Google entangled in another copyright issue

Google is caught in another copyright issue. A Belgian court has ordered Google to stop publishing content from Belgian newspapers without permission or payment of fees. The complaint was lodged by the Belgian Association of Newspaper Editors, which handles copyright for the French- and German-speaking press in the country. The association said. “It’s an infraction of Belgian and EU laws, the newspapers are losing money this way and, above all, Google thinks it is outside the law.

Google claims that it’s policy actually benefits publishers by making it easier for people find their content. Google only shows a few lines of text in its news searches and when clicked a user would be directed to the publication’s web site to read the entire article. But the publisher’s association say that clicking on the link in Google News takes the user to the story but not to the newspaper’s home page.

I really can’t understand the logic in this. Why should anyone insist that users should enter a site only through the homepage? A typical user, if interested by a story, would himself go the the site’s homepage to see if there are more interesting stuff.

Google argues that if any publisher does not want to be indexed by Google they can use the robot.txt file to restrict Google crawling on those pages. I feel this is really fair enough although there is one school of thought which says that instead of Google asking us to restrict, it should seek permission before crawling a site. This is highly impractical and just not feasible. With millions of sites on the Web, how can Google be expected to seek permission from each of the sites? Isn’t one site adding one robot.txt file easier?

Here I am working hard for Google to index my site and to think there are people who are suing Google for doing the same to their site. Strange.

Source: WSJ

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