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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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RE: Foresight
By Oregonian2 on 4/8/2009 10:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
If 100% of newspapers fold (as well as the services they are major customers of), then who exactly is generating/finding-out the news that the internet is distributing (and how are those entities getting money to pay for them doing it)?

Google news itself gathers no news whatsoever itself (which is why the general thread seems silly to me unless one finds the tiny one paragraph news titles to be sufficient -- I find them only to be teasers for visits to the newspaper sites pointed to).

It seems that most websites die and breathe to get google to list them high on google searches -- except for newspapers who don't want to be listed at all. Very strange.

RE: Foresight
By Cerin218 on 4/9/2009 11:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
So if the physical media of newspaper goes away there will be no need or desire for anyone to report or investigate any event or issue? The question here is not the function of newspaper, but the format. PC World magazine decided that they were not selling very many physical magazines and went entirely digital. They are still in business. The concept here is that people don't buy the physical newspaper, not that there won't be anyone to report stories. I haven't picked up the newspaper in years, but I sit at a computer every day. That is how I get my stories. If you lose the newspapers, you create a vacuum of need that will be filled by someone else. Just like the folks that think that world will crash if an automaker goes out of business. There is still a need for a product, and someone else will find a way to fulfill that need. if they can't then the need must not have been that great. What does the news really teach you that isn't biased in some way anyway? You don't need a newspaper to be an educated person and I would argue that reading one actually lowers your education.

RE: Foresight
By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 1:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, but I got the idea from postings that the concept of the newspaper, including online versions, was passe and not needed. At least as thought by many. You and I seem to actually agree that the newspaper still is needed, even if it's not a printed one.

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