Google doesn’t pay to create the content, mind you; for-profit news organizations do. But Google will get money from the ads that go beside the stories.
“Trust me on this one, this one will kick up some dust,” writes longtime Google watcher John Battelle on his blog. He referred to a “***t storm,” in fact.
It’s a real slap in the face to newspapers that pay for news gathering resources that Google is profiting from. In this recession, Google is hurting too, so it’s going to be an ugly scene.
Here’s some important background: Google was sued by Agence France-Press in 2005 for copyright infringement just after it launched Google News.
The Paris-based agency claimed the search giant was posting news stories and photographs without permission. The two entered into a licensing deal in 2007, ending the dispute.
This time around, news groups are likely to challenge Google on a wider scale — or risk losing money out of their own pocket. It comes just as many newspapers are up for sale or threatening to fold.
Newspapers have to share the blame: I never understood why they weren’t more aggressive with Google in the first place.
Meanwhile, it’s sad to see the Rocky Mountain News close.
My family and I lived in Denver in the ’70s, and I remember the newspaper war between the two papers. For a while, their circulation was running neck in neck. Dallas had a similar newspaper war between two strong dailies.
The loser here is the public. I encourage you to read Ben Bagdikian’s book “Media Monopoly,” more relevant now than ever. (He was a professor of mine at Cal and later an acquaintance).
Here’s the silver lining in this dark cloud: When this shakeout is complete, more competition than ever will exist. Online ventures, with professional, not arm-chair talent, will fill the void.