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Google gets a bad press at newspaper conference

india Updated: Dec 04, 2009 00:01 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das
Hindustan Times
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Google was not a popular word — neither as a noun nor as a verb — at the World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The Internet giant’s views on copyright came in for pointed criticism.

“We publishers don’t need handouts or crumbs from Google’s table,” said Gavin O’Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). “What we want is a more rigorous and unambiguous acceptance on copyright, an acknowledgement of our right to choose our own business model, a more transparent technical mechanism and, perhaps, less of the rather tired, ‘fair use’ rhetoric.”

O’Reilly called for adoption of the Automated Content Access Protocol, a new protocol backed by WAN-IFRA and others in the industry, that allows publishers to describe how their online content can be used in a way that the news aggregators’ automated indexing crawlers can read.

Being able to make a commercial return was essential to justify investment in content, he said.

However, David Drummond, senior vice president and chief legal counsel of Google, denied that the company violated copyright.

“This is a fundamental disagreement when you’re applying copyright rules on the web,” he said, adding that the idea that indexing sites was a violation “flies in the face of how the web has been built and how it operates”.

Drummond said Google News offered publishers a billion clicks a month and massive traffic, which he called “a source of promotion undreamed of just a few years ago”.