According to Rob Salkowitz of Internet Evolution, in the so-called Hamburg Declaration issued July 9, publishers argued that services like Google are “using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it”:
Numerous providers are using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it. Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism. . . .
Universal access to our services should be available, but going forward we no longer wish to be forced to give away property without having granted permission.
We therefore welcome the growing resolve of federal and state governments all over the world to continue to support the protection of the rights of authors, publishers and broadcasters on the Internet.
Salkowitz points to Google’s simple response:
“We agree,” wrote Cohen on Google’s European Public Policy Blog on July 15. “If a webmaster wants to stop us from crawling a specific page, he or she can do so by adding
'<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">'to the page. In short, if you don’t want to show up in Google search results, it doesn’t require more than one or two lines of code.”
He points out that, basically, if newspapers want to go back to the “old way” for themselves, they can. No need to change the law to prevent Google from indexing their content. But of course, this isn’t really want publishers want.
In truth, publishers get value from Google – value that is necessary for them to compete and market themselves today. So they need Google or services like them. This makes their attacks on Google a distraction from the real issues for them, which really involves a business model that can’t compete well in today’s marketplace.
There are a number of choices, two of which seem most obvious: change the law or change the model. Unsurprisingly, publishers want to change the law.
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