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Google to Sell Old News Articles 153

Krishna Dagli was one of a few people to note that Google is planning on selling old news. Or more accurately, scanning in 200 years of old newspapers, and selling people the ability to view the full text. They'll be using publications like the NYT and Time magazine. Summaries will be free, but the full article text will have a price.
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Google to Sell Old News Articles

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  • by abscissa ( 136568 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:26AM (#16051200)
    Don't worry about paying for old news on Slashdot, it gets reposted every two weeks!!
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:29AM (#16051216) Homepage
    I can't wait for this to get duped. Hopefully it'll take a few days so I can think up some good gags...
    • yeah, but then you'll have to pay to read this article.

      information wants to be had for a price, you know.
  • Me (Score:5, Funny)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:29AM (#16051217) Journal
    As for me, that's what I go to the dentist for. Apparently Richard Nixon has resigned! And Car and Driver has pictures of the new Gremlin!
  • does anyone else feel that their charging for what was planned as a free (ad-supported) service (i.e. google library) is just a ploy to get users for checkout?

    i have a hunch that that's the case -- it can't be significantly more expensive to ocr newspapers than their library project is.

    or is the charge because they are doing some kind of revenue sharing with the original publication? though that doesn't make sense either.
    • by theckhd ( 953212 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:39AM (#16051269)
      The charge is from the original publisher. FTFA:
      What's more, publishers don't have to share the wealth with Google. The search-engine company will receive no payment from publishers' content fees, advertising, or supplying traffic. .... The results initially will be served without Google's customary sponsored links on the right side of the page, and at the outset, Google won't make money directly from the service.
      Though the article did quote a Google engineer saying that they may add adwords later on.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by orasio ( 188021 )
        200 years old?
        That would be paying for the service, because the content should no longer be protected by copyright.
        You could buy some of that material, and then share it legally with something like eMule, or at least bittorrent. Nice!
        • by neoform ( 551705 )
          Yes, but if you were to follow the RIAA's rules, since this is being redistributed in a new format (digital), it's now a new work that requires new licensing and thereby needs to be purchased since it's no longer the original work and now has renewed copyright!

          example, i buy a beethoven cd, can i then copy and pass it around? not according to them..
          • Bad example... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by blorg ( 726186 )
            example, i buy a beethoven cd, can i then copy and pass it around? not according to them.. there is copyright in sound _recordings_ seperate from the copyright in the music as composed by the composer - although, amazingly, only since 1972 in the United States.

            A better example would be sheet music, where there is indeed a concerted effort by publishers to keep works by long-dead composers in copyright by creating new editions [] and in some cases refusing to sell but only renting the music.
            • Just for that, I think I'm going to go to the local university library and scan in some of their out-of-copyright sheet music, on general principle. I wonder if there's some place to send page images to, since my lilypond skills are laughable.
          • by jackbird ( 721605 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @09:54AM (#16051742)
            i buy a beethoven cd, can i then copy and pass it around? not according to them.

            That's because there's an existing valid copyright on that recording of that orchestra's performance of the piece. If you rip an out-of-copyright 78 or wax cylinder recording, or record your own performance on kazoo, you can share to your heart's content.

    • but of course, they want to check new business models that checkout has made possible!

      anyhow - great initiative!
      • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
        They aren't charging for anything. On Slashdot, it is always a good idea to ignore the summary and read the article yourself. The idiot submitter obviously didn't actually read the article before submitting it to Slashdot.
    • I think the article may be wrong. Much of the stuff I found was free to read and included the full article. I guess it depends on the new agency, but just this morning I was reading about 1975 Angola where the US and Soviets were backing two different sides in a civil war that was threatening to turn into another Vietnam.
      /OT Hey, neat! Firefox 2 has a spell checker. No more mispelled psots for me!
    • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
      Ummm, this is part of Google News, not Library. Try reading the article before commenting. Oh, and the idiot submitter screwed it up, Google isn't charging for anything. They are providing links to sites that do charge for this content. K, thx, bye
  • I, for one, would prefer being able to browse the full database
    and having google ads instead of having to pay.

    IMHO, if google's 'mission' is to make all the world's information available,
    then that would be the best way to go!
    • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
      Google's not charging for anything. Read the article, ignore the summary.
  • This is a bad idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maynard ( 3337 )
    I don't see how google can make money doing this when competitors like Projecdt Gutenberg (groups releasing free text of material in the public domain) do the same for free. I think google would better position itself by giving free access to limit incentive for free competitors to do the same, and then make their money by selling advertising.
    • Maybe they can provide better search services to justify their fees.
    • "I don't see how google can make money doing this when competitors like Projecdt Gutenberg (groups releasing free text of material in the public domain) do the same for free."
      Google is merely leading customers to the content providers; not providing or selling the content. And yes, LexisNexis, NewsBank, and Ebsco all make money selling historical archives.
    • by reldruH ( 956292 )
      While there are other sites doing the same thing for free, Google is turning into an easy to use, all in one solution for information. Do I really want to create another account or do I want to pay Google a pittance and have it be much more convienent? I'm technically able but if I had need of a service like this I wouldn't dismiss the Google one out of hand. If the price was right and the terms were good I'd be willing to pay to have it work with my existing accounts. Plus, a lot of people don't know about
      • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
        You'll have to wait quite a while.....considering GOOGLE ISN'T CHARGING FOR ANYTHING RTFA!!!!
  • by ribuck ( 943217 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:33AM (#16051238) Homepage
    TFA is old news. The service is already launched here: []

    Web Owls (a group blog by some Google Answers researchers) has a piece about it: e-search/ []
    • I dont think that is the service mentioned in the article, since
      it only provides search-like capabilities. A quick summary and a (free) link to a news site.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ribuck ( 943217 )
        Sure it's the same service.

        TFA makes it clear that the news site is the one charging for the old articles, and that the news site does not share the revenue with Google. Google just provides the search (and they organise it very nicely into a timeline too).
      • by rm69990 ( 885744 )
        Exactly the same as the article in the summary, which the submitter seemed content to mangle and change before submitting it to slashdot.
    • by BrynM ( 217883 ) *

      TFA is old news. The service is already launched here...

      If you look at the link you posted and the timestamp at the bottom of the text you linked to you'll see it was posted...

      This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2006 at 11:46 am by eiffel and is filed under Research Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

      If news posted today (in the "future" for us US-west-coast folk

      • If news posted today (in the "future" for us US-west-coast folks) is old news to you, then you are definitely in the wrong place.

        The poster stated that the ARTICLE was "old news," not the Slashdot post.

        If the Google service started last month and the story is posted this week, it is old news. If the service is started at 8am and the story is posted one hour later, then it is not old news. It all depends on the time between the launch of the service and the posting.

        • by BrynM ( 217883 ) *

          The poster stated that the ARTICLE was "old news," not the Slashdot post.

          TFA was dated today. News of it hit the all of the news agencies this morning. The oldest article I could find about it was on September 4 after a news search []. Google hasn't even announced it yet on their Press Center [] yet. I'd say that's pretty fresh still.

          • September 4th? Thats 2 days ago. That's definitely old news. We're on Internet 2.0 time! Get with the program (Program 2.0, that is :-)

            • by rifter ( 147452 )

              September 4th? Thats 2 days ago. That's definitely old news. We're on Internet 2.0 time! Get with the program (Program 2.0, that is :-)

              The Internet is going down the tubes. Where's my truck?!

    • of course it says right in the summary that this is old news, so your statement that this is old old news
    • I searched and searched for the TFA in Google News Archive, but the only copy I found says it was published today. Maybe being published today isn't old news enough to get into the archive. Maybe you mean its a dupe, so I checked that too. Sure enough, it's from 1879: &hl=en&sa=N&sugg=d&as_hdate=1879 []

      Turned up this summary:

      "The streets were thronged to an unusual extent, and every point where news was obtainable was besieged. Contrary to ge
      • by NaDrew ( 561847 )
        "The streets were thronged to an unusual extent, and every point where news was obtainable was besieged. Contrary to general expectation there were no bulletins displayed at the telegraph offices, and the disappointed crowds which had gathered at those points soon dispersed."
        If that isn't the perfect Victorian-era description of the Slashdot effect, I don't know what is.
  • by joe 155 ( 937621 )
    This at first sounded like a good idea, but who would really use it? They mention in the article that you could probably find the information online for free anyway. But I think more importantly is the fact that if you really need primary sources from these periods (I will when I go back to uni in october for one of my courses) you would almost certainly have access to them already, through your institutions archives etc... still, I suppose it's good for people who are at a uni without such an expansive arc
    • by BrynM ( 217883 ) *

      This at first sounded like a good idea, but who would really use it?

      Just last night I was thinking that it would be great to see how different news outlets of the time viewed certain items while watching the History Detectives (yes, I'm that geeky). An interesting example that almost distracted me from this reply is oring=t&sa=N&sugg=d&as_hdate=1939&lnav=dt [] - A timeline of Superman in the news from a Time magazine article about the com

    • by Shag ( 3737 )
      I maintain some "clippings" of instances where I've been quoted or cited in the press. (Others who aren't famous enough to be "household names," but do get quoted every year or so, may do something similar.) So of course, I plugged in my name, and voila! the news archive search knew about an article from 2000 that I totally didn't remember.

      I haven't yet bought the full text, but I probably will (have done this in the past when I lost or never got a paper copy of a clipping) just to see whether it was simp
  • The library has old newspapers for free.

    You can order old newspapers from the Library of Congress FOR FREE. ry_of_congress_to_digitize_old_newspapers.php []

    Although I can't for the life of me work out HOW to get them from the LOC, it's probably hidden deep on their website. If you call 'em up though..
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tddoog ( 900095 )
      In my experience with the LOC, nothing is free. 20 cents for a copy. $100/hr for a transfer of video. Cannot actually check out books. Unless you work for a congressman then you get better access. While it is a comprehensive resource, everything is a pain in the ass.
      • by NekoXP ( 67564 )
        Well, if you walk in and don't TAKE anything, it's free.

        I'm sure it's cheaper at 20 cents per copy than Google's friends are charging..
        • by Intron ( 870560 )
          Washington Post - $3.95
          San Francisco Chronicle - free
          Rocky Mountain News - $2.95
          Time - free
          Atlanta Journal - $5.95
          Chicago Tribune - some weird-ass phish trying to get my library card
      • In my experience with the LOC, nothing is free. 20 cents for a copy. $100/hr for a transfer of video. Cannot actually check out books. Unless you work for a congressman then you get better access.

        I cannot imagine why the Library of Congress would offer better access to Congressmen than others.

        I've gotten dozens of books over the years that were most easily located in the Library of Congress. Ask your librarian how.
    • But we live in a "Gotta Have it Now" world. There are people that will pay for the convenience of 24-hour access to these old papers, especially if it means they can avoid that blinding light from the sun.
    • by Shag ( 3737 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @09:41AM (#16051643)
      I've worked in libraries. I've even worked specifically in the periodicals / microstorage area.

      Yes, libraries have the New York Times and whatever else, back a hundred or so years, on microfilm or microfiche. This is all well and good. However, the available indices may not offer full-text searches, and even if they do, they're limited to certain publications or sets of publications. Additionally, microfiche's random access capability isn't all that great, and microfilm's is nonexistent.

      If Google links data from a bunch of other indices, so that I can do one search, get a bunch of different results, and then decide whether to go to the library and print copies from microstorage for a small cost per page, or simply buy an electronic "reprint" and save it as a PDF, that's better than what I had before.
  • Backuping the World!

    Ok, so they started with 200 years old newspapers. How long till they start with 400 - or 4000 years old texts?

  • by Znork ( 31774 )
    The articles may have a price for the first user, but as copyright has lapsed on them since long, either google or wikipedia or someone else can easily create a 'republish' plugin automatically posting such content to a collaborative site.
    • Re-copyrighted (Score:5, Informative)

      by tiltowait ( 306189 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:57AM (#16051353) Homepage Journal
      As I understand it, when a full text content provider republishes copyright-free works, they copyright their newly bundled publication. So I can't, say, go in to ProQuest Historical Newspapers [] and download everything and host it providing free access. Further reproduction is prohibited. (But how you can prove you took *their* republished text is another issue I suppose.)

      It's why a search for "Alice in Wonderland" in Google Books gets you only a few pages, while Project Gutenberg delivers the whole text. The books in Google (for the copyright-free text) are for copyrighted books (or presentations, rather).

      A lot of organizations have made money off of reproducing copyright-free materials. You can reprint government documents (US federal ones are usually copyright-free) and re-sell them, for example. The publisher of the 9-11 report (available freely online, not that it was widely advertised as such) got a real "royalty-free windfall" from the bestseller.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Infonaut ( 96956 )

        As I understand it, when a full text content provider republishes copyright-free works, they copyright their newly bundled publication.

        The new publisher has copyright on their republishing of the original copyrighted material, but the copyright is "thin." It only applies to the specific manner in which the new publication presents the original material (colors, layout, etc.) The underlying content is still in the public domain. Think of all of the versions of Shakespeare's King Lear. They all contain the

      • Copyright does not cover simple republishing. See Feist v. Rural [] and Bridgeman v. Corel [].

        As I understand it, when a full text content provider republishes copyright-free works, they copyright their newly bundled publication. So I can't, say, go in to ProQuest Historical Newspapers and download everything and host it providing free access. Further reproduction is prohibited. (But how you can prove you took *their* republished text is another issue I suppose.)

        If you agree to some license to access the info

  • ...I wait for Slashdot to report the news again! *ducks*

    In all seriousness, it's always a good idea to have this information all in one place so you don't have to look for a million results. One thing I liked about my university's library is that they had a portal where you could search all their article databases from one point: You'd get back Lexis-Nexis [] results, web searches, etc. If Google can do this and tie together trade and scientific journals (say, the APA [] and thousands of others), then we'll be on
    • by griffjon ( 14945 )
      Definitely! One thing that is endlessly frustrating about the e-journal phenomenon is that instead of your library being your one-stop-shop for all journals (and they could inter-library-loan it or similar if it wasn't available), now you have all these different online portals which carry different collections in some of the most horrendous user interfaces I've ever come across. I'd love for Google to tackle this, and even better, to go through the pain of OCR'ing them...
  • ...then what I want to know is who's going to go back and summarize 200 years worth of newspaper articles?
  • ...Well...

    "We are already ahead in this will not help Google that much...!"

    "This is not an end in itself, it's a process..."

    "We continue to innovate for our customers..."

    "This is not what our customers need..."

    Folks, that is Microsoft. MEanwhile, I wish Google all the success.
    • by BrynM ( 217883 ) *
      This will be Microsoft's reaction...
      They will just claim it's "their house" [] and Google is just pulling a Little Red Riding Hood and eating their food.
  • The duration of U.S. copyright for works created before 1978 is a complex matter; however, works published before 1923 are all in the public domain. []

    From 1978, 70 years after author's death, I guess lots of things from 1923-1978 era still are copyrighted.

    News from 1723 to 1923, then ?

    NYT founded in 1851, TIME in 1923, erm I see a problem arising with that last one...
  • Mo Money Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:46AM (#16051298) Homepage Journal
    While others note that in some cases the information Google seeks to sell may be available somewhere on the net for free, time searching for it is not free. Serious researchers or people who are just plain impatient, will gladly pay for the convenience of one stop shopping from a source they trust. As for the newspapers, a number of them already have paid archive access services, but any arrangement with Google is likely to net them more business and more money without too much more effort.
  • by Klaidas ( 981300 )
    This is more like a cool feature, not a very useful one.
    I mean, sure, I'd be very happy to browse newspappers aged 1800 on the internet, that's really cool. But if anyone needs some information THAT old, isn't it going to browse archives (real, not the Internet)?
    • Um, why? Yes, most people who really need decades old newspaper articles are doing serious research, and would be willing to go to a physical archive. OTOH, they'd probably be happier to be able to do research from their desk, just like serious users of scientific journals, who would use a library or their own dead-tree copies of the journals if they had to, often prefer to use online access where its available.

      Serious researchers do, like other people, appreciate convenience like the ability to search text
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google need to learn that where the real money is....

    is scanning old issues of playboy and charging to view them. lets face it, there is a huge market
  • You go to Google and you get all the publications in one place. Overall, I find myself buying archived articles that when I first read them, I didn't see much value. Years later, it will have some tidbit that is now essential and I will pony up the money because all copies of the article have been archived and deleted or have gone stale.
  • Google Cache (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rogabean ( 741411 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:56AM (#16051348)
    But, as what happens to other sites that have a "paid version" of an article, will Google still cache the full version?

    I do google searches all the time that result in my ending up on a site that wants to charge me to read the article. I hit the back button and click on Google's cached copy and read the whole thing just fine without paying a dime.

    That would make my day just a little brighter if Google ends up caching their own paid content.

  • That's old news...
  • if the first articles scanned and posted were related to the creation of the Internet.
  • by MoNickels ( 1700 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @09:00AM (#16051371) Homepage
    Google is not scanning anything. It is merely providing a deep-web metasearch for pre-existing databases such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Guardian Unlimited, Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, HighBeam Research and Thomson Gale. These are, for the most part, pay services that until now had to be searched separately. For people like me (a lexicographer) this is great news because it will shave many minutes off of each work day. Now, if they'd also make them affordable to independent scholars...
    • I was going to say that this may be some sort of lawsuit waiting to happen if Google is starts taking money away from the NYT, etc. Seeing how papers are losing circulation to the Internet.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or you can go to your local public library and get access to all these databases for FREE.
      (worst case scenario: you get your friend who lives in New York City to lend you their NYPL card number to access the db's which has a wide range)
      I live in the Bay Area and have six public library cards. I still have at Oakland PL, Santa Clara county PL, and Alameda County PL cards I need to get.
      Among the six, I've got access to significant amount of database subscriptions.
      Google, doing what libraries have already bee
  • Penn State's [] new archive goes back to 1887. I read one of the issues and among other things there is an editorial on why Penn State needs a telegraph line and another decrying the current state of science education.

    The more things change....
    • by peter303 ( 12292 )
      But who wants to do this one-by-one when google will aggregate the world's data? Once you find something in google you might compare google's price ($3) with alternatives.
  • The AP could have beaten them to this, offering a service that charges $10 a month for basic access, then they could add an arrangement where a blogger could pay them $0.50-$1.00 for a full license to use a particular article on their blog. Once again, institutional arrogance has gotten the better of them.
  • Google to Sell Old News Article
    ...Just the one, then?
  • Well, since I don't have a f*ing credit card, I'm locked out of that service.
    I could use it if it was ad-supported, though, but I use adblock. That would not support them.
    Most of those texts are public domain anyway... but someone has to host and publish them ...

    Oh. Since I'm just thinking about it.
    The copyright laws should be modified so that a press article is public domain after, let's say, 2 months for monthly magazines, 2 weeks for weekly, 2 days for daily, etc. counting from first publication date. A
  • A lot of the source material is gone, [] gone [], gone [].
  • Google is not charging anything for this service, I wish you peeps would get the facts right before posting this crap. The pay part comes in when the articles come from a site requiring payment, such as the NYT articles. Google may plan advertisements but the use of the search and the freely availible articles are still free.
  • The Making of America project (at Cornell and the University of Michigan) has literally thousands of old newspapers and magazines dating back to the early 19th century. The whole project is infinitely searchable (albeit with a clumsy interface) and it's free.
    Links: [] [Michigan], [] [Cornell].

    From what I read from the article, you'd get exactly the same content from these two sites, with a hell of a lot of additional content that Google
  • One of the first things I do is look myself up. I have a fairly rare name. As far as I can two other people inthe world share it, plus only a couple hundred share the share the surname.

    Most of the material I saw was legal notices such as marriages, deaths and court judgements.
  • Google is starting to infringe on a couple of companies that already do this kind of thing but they charge for the service. This is exactly what companies like Lexis-Nexis, [] and ProQuest, [] do as their significant business model. Add to the "search all the old news" the ability to email you a daily report of keyword searches anywhere in your choice of selectable data sources and you have put them out of business. The significant difference is ProQuest built
  • I suppose I should not be surprised, having seen the quality of old archived newspapers, but (being google) I did not expect a total failure of the OCRs of much of the older materials. For instance, try to decipher this summary from an article in The Times of September 30, 1815 []

    J i- n N to tr 1C K be m nl he fed tat i irV ft- I ibt- iaot in- i I Us. a firm dependence but upon them, otherwise to fncoa- tisrrt. and never upon our eternally dividtd. dhcoruar.l, dominion; the UBpbTence OF Germany would be demo

  • Something like lexis/nexis is fine but has anybody put online the microfiche of old newspapers that are usually available free in libraries? It would seem to be eminently useful, perhaps not to a certain number of budgeted scholars but that's what people used. I want Google to make money but I also am severely frustrated when an abstracts database (usually science news, IIRC acm, etc.) wants me to pay money for the article. I propose to google that they make different levels of access at different rates so
  • Old stories (WWII times) are mostly from NewspaperArchive which gives you text of this quality:
    They hope and pr.iy even though knowing how nearly irreconcilable the Palestinians nrc. knowing it will take a miiarlc if they do not pass from under the ...
    No matter if they will give you a scan or a parsed text for your bucks, the search cannot be very accurate with this type of parsed quality.
  • With 200 year old articles, certainly the copyright has ended on these. Is there anything stopping people from mirroring Google's paid content for free?
  • Let's say I bought access to a pre-1900 article, which is in the public domain. Could I then legally repost that for free? The Washington Post says "Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.", but are they lying?
  • Depending on how much it costs for a hobbyist and history buff like me I'd use it. I already use the archive at theTime Magazine [] site since I am a print subscriber. It's loads of geeky fun going back and reading articles from 1923 to the present. It's fascinating to read articles about Hitler, Ghandi or the first IBM PC in context as they happened. I for one am hoping it is reasonably priced as I would definitely take advantage of it.
  • Jesus.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm69990 ( 885744 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @06:33PM (#16055870)
    Why is no one able to get article summaries right anymore? Slashdot should pay people to fix everyone's mistakes.

    Google has no intention of selling anything. The bloody article itself says so. They are going to provide links where you can buy it from the original publisher, many of which sell old news articles. They're not even going to make any money from the service right now. I just tried a few searches, and on every single one, it sends me to the original publishers' site, where I can purchase access to the article.

    This site is going downhill.... More and more illiterates seem to be coming here everyday.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel