregators so that users see googles ads first. If you're looking for a NYTimes article through a search engine, google gets to present you with ads first, before you get the NYTimes page. If your ads are well targeted you make money from some before they see the NYT content (ads are a 1/10000 game). If they de-list NYT as you suggest, they don't deliver ads for NYT customers.
            Most of this board is discussing the wrong game. Content is a cost center - content provi
        • by hazem (472289)
          Really the 'entire point' of companies is to profit for their shareholders.

          Actually, the fiduciary responsibility of a publicly held company is to maximize shareholder value.

          Value and profit are two very different things. You can easily make a company profitable by liquidating the assets and firing all the employees. Your profit will be great for a quarter.

          The rub comes when you are determining "value", and most importantly, over what period of time. If you presume that shareholders want the company to
          • by jtev (133871)
            This is a total falacy. You CANNOT maximize profits by selling off all the company's assets. You can maximize cashflows (also known as bank accounts) by doing that, however the purpose for every asset the company has is that it belives that over the lifetime of the asset that it can make more money with the product than the amount it will spend on the product. Add into that liquidation costs, and quite simply selling all of the company's assets is a very good way to LOOSE a lot of money. Sometimes a com
            • by hazem (472289)
              I think you're making my point for me. People can make bad decisions that look good on paper today while sacrificing the future.

              I'm definitely not saying that liquidating assets is a good way to make a profit. But in a strict sense, if it makes more money come in than has left, then it's a profit. Anything projected for the future is just a projection and not guaranteed. By focusing on profits right NOW, the decision sacrifices the future.

              Now, this is an extreme example. But there are countless example
              • by jtev (133871)
                No, I'm specicaly countervaling specifics about your point. There was a cost associated with those assets, the purchase price. If you do not make back the purchase price you are losing money. Period. There is no profit, there is loss. The quarterly statement will show a very large "liquidation expense" Corporations live on double entery accounting, not on cash accounting. If you don't understand double entry accounting, don't presume to say that something will be a profit. It pure and simple ISN'T.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frosty Piss (770223)
        The problem is that the search engines aren't TRYING to be publishers.

        I think that searches such as Google really straddle the line with how they present their search results, presenting content almost like RSS aggregators.

        I think it's easy to make a good argument that they want to provide the same type of service but with the added value of more sources, so as to attract eyeballs. Googl's not in it for humanity, you know.

      • by yelvington (8169) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:07PM (#16168979) Homepage
        "The problem is that the search engines aren't TRYING to be publishers."

        Sorry, but that just isn't true.

        Yahoo quite obviously is a publisher. In fact, Yahoo has formal distribution agreements in place with many news providers, including a number of major newspapers, and pays agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press a considerable amount of money in licensing fees. The same is true of MSN and AOL.

        You may not regard Google as a publisher, but it is. The problem is that Google publishes content that belongs to others.

        Google scrapes content from websites and constructs news presentations that include headlines, photographs and summaries that do not belong to Google. It does not secure permission to reuse that content. It doesn't pay the writers or the editors or the photographers or the news agencies.

        I'm not at all convinced that the Belgian newspapers are responding to the situation in the right way. But a knee-jerk reaction that Google is good and the publishers are bad is very naive.

        If you look at Google's scattered EULAs and TOS documents you'll discover that they are very one-sided. Google can take your content and make pages containing ads. You can not take Google's content (RSS feeds, for instance) and make pages containing ads. If you sign up for Google's advertising programs you're not allowed to disclose certain information about the program to others. You can't put Google Adsense on the same page as any other content-targeted advertising. And so on.

        Sauce for the goose is apparently not for the gander. From the Google News terms of service: "For example, you may not use the Service to sell a product or service; use the Service to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales; take the results from the Service and reformat and display them, or use any robot, spider, other device or manual process to monitor or copy any content from the Service."

        Google has made great hay out of its "Do No Evil" slogan, but some of its practices, such as collaborating with governments that do not recognize the fundamental human right of freedom of speech, make me wonder.

        The argument that search indexing is good for publishers has also several problems.

        First of all, whether it's good or bad for the publisher isn't relevant to the question of legality. If I steal an apple and tell 40 friends how good it is, the market may actually gain new customers and come out ahead. But I'm still stealing an apple. The question of whether Google's screen-scraping amounts to apple-stealing is one for the courts to resolve, and apparently the Belgian courts have taken a position not friendly to Apple.

        Second, the typical Slashdot poster's naive assumption that traffic == wholesome goodness isn't true. It doesn't work that way.

        Most newspapers, for historical reasons, have an economic model that is built on advertising by businesses that are trying to reach specific customers in a highly restricted geographic region. This is particularly true in the United States; models vary in other countries, but most have a strong regional press.

        Because of the global nature of the Internet, the vast majority of traffic brought in by search engines is of no interest to local and regional advertisers.

        "Noise" traffic actually works against the site by depressing clickthrough rates and lowering the apparent effectiveness of CPM-based advertising.

        As I said, I'm not jumping onto the Belgian publisher's bandwagon, but I'm also not jumping onto Google's. This is not so simple as that.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Google has made great hay out of its "Do No Evil" slogan, but some of its practices, such as collaborating with governments that do not recognize the fundamental human right of freedom of speech, make me wonder.

          There is no reason to wonder. Google is a corporation. Corporations, on the account of having no heart, soul or conscience, are incapable of being anything but diabolical, in the D&D sense of the word (lawful evil, the ultimate being the devils). What this means is that a corporation will do

  • Robots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:03AM (#16167601) Journal
    So using the courts they have failed to get royalties and achieved what they could have achieved with some robots.txt files.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They just want more money for providing the same service. It is just like the big telecomm companies trying to charge twice for data going over their network (the anti-net neutrality non-sense). What can "publishers" do to prevent indexing? Robot.txt files, of course. But if they somehow feel these simple files telling others not to index their content do not do enough, they can always turn off public access to their content and go to a subscription only model with terms of service prohibiting indexing.
      • by Tim C (15259)
        What can "publishers" do to prevent indexing? Robot.txt files, of course. But if they somehow feel these simple files telling others not to index their content do not do enough

        To be fair, robots.txt is only a request; search engines can ignore it (and I believe that some do).
        • They certainly can ignore robots.txt, but I don't think that any major search engine does; Google obeys both no-spider and no-cache restrictions, as does the Internet Archive.

          When you get right down to it, a court order is basically a request too, it just has some more weight behind it, if you happen to live in that court's jurisdiction.

          I think that a robots.txt file would be something like a "No Trespassing" sign; if you had one, and then you were cached or spidered and went to court, it would give you a b
          • by Pharmboy (216950)
            Last time I checked it had an optional flag to ignore it, and would further do lots of other fun things like insert random pauses between page requests

            Since your IP doesn't change, that isn't exactly hidding from detection. It IS, however, much nicer to a small server (T1 or less), rather than running curl or wget at full tilt and swamping it.

            I think your first point is the main point: A site should not be able to take action against a search engine if they are not using a robots.txt file that prohibits c
    • by cgenman (325138)
      Google maintains an opt-out policy for both its Google News and Google Print services, saying any publisher can withdraw its content simply by asking.

      So that's two routes the publishers could have taken to achieve the same thing.

      It seems like the issue is that publishers want to remain in Google, they just want to find ways to get paid for it. They're looking for a third option between "Play by google's rules" and "take our content and go home."

      On the other hand, I was under the strong impression that "ind
  • greed... (Score:3, Informative)

    by wulfbyte (722147) <wulfbyte@@@wulfbyte...net> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:04AM (#16167603)
    is the worlds most common and least forgivable form of stupidity.
  • What do you expect? *AA like to use their size to affect price and generate revenue. This is their job. If the New York Times and Washington Post jump on board, wouldn't Google look foolish for not being able to return stories which match nicely to the search request?

    Although I do find it funny that the NAA (http://www.naa.org) is made searchable through a Google Mini appliance.
    • by Alioth (221270)
      No - not at all. That sort of thing would be a huge opportunity for, say, the BBC or USA Today (or any other competitor) who doesn't keep their information from being indexed and found.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by shmlco (594907)
        And who, in all likelyhood, is running the same wire service story anyway...
  • by numbski (515011) * <(ten.revliskh) (ta) (iksbmun)> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:05AM (#16167617) Homepage Journal
    There's really not much more to say about this. Let 'em wallow in their own stupidity, and they'll come around. Sometimes, like children, you have to let someone learn the hard way, and they'll never do it again. :)

    "You'll shoot your eye out! You'll shoot your eye out!"

    Side note - anyone else lose their login cookie this morning only forced to log back in and fill out a captcha? Weirdness. Worse, I saw no option for the visually impaired to log in either. Tsk tsk tsk....guys, come on. I'm not meaning to toss flames around, but you've got to provide some sort of opt-out link for those who can't see your captcha images. :(
    • by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@NospAm.gmail.com> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:17AM (#16167711) Journal
      The absolute second a pornographer sued Google they should have ripped anything by them off their server and made sure that would never appear on a Google search again.

      Any 'content holder' that whines needs the same thing done to them with no option for reindexing without paying enough to bleed them white or better donating a large chunk of their content to the public domain.

      • You suggest that Google should deal with anyone who threatens their profits by removing them from their index, essentially a death sentence for any online business. (Google has a 54% market share [Wikipedia], probably the more web-savvy half that consume the most) This is an apalling suggestion. I very much hope they don't do anything like this - but how could we tell? Business go to any lengths to beat their competitors, I'd wager Google receive hundreds of emails offering ridiculous values of currency in
    • by westlake (615356)
      Let 'em wallow in their own stupidity, and they'll come around

      There are sites and services Google News must access to remain credible. The throw-away weekly shopping paper from Nowhere, Nebraska is not a substitute for the WSJ.

      Microsoft would like nothing better than to become the news channel, the portal, for the decision-makers in this world.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@NOSpAM.beau.org> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:05AM (#16167627)
    The premise of the submitter only holds if ALL of the search engines hang tough. If only Google tells em to go piss up a rope, they lose most of the news sources and readers start using someone else. One of the failing search sites will pay (because for them the cost will be mimimal.... at the time) and with luck become successful. Then they give all the profits to the news providers and become a .bomb and we repeat the cycle until they are all dead except Google who only derives a small income from banner ads on Google News. See online music P2pP sites become DRMed music providers and then die for a template.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paeanblack (191171)
      I think the news publishers are in a worse predicament, given that 90% of non-local articles are verbatim reprints of AP reports. Unless they are all holding firm, the search engines will see the content. Google, et. al, also has the option of subscribing to AP directly and becoming a true publisher themselves.
    • It's interesting, everyone seems to think this is a dilemma--Google needs content, no, content providers need indexing, no...

      The fact is, search engines and content providers have a very lucrative symbiosis going on right now. Google would not be worth much if it couldn't--free of charge--index content and help get people where they wanted to go. But in helping people get where they want to go, Google provides--under most circumstances free of charge--the web traffic many sites need to get the ad revenu

  • Lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:06AM (#16167633)

    So, ok, a search engine company decides it doesn't want to pay royalties and therefor doesn't index the provider's site. Now won't the provider actually lose readers since their articles won't be locatable by search anymore?

    Sounds like rounds for suing the search engine for lost revenue to me !

    "Your honor, by refusing to pay our fee the search engine is not only depriving us of our fair due, but also giving an unfair competitive advantage to our competitors. We demand that they add us to their search database and pay our very reasonable fee for accessing our pages."

    And if anyone mods me funny, well... that's one naive fellow, then.

    • I would hope that a US judge would throw that kind of stupid shite out the instant it crossed his/her desk... but given this kind of shenanigans [slashdot.org] your post deserves the "+1, sad but true" mod :S
    • by deblau (68023)

      "Your honor, by refusing to pay our fee the search engine is not only depriving us of our fair due, but also giving an unfair competitive advantage to our competitors. We demand that they add us to their search database and pay our very reasonable fee for accessing our pages."

      Google: "Your honor, is opposing counsel really suggesting that we are required to do business with them against our wishes?"

      Of course, the suit would never get that far. Here's a summary of unfair competition [cornell.edu] law.

      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        This reminds me of the deep linking silliness. It's sad, really, but at least it gives corporate lawyers and idle executives something to do.
  • Willfully stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hublan (197388) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:08AM (#16167639) Homepage
    From the article:
    "Since search engine operators rely on robotic 'spiders' to manage their automated processes, publishers' Web sites need to start speaking a language which the operators can teach their robots to understand," according to a document seen by Reuters that outlines the publishers' plans.

    "What is required is a standardized way of describing the permissions which apply to a Web site or Web page so that it can be decoded by a dumb machine without the help of an expensive lawyer."


    You mean like robots.txt?

    This sounds like willful ignorance. All the search engines mention it as the method to avoid having particular content indexed. They might not read RFCs but a quick peek at the help pages on the search engines in question would've answered this (and squashed the lawsuit) in no time.

  • I agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khallow (566160) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:09AM (#16167649)
    Instead, it'd be the content provider paying the search engine. I can't imagine a scenario where the webpage is so valuable that the economics would work this way. Further, I don't understand their concern about indexing content. It's not hard at all to block or steer search engines. It strikes me that these publishing companies are either ignorant of the value provided by external search engines and/or delusional about the value of content that isn't indexed by a popular search engine.
    • I can't imagine a scenario where the webpage is so valuable that the economics would work this way.

      Anything sufficiently popular and time-sensitive

      nyse
      nasdaq
      ebay
      craigslist
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:11AM (#16167655) Journal
    Let's just shut down the net. Damn thing has been nothing but trouble since the beginning. We probably should outlaw all communications that don't provide more income for the content "owners". That means no more printing, writing, singing, painting, talking...anything. If we don't want to give all our money to these damn people, we should shut the hell up, right?

    And put in your earplugs
    put on your eyeshades
    you know where to put the cork...

    Oops, there goes another violation.
  • by mdfst13 (664665) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:12AM (#16167669)
    "What is required is a standardized way of describing the permissions which apply to a Web site or Web page so that it can be decoded by a dumb machine without the help of an expensive lawyer."

    They already have this. It's called the robot.txt file. You can use it to tell search bots not to index you. This just seems to be a richer permissions model, that includes things like caching and excerpting options.

    In the longer term, I agree that this hurts content providers more than Google. Overall, it makes the search index less useful. However, it makes the content unfindable. Content that uses this will simply be replaced by content that does not.

    Why would Google pay to provide better search results for content? It would make more sense for them to pay for the content direct so that they could have an exclusive. Or for content to pay to appear in the search results, like with Yahoo.
  • This is just the latest in an attempt to survive for the traditional newspapaper. Back when the web first started remember how many newpapers refused to be online at all or required registration hurdles to prevent "linking", after enough bad PR and dropping subscription levels, most reluctantly accepted the web and started to regain credability. I have a newspaper salesperson that comes to my door at least once a month, the last time he was here we argued about the value of the newspaper, he mentioned cla
  • We have nothing but high hopes that this will increase our perceived value to our readers and boost our crediblity in teh news market, as well as continue the return the same value to our investors as our recent Times $elect service.

    - The Managing Staff Of The New York Titantic ^H^H^H^H^H^H mes

  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:24AM (#16167779)

    There will always be smaller news outlets who want to get additional daily viewers. They want Google to direct people to their site. If the large news organizations want to opt out, there will always be someone to take their place.

    When you look at Google news, you see a brief summary of the news article and then when you click on it, you are directed to that website. The website will earn revenue from their advertising. If they have an attractive and useful website, people may go to their site directly. New unique users. Often I find that after I've read an article I found through a search, I will go to the homepage of the site (through the hacking known as modifiying the URL) and look at their other articles. Most websites would pay Google to have links to them, now some sites want to Google to pay them? Google will just ignore them and their competitors will prosper.

    Doesn't slashdot do something similar. Someone reads something interesting on the web and suddenly there's a link to it. I'm sure if some sites wanted to charge a fee to slashdot, they would promptly be ignored.

    The idea that comes to mind is revenue stream. Someone working for the news organizations came up with the thought "Google has lots of money, let's take it" and so it began.

    • by westlake (615356)
      There will always be smaller news outlets who want to get additional daily viewers. They want Google to direct people to their site. If the large news organizations want to opt out, there will always be someone to take their place.

      Do you have the faintest idea of what the cost of entry is here?

      Most cities count themselves lucky to have a single marginally competent daily newspaper. One TV station that rises above the "Eyewitness News" level. Where I live there is one regional upstate paper that is worth

      • I admit that I was thinking on an international and national scale. But let's say a city with two papers that also have websites. One has a circulation of 70% and the other has a circulation of 30%. If the paper with a circulation of 70% demands royalties, it will be ignored and search results will bring up the website of the less popular paper. Even if it's of lower quality. If every news outlet of a region demands royalties, that region will be ignored. You will just need to bookmark the websites of
        • by westlake (615356)
          Even if it's of lower quality. If every news outlet of a region demands royalties, that region will be ignored.

          A Canadian search engine that ignored the Globe and Mail, McClean's and the CBC would be next to useless. Searchers will simply move on the alternative search engine. If you index financial news, you won't be taken seriously unless you include the WSJ

        • by arminw (717974)
          ....The only way around this, is for the news outlets to lobby for mandatory compensation within the law.....

          What makes newspapers any different than other businesses? Why not pass a law that forces all phone companies to publish all businesses that have a phone in their yellow pages and pay each business for being listed? What makes a search engine different from the yellow pages? Are they not anything more than a world wide electronic yellow pages?
  • Fair enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:32AM (#16167853) Homepage Journal
    This would work fine - *if every content provider did it*. (when I say work fine I mean how the content providers would like it to work.

    i.e. Lets say The Guardian the Independent charged a royalty for indexing certain articles. and the Times didn't then when a person searches for something that would under normal circumstances return all 3 content providers articles (say you are searching on current news - or better an archived new story - say the search is for "Falklands War Newspaper Headlines" or something. Instead of getting all three papers returning a result you would get just the one from the times.

    Now assuming not everyone knows that certain papers charge search engines for permission to index their content, it will simply look like the Guardian and the Independent didn't report the Falklands War - or whatever you searched for.

    Repeatedly this may even turn customers against their traditional sales, especially with more and more people using multiple online papers and buying a paper copy. I mean if you start reading the Times on-line everyday as it is the only remaining fully indexed paper, are you more or less likely to buy it when you decide to get a real copy? I guess it would do wonders for international brand recognition too - I mean if you are not indexed for common searches who is going to know who you are enough to trust you for the occasional bit where you have allowed yourself to be indexed.

    Really this is all about the fact that search engines generate advertising revenue for themselves using others content, content providers are now looking and saying -

    "hey Google makes X million dollars by directing people to my site and advertising for my competitors, it indexes my content (goggle images / news etc..) so people aren't coming directly to me, maybe If i threaten the source of their content they will pay me and I can finally make some money from this inter web thing without having to actually charge people ourselves!"

    I guess this is an attempt to get at the revenue they assumed that they would get from selling content to their visitors directly through online subscriptions which didn't work. (unless you were a specialist or exclusive provider - such as companies providing financial information / stock prices / adult material etc..). It didn't work because others didn't charge, why pay for access to ITV news or CNN online (if they charged) when the BBC or some other organisation offered the same stories (with a different editorial slant..) for free?

    What they should be saying is how can I get a search engine to get as many people to my site as possible where I can then try and sell whatever services or exclusive content I want! after all the more page hits the more (theoretically at least) conversions.

    Anyway - let them try and charge a royalty - or enforce their rights regarding copyright and prevent thee search engines from making money by including their content in their search engines, it will only harm them.

    The internet really is a level playing field, anyone with a good site can get listed on a search engine and get hits - hopefully achieving whatever it is they are trying to do, why do some people want to change it so that it benefits them more? all that will happen is that it will break the way the internet works, or is perceived and damage their own web activities. Plus some content providers simply will never do this (probably at least) the BBC in the UK certainly would find it difficult, so too will other public service information providers (I assume) too so I guess there will always be at least one or two news site out there.

    I know I have focused on newspapers here (and that does appear to be the gist FTA) but providers of other content such as music, video, software etc. are in the same position. Problem is the internet using public like getting stuf for free, and probably wont pay for something if they cant have access to it for free for at least a while first.

    Ah well, (By the way I'm absolutely
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      Esoteric knowledge like robots.txt is not common within the population at large, so the goal is to raise "awareness" within your clearly-defined "understanding" of the issues. If you define, spark and control the discussion you can direct it any way you wish it to go. That's Manipulation 101 level.

      During a basic primer on HTML (and HTML is not *that* complicated at all) most people will go glassy-eyed and believe whatever the majority of "experts" say.
      • by Ajehals (947354)
        Agree completley - but the only people they are trying to convince of this are other content providers and then only ones that are sufficiently large to have any leverage - these are mostly media companies / companies with a large interweb presence and access to many large tubes who employ many tubeologists and imagineers, and therefore really *should* know better.
        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          I am saddened by this new "tubes" analogy. If it was still termed 'piping' I might have made a lot of money by leasing my domain names. Oh, well, back to the drafting board for me. Cheers.
  • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:38AM (#16167887)
    First, we must remember that not all web sites are found through Google. When was the last time you did a search for Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com? Sure, it's nice to be listed but hardly deadly if they weren't - they already have the name recognition.

    Now, there is a legitimate downside to being listed on Google News - all of your competitor news sources are also listed - right next to you. If the New York Times runs a piece from the Associated Press, I can see that the Des Moines Register runs the same story, why go to the big name source? The NYT has spent decades and millions of dollars building their reputation and get listed next to other, less-known papers. It serves to dillute their name and reputation.

    For those of you convinced that you can get plenty of news from other places and that these print publications can adjust to new business models or die, are you crazy?!? One nice thing about having a huge newspaper is that they generally try to verify their stories, or at least avoid making things up. (I said generally...) When your paper owns buildings and huge printing presses and is sold at every newsstand your reputation means something. If you are a few people working out of a basement, then who cares? As long as you got people reading, you are happy. I like the idea of responsible journalism. It may be less than it was, but if I see it in the NYT I am inclinded to believe it. If it is in some tabloid, I am inclined to not believe it. In a strictly Internet world, how do you tell the difference?

    I hope that a good arrangement is made between the press and the search engines, but I don't think the survival of the press is based on them being indexed by Google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by topham (32406)

      I use Google News a lot. It makes it very easy to find a news article I would not find otherwise; I get annoyed when Google News shows a site which, when i click on the Article doesn't let me view it because I need to be registered. My solution? Follow the next link as it will likely not have the registration requirement.

      News sites are going to have to understand something, except for those sites I choose to go to on a daily basis the rest are secondary. I won't go to them unless there is a story of interes
    • by Dorceon (928997)
      Not everyone is a Slashdot-level techie. I've heard of people for whom the Google search box has completely replaced the address bar. It's easier to avoid cybersquatters that way too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saikou (211301)
      I don't see how "verifying story" is applicable to, say, AP or Reuters newsfeeds. Those are pretty much blasted equally by small, medium and large newspapers as is (even though they need verification and oh boy, if you ever saw how they castrate content to make 10-sentence detail-less snippet out of interesting 10 paragraph story...). And for those news it does not really matter where you go, you read identical content (hence 50+ articles that start with exactly the same words). For those, the newspaper tha
    • One nice thing about having a huge newspaper is that they generally try to verify their stories, or at least avoid making things up.

      Clearly, you aren't familiar with the history of the New York Times.
    • by arminw (717974)
      ....When was the last time you did a search for Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com?.....

      Not a direct search of course, but I have searched for stuff I wanted to buy and their site was among the top to show that I could get it form them, among others. There are also sites for shopping comparisons which help users find things.
    • by Chops (168851)

      For those of you convinced that you can get plenty of news from other places and that these print publications can adjust to new business models or die, are you crazy?!? One nice thing about having a huge newspaper is that they generally try to verify their stories, or at least avoid making things up. (I said generally...) When your paper owns buildings and huge printing presses and is sold at every newsstand your reputation means something. If you are a few people working out of a basement, then who cares

    • by Dirtside (91468)
      The NYT has spent decades and millions of dollars building their reputation and get listed next to other, less-known papers. It serves to dillute their name and reputation.

      No more than having the NYT sitting next to the Des Moines Register at a newsstand.
  • There have been a dozen stories and lawsuits over this crap already. Why the hell hasn't robots.txt come out in court yet? I have a hard time believing the lawyers defending against this are so incompetent that thery wouldn't someone with a clue on the stand to explain that the system is already there and the people aren't using it. In fact a smart lawyer would counter sue because the system IS already there and they failed to use it and instead wasted the courts time. Imagine (diddly do diddly do slashd
    • by Chapter80 (926879)
      Imagine (diddly do diddly do slashdot analogy time)...
      It took me a minute to figure out what the heck you meant by the above line. But then, after a chuckle, I read the rest of your message, awaiting the "Scooby-doo ending" where the mask gets pulled off, and *surprise*, it's the RIAA underneath, saying that they would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling slashdotters...
  • Aren't websites not sing the robots exclusion essentially in the public domain?

    It would be totally unlike a music CD where it's not free to download, hence a site couldn't necessarily crawl and put it up there for everyone to see.

    Since the website was free for anyone to see in the first place, no harm done. Unless the site requires a subscription and if Noogling that bypasses it, there really isn't anything that can be done I think.
  • Wether this is stupid to do or not should be entirely up to the copyright holder.

    I should not tell NOT to index my side, I should tell to DO index my site.
    Not opt-out, opt-in, just like anything else, if possible.

    In every other business opt-in is desired by all here, except when it concernes Google, because then it it handy for us.

    Nice double standard. :-(
    Go on, moderate me into oblovion, I have Karma to burn.

    • by arminw (717974)
      ...Wether this is stupid to do or not should be entirely up to the copyright holder......

      COPYright is not the same as INDEX right. A library may not COPY a book, but they may index it in their catalog so a user may find that book in the stacks. A librarian does not have to ask the publisher for permission to put the book's vital locating info into a catalog. Google does NOT copy a site, but only indexes it just the same as a library would a book so a user can find the site. Why should *any* site be able to
      • by houghi (78078)
        How is what Google is doing with web sites and different than what a librarian does with books?


        Google Cache. As if the library is handing out copies.
  • Payola (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:10PM (#16168517)
    Well the radio stations paid "payola" to play music didn't they?...

    on second thoughts...

    Perhaps the record companies and musicians union might ask the RIAA to "cease and desist"?

    SOmeone has lost the plot here. Must be me!

  • Why stop there? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zaphod2016 (971897) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:17PM (#16168577) Homepage
    Ok, fine, content owners are entitled to royalties from Google.

    And when writing a story about me, or my company, I deserve royalties too. Sure, you might argue that publicity is valuable, but I say that without ME and my circumstances, these content owners would have nothing to write about.

    And, obviously, my dear old mum deserves royalties too. After all, without her genetic contributions, I couldn't exist, couldn't do anything news worthy, couldn't be the basis of a content owner's story.

    And lets not forget about Grandma. And great-grandma.

    And of course, I am writing this comment on a MacBook, so its only fair that Apple gets a piece of any slashdot ad revenues generated by people reading this.

    And, obviously, those interested in clicking on the slashdot ads are using Amazon's patented "click" technology, so they deserve a cut too.

    ...as does Jeff Bezos' mum and grandma.
  • by tflash (605545) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:22PM (#16168619)
    An organisation representing French and German speaking newspapers in Belgium has won a court order forcing Google to stop indexing these journals. They also forced Google to post the order on its homepage in belgium: http://www.google.be/ [google.be] Here the address of these enlightened people: http://www.presscopyrights.be/ [presscopyrights.be] Lucky I speak Flemish and NEVER read these newspapers anyway. Nothing is lost, I assure you. Only a bunch of isolated people will get even more isolated since any news of them will totally fall into oblivion.
  • This is one of those ideas that sounds good in the board room and eventually reaches daylight because no one has the nads to stand up and say it's a really dumb idea that will ultimately be counter-productive. I run into the management group-think attitude all the time. And the dummer it is, the more likely there's some hard-headed, gung-ho upper-level manager determined to ram it through. As if being tough, determined and dogmatic magically transforms it into a better idea.

    Almost as dumb as charging c

  • this is beautiful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tehwebguy (860335) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:52PM (#16168859) Homepage
    anyone who charges "royalties" to places like google news will learn how it really works very quickly.

    here's the formula i worked out for the way it works right now:
    (site advertisment click probability * click price * readers) + (subscription signup probability * subscription price * readers) = revenue

    this is how it will work if they charge royalties:
    (royalties per click * 0 + (site advertisment click probability * click price * 0 + (subscription signup probability * subscription price * 0) = revenue = 0
  • Big $$$ online providers desperately want to create the monopolies they enjoy in city-wide newspapers, radio, tv advertising. Ultimately it comes down to this: Who gets the ad revenue? If the "yercity gazette" knows that ONLY its site will have the ability to present its own table of contents, guess where people in yercity have to go to see what's happening in town this weekend? Even bringing up the main page of the website will generate revenue, where a google listing doesn't (at least, not for the gaze
  • the only way i could see the publisher's plan to work is if they get all (or at least all significant) content providers on to their program; essentially creating a content shortage for the search engines and increasing its value. then they can play the different search engine companies against each other.

    but if a few content providers 'cheat' - that is, make private side deals with one or more search engines, then the royalty system will very likley break down.

    one way search engines could break the content

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