Italian regulator asks for copyright reform after Google settlement
Competition body cannot stop exploitation of news content
Italy's competition regulator has asked the Italian parliament to reform copyright law after accepting Google's settlement of a dispute with newspapers. It does not have the power to solve the problem of the exploitation of newspaper content, it said.
The Italian Federation of Newspaper Editors had complained in 2009 that if newspapers refused to have their content appear in Google News it would also disappear from Google's search engine, which could affect the amount of web traffic they received.
The Italian antitrust authority (Autorita Garante Della Concorrenza E Del Mercato) said in a statement that Google had proposed measures to settle the dispute, which it accepted.
The statement said that Google had offered to allow newspapers to withdraw content from Google News without content from that organisation disappearing from Google search results.
"Publishers can choose whether to allow special access to their sites from Google News, decide to selectively exclude specific articles or images, or to bring up the titles of articles, but not extracts from the text of the same," said a Google translation of the statement from the competition authority.
According to the competition authority, Google also said that it would give publishers more information about the operation and financial basis of its AdSense programme, which places adverts on member publications' websites.
"The commitments adopted allow publishers to know the distribution of revenue from the sale of advertising: it is essentially allowing publishing companies to control the economic conditions," said the statement.
The competition authority also said, though, that it had sent a report to Italy's government and its parliament, suggesting that copyright legislation be revised to take account of technical developments and the economic impact of the web on creators' rights.
A Google statement on the resolution of the dispute said: "We have worked cooperatively with the Italian Competition Authority and our publishing partners to address their questions and concerns. While we comply with Italian and EU competition laws, we also understand that there is always room for improvement in our business".
The authority said that a national law that defines intellectual property rights in the context of the internet was needed because under current laws it "cannot untie the knot of the adequate remuneration of online editorial content industries, the economic exploitation of their works by others".
This article was originally published at Kable.
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Berlusconi will amend the law in accordance with the regulator's suggestions....
.... as soon as he finds the time between a party and an orgy.
Not quite true.
The newspapers understand how the search engine works very well.
The issue is that Google News slurps up the data from the news sources and serves it up on their own, bypassing the news sites and the potential ad revenue.
So Google said that in order to stop this from happening, those newspapers will not be seen in Google's search results.
Hence the problem.
Methinks Google wasn't being entirely accurate as to what they can and cannot do.
"...to allow ... to withdraw content from [GN] w/out [it] disappearing from ... search results."
> "... to allow newspapers to withdraw content from Google News without content from that organisation disappearing from Google search results."
Sounds like a "have cake and eat it, too" problem...
They want Google to drive traffic to their websites, but they don't want Google to display the content that Google users need to make a choice on which websites to visit.
Old Media just doesn't get search engines (and by extension, the Internet), does it? I guess it all boils down to that old adage: "If you can't compete, legislate!"