Looks Like “Fair Use” are Two Very Lonely Words in Belgium
Posted by direwolff on February 13, 2007
I’ve never read a news article on Google News, mainly because this doesn’t seem possible, since all they provide is an excerpt that then enables me to click on the headline to go to the full story. As a result of this process, I’ve discovered newspapers that I didn’t know existed but that provided interesting and new perspectives I had not been previously exposed to. In a follow-up to a previous post I wrote, with the latest ruling out of the Belgian courts, it looks like one perspective I won’t be getting any time soon is the Belgian perspective.
To say that this is the most assinine lawsuit I’ve ever seen is probably going too far since there was the one about the woman who sued McDonald’s over the hot coffee she spilled on herself several years ago. But this one is pretty close. I wonder if these Belgian publishers know how to read their traffic logs to see how much traffic is coming their way as a result of Google. Well, traffic be darned (and god knows how much it costs to get it these days), it’s false principles of a previously monopolistic industry now trying to fight a no win battle. Winning their lawsuit insures lowered traffic to their properties, loosing the lawsuit makes them look dumb for having ever brought it up. If I were Google, I’d remove these publications content not just from Google News, but from their main search index as well. Yahoo!, MSN and Ask should follow suit here and do the exact same thing.
What’s even crazier, is that the French publishers, at least Agence France-Presse, have it on their minds to pursue a similar tact. And they wonder why their Web businesses aren’t successful. Don’t forget ACAP. Just as the music industry is reconsidering their DRM decisions, the news publishing industry is heading in the opposite direction…hmm…between Microsoft and the news publishers seems there’s very little care for their customers. Must be what happens when you get big, fat and lazy at your customer’s expense.
This may all be me playing arm chair quarterback where there are deeper issues at stake here, but if so, I’m totally missing it…wouldn’t be the first time though :)
*** 2/13/07 UPDATE (12:45pm PT): Just had a chance to see Danny Sullvan’s write up about this and it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in this story as he has some more information and updates on the situation directly from the Google’s European legal counsel.