Monday, April 09, 2007

Why Google Isn't Stealing Newspaper Content

Contributed by Mike (TechDirt) Monday, April 9th, 2007 @ 6:45AM

from the make-it-stop dept

This is just getting ridiculous. Google may have signaled its willingness to pay up with its deal with AFP, and now it seems that newspaper publishers are interested in taking them up on the offer. OJR reports that Sam Zell, who is in the process of buying the Tribune Company, has lashed out at publishers for letting Google "steal" their content: "If all the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content for nothing, what would Google do, and how profitable would Google be?" This sounds quite similar to columnist David Lazarus' "plan" to save the newspaper industry. Unfortunately, they've got the situation completely backwards. Google is not "stealing" content. They're also not making their money off of other's content. What they're doing is making that content a lot more valuable by making it much easier to find. Google isn't making money on the content -- but on driving more people to that content (and on the news side, they don't make any money directly, since they don't run ads on Google News). It's bizarre that this is so difficult for those in the publishing industry to understand. You don't yell at the phone book for "making money" off of your contact information. You don't yell at tour books for "making money" off of other people's locations. You recognize that they make money by being a guide or a directory -- just like Google. Either way, it doesn't bode well that the guy who's taking over the Tribune Company doesn't seem to have the slightest clue how Google works or how it's helping, not hurting, the business he's in the process of buying.