Google Says It Helps Newspaper Websites

    April 7, 2009

Google says it does not misappropriate newspaper content and actually helps them by driving traffic to their Web sites.

Alexander Macgillivray

"We drive traffic and provide advertising in support of all business models — whether news sources choose to host their articles with us or on their own sites, and whether their business model is ad-supported or based on subscriptions," wrote Alexander Macgillivray, Google’s associate general counsel for products and intellectual property, on the Google Public Policy Blog. 

"In all cases, for news articles we’ve crawled and indexed but do not host, we show users just enough to make them want to read more — the headline, a "snippet" of a line or two of text and a link back to the news publisher’s website."

The blog post comes after The Associated Press announced yesterday it was working on system to protect its content from being misappropriated online.

Macgillivray said some readers, journalists and users wondered if the AP’s latest announcement was directed at Google.

"The answer is that it doesn’t appear to pertain to Google since we host those articles in partnership with the AP," Macgillivray wrote.

"We announced that partnership in 2007 as part of an experiment in hosting articles on our site. In hosting agreements such as this, we pay news agencies and display the entire text of articles."

Macgillivray went on to defend Google’s actions concerning newspaper Web sites. "Once a reader is on the newspaper’s site, we work hard to help them earn revenue. Our AdSense program pays out millions of dollars to newspapers that place ads on their sites, and our goal is that our interest-based advertising technology will help newspapers make more from each click we send them by serving better, more relevant ads to their readers to generate higher returns."

Google maintains that its practice follows U.S. copyright law and that newspapers that disagree with fair use can ask to have their content removed from its index.