September 30, 2004

Google News

Adam Penenberg's article (Google News: Beta Not to Make Money), which I read yesterday (but was too sick to blog -- can't wait to get over this stupid cold) mentioned Google News' business model, or issues with it due to the fact that they do not have agreements with the news sources they use to populate the service.

At the time, his assertion that headlines and snippets of the stories were not used under fair use, but rather would have to be negotiated for some consideration, and that's why they can't place Ads on the site, made me want to mention this case I blogged some time ago.

Ernie Miller wrote up the case that occurred a while ago about copyright and newspaper headlines in Japan. I wrote in my post then, and think still, that something similar aledging that headlines are copyright protected would not win here in the US because the title of an article would fall under the "names, titles and short phrases" which don't get copyright protection, partly because they are factual, even if they are a kind of expression (tends to fall more in the trademark area of IP for names and phrases).

But the snippets of the stories themselves that Google News uses are more of a question for me, as far as the original publisher's ability to control their copywritten content placement in commercial situations. Google News might not get to use that content next to ads, if this were tested. And that may be because they are so big. Other smaller services (see this search on Feedster) are using both headlines and snippets of both blog posts and news articles, and they all sit right next to Ads on their site. And so far, there appears to be no problem.

Jeff Jarvis blogged this. As did many others.

Posted by Mary Hodder at September 30, 2004 08:54 AM | TrackBack