Utter foolishness

Story: Is the pending German Copyright Bill good or bad for the Web?Total Replies: 4
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Nov 29, 2012
12:41 AM EDT
Well....the subject line is how I see this latest attempt which in my books is a very real attempt to legally extort cash out of search engine companies. Not that I don't think that Google has not distorted its cash flows to minimise tax - but that's a very different matter as the link below demonstrates.


The article sums up what I think will be the reaction of Google and others:

Quoting: If snippets and headlines require license fees, the ability to locate information may be curtailed as search engines could (and likely will) simply remove the publishers from their index – an approach Google has already taken in Belgium. If this happens, locating the news becomes more difficult.

My personal take is that these cash hungry publishers don't seem to realise that their actions will lose them their biggest free advertisers: the web browsing companies such as Google. And dare I ask what happened to "fair and reasonable copying" ? Google et al. are not copying the entire articles, they are simply giving its title, its web address, and (if you are lucky) a very short summary. Still if German publishers want to put a "wall of death" over their web sites, that's their choice.....go right ahead - and lose business in the long term, and even more cash. Of course, they do have an alternative: make the full content of their sites available only through a licenced key..... Perhaps it is a little too obvious for some minds ? I guess it is far easier to nuke the whole system than use it to your benefit.

Nov 29, 2012
1:05 AM EDT
Extremely foolish:

the German publishers here are basically saying, "We're not happy that you are providing free advertising for our business -- it's our product, you shouldn't be able to make any money associated with it, unless we get a cut -- so we want you to pay us, for you to advertise our product (even if we have to get the law changed to arrange it)."

There is this strange attitude developing in some quarters that it is somehow inherently immoral and should be illegal for anyone to make money involving somebody else's property (especially "Intellectual Property"). Hence things growing trend for things like extorting copyright fees from Girl Guides over singing campfire songs, restaurants needing to create their own "Happy Birthday" songs, legal action against "dancing baby" videos, and even greater nonsense.


Nov 29, 2012
1:41 AM EDT
Clearly the people pushing for this sort of change to German Copyright law have not spoken to their IT people, because the information is contained with in the meta tags on every web page, and all Google and other search engines are doing is using the meta tags for what they are designed for... making the information available to search engines for indexing.

For example here is what the meta tags for the site the article is published on contain

<meta name="title" content="Is the pending German Copyright Bill good or bad for the Web? | The Mozilla Blog">

<meta name="description" content="A new copyright bill pending approval by the German Parliament would require search engines and other commercial actors to pay a license for using headlines ...">

So if the IT people for thoser German companies are doing their job properly, every page will have something like that embedded in the HTML, and it is they who are passing this data on to the search engines.

Nov 29, 2012
2:47 AM EDT
Sounds like these sites are not at all wanting to stop search engines from indexing their content. They already have a way to do that by placing a robots.txt file in the document root of their web server.

What they apparently want is to force a revenue stream.

Nov 29, 2012
10:31 AM EDT
The comment from BernardSwiss was dead on. The only thing I have to add is that this just continues to underscore the silliness of the concept of "intellectual property" rather than the more accurately descriptive terms/concepts of copyright, patent, and trademark.

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