back to article Daily Telegraph rattles legal sabre at Google

The editor of The Daily Telegraph has hinted that the paper could be on a legal collision course with Google and Yahoo! over the aggregators' use of its content. Newspaper industry watcher Roy Greenslade reports that speaking at the Ifra newsroom conference in Paris last week, Telegraph editor Will Lewis said: Our ability to …


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  1. Kevin Hall

    Good luck to the Torygraph...

    They do have a point; newspapers don't publish material for the likes of Google to hoover up, Google sucks up millions of dollars in profits partly on the back of stories they didn't pay a cent for. When Google is such a patently commercial organisation, hawking ads for all manner of crap simply because you do a search, they can hardly claim any "fair use" argument (which they might be able to as a non-profit, as it is, Google answers to shareholders). Google can't go on treating the idea of copyright as nothing more than a speed bump, it is the ultimate example in externalising your costs, getting some other chump to write all your material and getting paid simply through cherry-picking the best bits.

  2. marc

    Zero investment eh?

    So, I created an account just to respond on this one.

    They say Google has zero investment and is making money eh?* Let's see them come up with a overly fault tolerant distributed filesystem and indexing service, that spans the globe, give lightning quick results that are largely on target, and can cater to multiple geos, simply by changing the country code of the site (naturally defaulting to your local IP's country). I think that they are being a bunch of whiney brats on this one.

    Google should delist them and see what happens.


    *I realize they said content relating to zero investment, but then they have little (zero?) investment in the distribution and marketing of the data on the news feeds. Cuts both ways lads, cuts both ways.

  3. Andy


    Newspaper: Dear google, we couldn't help but notice that you are considerably richer than us. Also, you show snippets of our copyright material. Please cease this naughty behaviour.

    Google: OK, well we can stop showing the snippets of your copyright material, but that will mean that you won't show up in our search results.

    Newspaper: AGGGH! No! You have a monopoly on search (just like Yahoo!, Lycos etc). You must show our content, but we want you to pay us for it

    Google: So, let me get this straight. You want us to pay you for the right to refer people to your website? How about we delist you and then you pay us to index your approved content snippets?

  4. Gina

    I agree with Kevin

    Whether you like the paper or not, they have a good point.

    Why should they spend the time and money investigating stories only for Google and Yahoo to take full advantage for free - and get paid handsomely in the process?

    Its one thing to link to a site that sells media, offering the first 30 secs of a movie, the first few pages of a book, helping to generate sales. Its quite another to hoover up stories from every news website and use their free service to make yourself money.

    It may be useful to the consumer, but your still making money off the back of other people's work. The Telegraph and the New York Times can't use other newspaper's stories to sell advertising.

    If your neighbour stuck a billboard in your backyard and made millions selling advertising you'd be pretty narked off too - this is no different.

    Seems the simple solution here is profit sharing. If you're bound and determined to run this kind of service, you pick the news outlets you want to do business with and give them a share of the advertising revenue.

    And yes I know all the reasons they don't want to do that, but perhaps we shouldn't give multi-billionaires everything they want for free.

  5. Andy

    Google news front page and search do not appear to show any adverts.

    They show a summary of the story, along with the a link to the article on the website of the content publisher and followed by the name of the publisher.

    Anyone want to bet that the news summary comes from metadata that the publishers put there for "Search Engine Optimisation"?

    While there are adverts on the main search results page, most people when searching for news are probably more interested in the results than the adverts ("Buy your Diana inquest from eBay").

    Again, these link to the main publisher, where the publisher is free to make money from their own advertising.

    Perhaps Google should get a referral fee for advertising revenue from the publishers?

    Also, guess who provides the search capability for the site.

    In summary:

    Google do not publish the entire news article, they do not copy and pass off the content, they may get some ad revenue as a side benefit of listing the stories.

    The Telegraph or whoever do not have to pay to list their content, do not have to pay a referral fee, do not have to develop their own search engine, are free to make money from their own web pages through whatever mechanism they like.

    Delist the Telegraph stories (then they have no copyright complaint), this will have the added bonus of forcing the Telegraph to source an alternative search engine for their website (no content listed on google). Not that anyone will care because they won't be able to find the site any more.

  6. Andy


    Also, the billboard analogy doesn't quite sit right with me.

    Maybe it's more a case of sticking a billboard in the parking lot of your neighbours cafe and advertising in big flashing lights that this is the best cafe in the local area, and then adding a quick link at the bottom for other things that may be of interest to the viewer (such as the nearest pub.. after you've had your meal...)

    Or maybe like advertising the cafe for free on leaflets that you distribute to the neighbourhood, along with the paid-for pub recommendations etc. Then the cafe owner complains that although their business is almost all through referrals from your leaflets, they are really annoyed that you are getting money from advertisers that have nothing to do with their cafe!

    Oh, and the site didn't work in Firefox when I tried it... had to fire up IE.

  7. marc


    Google only shows snippets of the news article, then link back to the host site for the full content. How is this different than:

    "offering the first 30 secs of a movie, the first few pages of a book" when they are simply offering the first few sentences of the article?


  8. Martin Eriksson

    There's no advertising on google news!!

    Although I'm definitely not a fan of Google's monopolistic ways (I use them for search only), I have to side with them to an extent on this one in the context of Google News.

    Google does not hoover up all content or make money from it. It shows snippets of content (for full content you still have to go to the originating site) and has no advertising anywhere on google news.

    It is simply an improved search results display specifically focused on news.

    A different issue may well be caching, but even then the information is cached with originator's design, advertising etc...

    So whats the problem?

  9. Lawrence

    But there are tools to get de-listed

    There are ways and tools the Daily Telegraph can use to get de-listed from Google (search).

    The can also request Google not to include DT content/links in their News product.

    So why aren't they doing this?

    But I do agree with Kevin. YouTube is a better example of how Google is making a lot of cash off other people's content.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The mechanism alread y exists to exclude google. Why not USE it instead of making a fuss?

    If a newspaper (or any other website, for that matter) doesn't want google to use its content, then it already has a mechanism to prevent it, via the time-honoured Robot Exclusion tags.

    Google recognises those tags, and they can be done selectively so that part of the site is indexed and not the rest.

    Install the tags, and the problem goes away -- completely and totally. So, newspapers already have an available remedy and the complaint is wholly without merit.

    Either exclude your site partly or completely from google (and accept the loss of traffic, if any) or keep your site in the index and accept that google's advertising income as a result of indexing your site content is effectively fair payment for the service that google is providing you and your readers in guiding them to your site.

    And in any case, consider that if you indexed your own site more effectively and thoroughly, people might use your own indexing facilities instead of google's.

  11. Andy Bright

    Don't Forget

    They also kill penguins.. so I've got no sympathy for them.. penguin murdering billionaires should not be allowed to give news search results - it's as simple as that.

    They're bastards and they've got more money than me, AND I believe everything I read on the internet... and the internet says they kill penguins and other cute animals.

  12. Hanin Elias

    Me too! Me Too!

    this is yet another case of attention-wh0reism. i don't agree with the idea that anyone has a "right" to be the only one to report on a story. but that's neither here nor there. i don't know how popular that news site is, but i'd be willing to bet it wouldn't be half as successful without google and the other search engines. if it's not google, it'll be another search provider. these guys just can't come to terms with the reality of the service news aggregation provides them... and for free! the greater majority of "their" stories wouldn't even get read nor would they get any advertising revenue if these search providers did not get the word out for them. i work in several different offices and while shoulder-surfing, i see that all of the bored office slaves use google news and other news filters, that use varying levels of advertisment, rather than be locked into just 1 news source. this even for the utterly boring local news from this remote sliver of land! it seems like people believe they should profit from absolutely any use of anything they "produce". these days will soon come to an end, i just wonder wot they'll be charging you for then......

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  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is "fair use"?

    I stopped buying The Times because I realised that I may as well read it online at no cost.

    Is that "fair use"?

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