By Kevin O'Keefe

Google: “We Respect Copyright”

Google’s VP of content partnerships, David Eun, issued a statement on Google’s ‘approach to content’ this week. Likely out of concern that things not snowball following the Belgian court decision curtailing Google News’ indexing of newspaper content.

Because we don’t own this content, over the years we’ve come up with three primary principles to ensure that we respect content owners and protect their rights:

  • we respect copyright;
  • we let owners choose whether we index their content in our products;
  • we try to bring benefit back to content owners by partnering with them.

There are many legal rights that help protect content. Among the most important is copyright. Content creators deserve to be rewarded for their creative work — and copyright law is fundamental to ensuring that as well as fostering future creativity. While protecting the rights of owners, those laws also encourage others to make use of content in limited ways. That’s why newspapers are allowed to include short quotations from in-copyright books in their reviews. That’s also why search engines can show snippets (small excerpts) of text in their results. Copyright owners benefit from these types of usage because they help to publicize their works.

Eun goes on to say asking the publisher to use their content first, as opposed to giving the option to opt out, would be impossible because Google aims to provide comprehensive search results. “This would be impossible in a world where permission simply to index (which is entirely legal) was necessary.”

Finally, Eun says Google indexing is a win/win for everyone:

There are around one billion people online today — all of them wanting access to information. We partner with publishers, news organizations and others to help them to reach a wider global audience. By enabling people to discover information, Google drives web traffic, customer queries, advertising revenues and sales to our partners, both online and offline.

Good or bad, money drives this world. Google is going to end up with more money under this model. So much money that the day could come where the publishers will receive a slice of Google’s pie.

A fight to the death through the courts is going to result in a loser. If the publishers lose, it’s the status quo. If Google loses, what Google indexes would be reduced. That’s a big risk for Google.

Source for post: Jemima Kiss at paidContent.org

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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