Laurie Kaye reports on a new development in an ongoing saga and asks ‘When is a search engine not a search engine?’ Apparently, the answer is ‘when it’s a publisher’.
Google has received a nasty shock in its attempt to change the copyright principle of ‘opt in’ to ‘opt out’. Earlier this month, a Belgian court ordered Google to remove from its Google News service and from Google’s cache servers articles and photographs extracted from the daily French and German-speaking press published in
Amazingly, Google decided not to make a Court appearance so the injunction was granted without Google being represented. In the face of a fine of €1 million a day, Google has withdrawn the offending material. However, the judge also ordered Google to publish its judgment on the Google News home page. Google has not done this and has also lodged an appeal against the judgment.
Search engine v information portal
The judgment was delivered on
· It causes the newspaper publishers to lose control of their Web sites and their content. Whilst Google News links to an article on the newspaper publishers’ servers, once the publishers removes the article it still remains accessible on Google News via the link to the Google cache.
· The appearance of automatically generated headlines on Google News means that users may avoid or by-pass the newspaper sites, resulting in a reduction of traffic and therefore loss of advertising revenue to the publishers.
· Access to the newspaper articles and other material via Google’s cache results in other missed opportunities for the newspaper, including reader registration and re-distribution rights.
For fuller coverage of this and the wider issues, and a brief explanation of ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol), see Laurie Kaye’s article here.
For an article by Katie Withers on earlier Google News developments, Google News – Fair Use or Fair Game?, click here.
Laurie Kaye is Chairman of the SCL Internet Group. He is a partner in Laurence Kaye Solicitors (http://www.laurencekaye.com). That firm’s Web site also includes other articles on related issues.