April 7th, 2009 | Published in Google Public Policy
Yesterday I entered the following search in Google News: [Phish in mountain view]. The search results led me to click on this headline, which took me to the full story by the San Jose Mercury News about Phish's upcoming concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre.
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.
The Associated Press (AP) recently issued a press release announcing plans to develop an initiative to "protect" the newspaper industry's content online. Since then, some readers, users and journalists have asked us if the AP's plan is about Google since we host complete AP articles. The answer is that it doesn't appear to pertain to Google since we host those articles in partnership with the AP. We announced that partnership in 2007 as part of an experiment in hosting articles on our site. In hosting agreements such as this, we pay news agencies and display the entire text of articles, such as this one from the AP about President Obama's visit to Turkey.
We drive traffic and provide advertising in support of all business models -- whether news sources choose to host their articles with us or on their own sites, and whether their business model is ad-supported or based on subscriptions. 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.
In the U.S., the doctrine of fair use enshrined in the US Copyright Act allows us to show snippets and links. The fair use doctrine protects transformative uses of content, such as indexing to make it easier to find [pdf]. Even though the Copyright Act does not grant a copyright owner a veto over such uses, it is our policy to allow any rightsholder, in this case newspaper or wire service, to remove their content from our index -- all they have to do is ask us or implement simple technical standards such as robots.txt or metatags.
As for Phish in Mountain View this summer, asking will get you nowhere because the tickets are already sold out.