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Google CEO Eric Schmidt to newspaper moguls: don't "piss off" readers by charging for content
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a harsh warning for newspapers wanting to remove content from Google

Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch recently called for news websites to start charging readers.  He blasted Google, stating, "The question is, should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyright... not steal, but take. Not just them but Yahoo."

Google News has long been one of the most popular news aggregators, gathering news from the likes of the Associated Press, The New York Times, and Reuters.  All of this content is offered to readers for free, though readers provide a steady source of advertising revenue that frequently surpasses that of print news.  But that just isn't enough, according to Mr. Murdoch.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has offered up a fiery rebuke to Rupert Murdoch's comments.  He states, "
I would encourage everybody to think in terms of what your reader wants.  These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more."

Mr. Schmidt says that Google's content is "fair use", stating, "
From our perspective there is always a tension around fair use and fair use is a balance of interest in favor of the consumer."

He thinks that newspapers and magazines initially pushed for open web access, but are now turning their backs on this pro-customer mentality.  He states, "
You guys did a superb job, and the act after that is a harder question."

Alexander Macgillivray, Google's intellectual property counsel also admonished Mr. Murdoch's accusations of theft, writing, "Users like me are sent from different Google sites to newspaper websites at a rate of more than a billion clicks per month.  These clicks go to news publishers large and small, domestic and international - day and night.  And 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."

As to accusations that readers only peruse Google News and don't travel to the source sites, he adds, "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 to the news publisher's website."

Ultimately the battle between Google and news moguls may heat up as the economy continues to struggle.  After years of glutting themselves on a steady diet of subscriptions and advertising, the print news business is seeing advertising move online and subscriptions disappearing.  Afraid of this change, many of the news industry's biggest offline players may lash out at the likes of Google, but ultimately they may just be biting the hand that feeds and worsening their plight.

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Murdoch vs Google
By bildan on 4/8/2009 3:28:16 PM , Rating: 3
Murdoch likes to control what people read and, with Google involved, he can't do that. That pisses him off. He's an "in charge" guy who increasingly isn't in charge of anything important. He's just ranting.

Newspapers rarely generate unique content and just reprint the same wire stories which can be read many places on the web. If they charge, readers go elsewhere.

Murdoch and his papers are becoming irrelevant and he just figured out that the "light at the end of the tunnel" is a train named Google.

Now, if his papers actually did investigative reporting which generated interesting and unique content, that would be a game changer.

RE: Murdoch vs Google
By Spuke on 4/8/2009 3:46:16 PM , Rating: 4
Print newspapers have been circling the bowl for over a decade. Things have changed and newspapers haven't. If they can't adapt, then they need to die.

RE: Murdoch vs Google
By Clauzii on 4/8/2009 4:49:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'll agree. If the publishers had seen the light back then and had made real efforts to go paperless, they would have been in a position today that could have made people keep and STILL PAY for journalistic content. Well, a lot of people do subscribe to this or that but not nearly by the same number as back in the good'n'old newspaper-days).

Instead the newspapers have put themselves in a position where a lot of freelancers saw the power of getting connected to the world, and today most of the same quality information is free... Which is nice...

Which again make it not so nice, since the only thing left to pay for, in the end, is the connection itself.

RE: Murdoch vs Google
By phxfreddy on 4/9/2009 6:05:26 AM , Rating: 2
I do not think Rupert really is in the business of editing what people see or read.

I do think he needs to click into google like I just did to verify that they only link out ala style of Drudge....meaning only the title of the story is on the google page.

Maybe he thinks he is losing the front page perusal but who wants to read the front page of a newspaper any more. Most internet readers want to go straight to story of interest.

Either way this is clearly fair use and there is not a damned thing he can do about it. He and all the other news agencies are acting like they "own" the news. That is to say for example the earthquake in Italy....if they did not report it google would not know and thus even the title is plagarism. However most people would not concur with the idea of them owning the byline.

RE: Murdoch vs Google
By Penti on 4/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: Murdoch vs Google
By hypocrisyforever on 4/8/2009 4:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. I agree on all points.

RE: Murdoch vs Google
By BruceLeet on 4/8/2009 9:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
Murdoch and his papers are becoming irrelevant and he just figured out that the "light at the end of the tunnel" is a train named Google.

Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel...was just a freight train coming your way

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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