Google Asks Germans To Protest 'Pay To Link' Proposal As It Comes Close To Becoming Law

from the dumb-proposals dept

For a few years now, we've been following attempts in Germany -- mainly driven by newspaper publishers -- to create a bizarre new copyright-like right (specifically a "neighbor right") in "linking" such that a site like Google would have to pay sites that it links to. The bizarre and nonsensical argument is that because a site like Google makes some of its money by linking to sites, those sites "deserve" part of the money. This is problematic for a long list of reasons, not the least of which is it's fundamentally backwards economically. If sites like Google are making money from directing people to other sites, they're making money because they provide a valuable service in helping people find the content, not because of the content itself. It's up to the sites themselves to figure out how to monetize the traffic -- not to run to the government to force others to pay. And, if you think this is just a Google issue, you're wrong. Among the proposals was one that would impact many others, including people posting links on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

The final proposal would be wide reaching in impact, and make it ridiculous to run a search engine or any kind of aggregator in Germany:
The new section, if introduced, would provide the "producer of news materials" the general "exclusive right to make said materials publicly available, in whole or in part, for commercial purposes," according to an unofficial translation of the German Government's proposals.

Others would be permitted to provide "public access" to the publishers' material unless those providing that access are "commercial operators of search engines or commercial providers of services that aggregate this content in a respective fashion". News publishers' right to control the commercial exploitation of their work in this regard would extend for a year after publication. Authors of the work would be entitled to be "provided with a reasonable share of the remunerations issuing from the author’s work".
The German government is set to take up the issue on Thursday and Google has realized that maybe it should let folks in Germany know that this proposal would seriously cut into their internet services. As Google accurately notes, if the law passes it will mean "higher costs, less information and massive legal uncertainty." That's what happens when you insist that content providers who fail to monetize traffic somehow "deserve" money from a third party that is helping people find them.

The logic behind this bill makes no sense. Do we require that GPS service providers pay stores for directing people to where they're located? Of course not. The very concept is ludicrous. Yet that's exactly what this bill is doing in Germany.

Most ridiculous of all: if publishers don't like being in Google's results, they can already opt-out. So if this was really "piracy" as the publishers claim, they have a solution already at their disposal. But this isn't about piracy at all, of course. It's about publishers who haven't been able to adapt seeing Google make lots of money and getting jealous. So they're demanding a cut of the money. It's a sad statement on the nature of both publishers and German copyright law that this proposal is even being seriously considered.


Reader Comments (rss)

 

Random thoughts about this stupidity. No order implied.

The internet was designed as a way to share information and is all about sharing! It is about providing people information, about sharing that information. It is about providing redundancy in access to that information. It in the end it is really about freeing information from the silos. So any problem accessing information is considered a fault to be routed around. Your website will be routed around.

Information is a commodity, it is not a piece of personal property!! It is not a finite product.

Information is not the exclusive property of any News Organization. The News Organizations are paid for how they present that information in a way people find useful. Not for the actual information. News Organizations still think that they have the "Exclusive" and that somehow that makes them the owner of the information. Wrong. Exclusive is a term that means we have it 10 minutes before 100 others do.

The internet was designed to route around problems with access to data. So if your information is not accessible easily the internet will find better route to that information. Full Stop.

People today find their information more often than not through a search engine. Deal with it or you will go away.

Charging for links is the exact opposite of how the internet works. Linking to content is the foundation of the internet. If you put in place some kind of scheme to make incoming links cost the linking website anything then those links will go away. Period.
—Skeptical Cynic

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    peter, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:35am

    Remember when

    Remember when businesses had to pay money to advertise. Those were the good old days

     

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    maclypse (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:43am

    Think a few years of "I'd link the article, but it's illegal." comments on blogs, websites and search engines -as well as a drop in traffic- will change their mind?

    Somehow I doubt it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:10am

      Re:

      It changed Murdochs mind!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      Personally, I am hoping for something a little broader:

      "I'd link to Germany, but it's illegal".

      Let them go. Hopefully they'll take the equally batwing-nuts France with them into Internet oblivion.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:54am

    this is just another industry trying to get money for doing nothing. it is also another way to have a go at Google, just like is always happening in the US. perhaps the best thing for Google to do is not make itself available in Germany? as for the grief from the US Congress, perhaps the best thing would be for it to move it's whole operation somewhere else? that would give Congress something to really moan about then, considering the amount of money collected in taxes and the jobs it has produced

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:04am

    Google disables news search in Germany in 3.....2.....1.....
    (Ends up like German YouTube)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:35am

    Sounds like Google's revenue stream could take a hit. I hope there's enough left to keep paying their shills.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:44am

      Re:

      More like the newspaper revenue streams take a hit as all search engines remove them from search results. If they also remove their sites from the search results how much traffic will they loses because their sites cannot be found through search engines.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:21am

      Re:

      > Sounds like Google's revenue stream could take a hit.
      > I hope there's enough left to keep paying their shills.

      Sounds like Newspapers' revenue stream could take a hit.
      I hope there's enough left to keep paying their lobbyists.

       

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      The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      What needs to happen is for the RIAA and MPAA to take a severe financial hit. They should be forced to pay people for tolerating all their lousy remakes and garbage-quality music.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:43am

    Google creates none of the value in content linked.

    Those who make attractive content are getting shafted by producing value while Grifter Google produces nothing yet reaps billions. Is that a reasonable basis for a trading system? -- No, Google is a parasite taking advantage of a new system, which it clearly intends to monopolize.

    The internet is a unique case, I grant you. Google is set up to consolidate and accumulate numerous income streams and plans to do ALL the "monetizing" that's possible. No, it's NOT like a phone book, it's on a computer, which in this case enables the grifting on massive scale.

    It requires such deep funding to compete with Google that Microsoft can't; so it's effectively beyond competition notwithstanding the childish notion of Ryan (?) that you can set up a search engine in your garage.

    Mike looks at only part of the system: to those selling goods and to Google which is self-appointed gateway becoming daily more repressive and invasive. Mike isn't looking at the major value of the Internet: information and its free flow. I've given examples of Google censoring and filtering: we definitely don't want Google to get a monopoly on news and its distribution, so anything which reduces and limits its growth is likely good.

    Now, Mike's piece itself contains the reason you should worry about Google: here it is alredy flexing its influence against a gov't! What kind of saps believe that power will only be used for good? -- Neo-cons libertarians who'll "privatize" you into corporatized tyranny, that's who. They're stealing public infrastructure and turning it to their own ends. It's the Internet here, but that's the plan for roads, electric, and water systems.

    If you want to know how privatizing works in electricity, recall Enron where was deliberately arranging to shut down power plants to create an artificial shortage and get short-term prices increases of more than 100 times for the same power. Corporations have NO morals, folks. They'd throw you alive into meat grinders to sell for dog food if was "legal", and since they control gov'ts, "Soylent Green" ain't far off.

    Society CANNOT let essential services be left to corporations whose sole interest is to "monetize" the public.






    Support Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick's proprietary interest!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
    He innovated the term all by himself! He alone! It's HIS!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:50am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      Google does not claim to create the content that it links to.

      It simply advertises all the places you can get the news. Surely even your logically disabled mind can understand that what Google does is free advertising for the papers?

       

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      FuzzyDuck, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:29am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      I am happy for every visitor that Google sends me for free. If they can make money while at the same time sending me traffic at no cost to me I don't see any reason to complain.

      Google should probably change from opt-out to opt-in for German sites that fall under this law. Requireing them to explicitly grant Google the right to index them for free.

      Those who don't want to be indexed can instead pay for ads on other sites to drive traffic to them...

       

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      AdamF (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:30am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      First, this law would only strengthen Google's monopoly. Google may be the only search engine that can easily afford whatever fee the news publishers come up with. Smaller search engines will not be able to afford the fee and will slowly become irrelevant. Right?

      Second, if you don't like Google "flexing" its influence against a government, where do you stand with National Rifle Association?

       

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      BentFranklin (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:31am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      Google which is self-appointed gateway

      If you don't like Google search, search with someone else. Or just visit each newspaper site every day yourself.

       

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      BentFranklin (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:52am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      Don't like Google monetizing other peoples' content? You have options!

      Step 1: Here is a list of all German newspaper sites:

      http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/germany.htm

      Have fun! What, is that too much clicking?

      Step 2: Just write a script to visit each one for you and give you one page with all the headlines. What, is it too hard?

      Step 3: Pay someone else write that script? What, is it too expensive?

      Step 4 What if someone else did it and gave you the results free and got but paid with advertising? Okay here it is:

      http://news.google.com

      What, you don't like Google?

      Step 5: Go to Step 1.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:52am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      > Google produces nothing yet reaps billions.

      Let's see:
      * The best search engine that ever existed
      * Google Maps
      * Android
      * GMail
      * YouTube
      * Google Images
      * Google Chrome browser
      * Other software Picassa, 3D software, etc.
      * Google Drive (formerly Google Docs)
      * Google Calendar (automatically synced with Android)
      * Google Contacts (automatically synced with Android)
      * Google Plus
      * Google Code (open source project hosting)
      * Google Books
      * Google Wallet
      * Google Shopping
      * Google Reader
      * Google Translate
      * iGoogle
      * Lattitude
      * Google Earth
      * Google Sky
      * Google Scholar
      * Google Alerts
      and more.

      Google donates valuable code to open source projects.

      Yeah, Google produces nothing.



      > which it clearly intends to monopolize

      Google doesn't have a monopoly. Unlike Microsoft, you are free to leave any time you want to. Just like here at TechDirt. You are free to leave any time you want.



      > Google is a parasite

      You are a parasite. You are free to leave any time you want.



      > It requires such deep funding to compete with Google
      > that Microsoft can't

      So what was that about Google not creating something of value again?

      That Microsoft and Yahoo can't might simply mean that they are way out_of_the_touch with reality, like you.


      > the reason you should worry about Google:
      > here it is alredy flexing its influence against a gov't!

      Oh my! Like Microsoft or the RIAA / MPAA would never do such a thing! This is unprecedented in the history of the world. Nevermind that Google is working in my interest, where Microsoft / RIAA / MPAA are working against my interest.


      > recall Enron where was deliberately arranging to shut
      > down power plants to create an artificial shortage
      > and get short-term prices increases

      Learn how the Internet works. If Google disappeared today, the Internet would still be here tomorrow. And there are other search engines. Even lesser known ones. https://duckduckgo.com/

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:05am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      "It requires such deep funding to compete with Google that Microsoft can't; so it's effectively beyond competition..."

      Actually, Microsoft does compete, by incorporating Bing as the default search engine in Explorer!
      As Windows users upgrade their operating software, more and more will use Bing simply out of convenience.
      It's a slow process, but there's no hurry, considering Windows' dominance as "the" OS to use...

       

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      Niall (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:29am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      By this retarded argument, Yell should pay people to put their listings in their Yellow Pages, and billboard owners should pay companies to put up adverts for their shops/products. I'm pretty sure it's the other way around in reality-land...

       

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      out_of_the_lube, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:36am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      i absolutely agree with o_o_t_b about: 'Corporations have NO morals, folks. They'd throw you alive into meat grinders to sell for dog food if was "legal", and since they control gov'ts.'
      But i just don't get the whole Google rules world thing. I've been making websites for 15 odd years and found that google always leans towards telling the truth:trying to get the best answer to 'whats the best site for ***'. And it tries hard to avoid the cheats/bad sites. They could be doing so much worse. And most companies in Google postion would, they would follow the 'do whatever it takes now to make money however illegal'. But Google does not do this. It helps content creators make money. And as soon as it stops doing that we will all go elsewhere.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:40am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      Or Google could just stop indexing German sites.

       

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      kdog, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:46am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      You are fully capable of living off the grid. How about the notion that Google charge your ISP. After all, they are making money providing access to a product Google created. Google is the content, your ISP is simply charging you to access it.

      Your ISP is therefore abusing everyone and should pay forward as people access websites.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:21am

      Re: Google creates none of the value in content linked.

      Incidentally, did you create any of the value in the Wikipedia content you linked?

       

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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:45am

    Next up: Taxi drivers have to pay a fee to business when they drop off customers.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:40am

      Re:

      This is a brilliantly apt analogy. Taxi drivers derive all of their revenue from people wanting to go places. Obviously the fact that business are operating in such a way that people want to take taxi services to those businesses is a benefit that those businesses are providing to the taxi drivers, and the taxi drivers should be baying compensation directly to the places people are asking to take them.

      Therefore, the taxi services should take me home for free, because I want to go there. Because if I hadn't taken the intelligent business decision to set up my home at a place I wanted to go home to, that taxi driver wouldn't have any reason to take me there in the first place.

       

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      techflaws (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      This analogy springs up in EVERY discussion about the new law, NO proponent ever has reacted to it knowing all too well how bad it would make them look.

       

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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:48am

    The real irony?

    If those making such proposals were to actually use google, they could look up what's happened every single time a company or government has tried to pull a stunt like this.

    Hint: Google has yet to be the one to back down first.

    Also, and I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I can't help but think that one of the aims of this bill is to allow major news groups to shut down any smaller 'amateur' news sites that are competing with them, by going around and shaking them down for money for reporting on anything the 'majors' might have covered. I suppose it would come down largely to what qualifies as a 'commercial operator'.

    If that turns out to be any site that has news and makes money(like say from ads), then it's either dangerously general, or probably is aimed at taking out competition.

     

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      Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:05am

      Re: The real irony?

      And does this mean when individuals or small pubs are first to break the story, the majors will start paying them to use it?

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: The real irony?

        Nice idea/joke, but it would probably go more along the lines of this:

        1. Individual or small publication breaks a story first.
        2. As they are not considered 'commercial', the news is considered public, and the big players swoop in and make their own report on the story, 'borrowing' heavily from the first report for facts and quotes.
        3. Now that the big news group has reported on it, it is no longer considered 'public', and they go around to the original source sites claiming they either take their version down, or pay a fee to have it up.
        4. Profit!

         

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    John Doe, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:49am

    What about tips to a waiter/waitress?

    Shouldn't a restaurant get all or most of the tips customers leave for the wait staff? After all, the wait staff are just bringing (linking) the food (content) that belongs to the restaurant? Surely there isn't a symbiotic relationship here where both gain?

     

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      nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:40am

      Re: What about tips to a waiter/waitress?

      No, waiters should actually tip the customers for choosing to eat at their restaurant, as they do in Germany.

       

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    average_joe, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:55am

    Big surprise, mike supporting big search taking money away from the people who make the content while not giving anything back

     

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      Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      It's always been the service providers who get the money, the creators have always gotten shafted.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:42am

      Re:

      They are giving something back: free advertising and internet traffic.

      You're as dumb as you've always been.

       

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      nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:45am

      Re:

      Oh hey AJ, how much did you pay Mike to read the article and for the privilege of commenting on it?

      Typical Average_Joe taking money away from the people who make content (TechDirt in this case) while not giving anything back.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:58am

      Re:

      Dear Mr. average_troll:

      People who make the content have always been able to create a simple robots.txt file that would stop Google from indexing their content. If they are too stupid to create a robots.txt file, then they don't belong on the Internet.

      If they are too stupid to create a robots.txt file, then Google can help them do what they want to accomplish by simply refusing to index their sites.

      That should make them and you happy. Their headlines would not appear in Google News. Isn't that what they want?

       

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      Mr. Applegate, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      Google is just like a phone book. You remember those right?

      Look at that model. You got a white pages listing with your phone bill. If you wanted to 'advertise' in the yellow pages you had to pay extra to do that. If you didn't want a listing, you had to pay to have your listing removed.

      Since that model was used for well over 50 years it is a valid model.

      Google lists it all for free, allowing everyone to find what they want, and ignore what they want. The fact that the newspapers haven't yet figured out how to make money on the web is not a reason to penalize those that have.

      Perhaps Google should CHARGE newspapers for listings after all they are providing the advertising for each and every article.

       

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    Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 4:57am

    Linking or excerpts

    Really, all this because of the excerpts that sites like Google or summaries that sites like Facebook tend to include with their links? The whole point is to get people interested in the article and follow the link, there's very little in the included "content" of value by itself. Those who's jobs really depend on referencing articles still need to read the rest to get anything from it. However, it sounds like these sites could just drop that and simply include a link to the article. Oh, wait, the link title still is too much? OK, something generic, like the publication's name should be content neutral, right? Except, no one would know what the link is for, or care.

    Google or Facebook make their money by providing services, services to uses and services to advertizes--mostly the later. However, the links themselves are effectively advertising for the sites they link to, and they get that for free. Search sites, social media, even aggregators, make nothing off the tiny bits of content from these publications. If the law passes, the only ones who will actually be effected are the publications themselves. The rest of net will have to cripple or remove their links to German publications, but will otherwise go on as usual. The publications, however, might as well tie a tourniquet around their necks and mummify themselves in bubble wrap. Effectively cutting themselves off from the rest of the net will do nothing to stop the bleeding or slow their fall, but at least then no one will hear them cry or care will the hit bottom.

    Companies that obsess over content just don't get it, it's always been about the service. They used to make their money by providing relevant services to distribute their content, but others came along a created even better services with far lower cost than their own. They could simply cut their cost and use the cheaper services, which internet news sites have done. They could even create their own alternative service, but to do that, they would have to understand what makes these new services successful, or even what made their own service successful in the first place.

     

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      out_of_the_blue, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:18am

      Re: Linking or excerpts

      IF the services are valuable, why can't Google charge for them?

      IF the services are essential to society, then must not be left to corporate interests alone, without regulation or input from those who are "served".

      Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

       

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        Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:28am

        Re: Re: Linking or excerpts

        You don't have a clue how Google really works, do you? Google does charge for their services.

        Google or Facebook make their money by providing services, services to uses and services to advertizes--mostly the later.

        Google isn't the only way to find information online. They don't have a monopoly... Someone else who can do it better can replace either of them, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

         

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        Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:36am

        Re: Re: Linking or excerpts

        IF the services are essential to society, then must not be left to corporate interests alone, without regulation or input from those who are "served".

        You're right, the Internet is essential to modern society, and it shouldn't be left to corporate interest without any input from the public. But Google is NOT the Internet. Seriously, look up now to do a "trace route" and start plugging in addresses. Almost none of them actually go through Google.

         

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        DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:07am

        Re: Re: Linking or excerpts

        > IF the services are essential to society,
        > then must not be left to corporate interests alone,
        > without regulation or input from those who are "served".



        IF COPYRIGHTS and PATENTS are essential to society,
        they must not be left to corporate interests alone,
        without regulation or input from those who are "served".

         

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        Mr. Applegate, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re: Linking or excerpts

        "IF the services are valuable, why can't Google charge for them?"

        They DO charge for them they are the 'sponsored links' at the top.

        They don't have to charge the end user because they get their money by telling others what you are interested in.

        "IF the services are essential to society, then must not be left to corporate interests alone, without regulation or input from those who are "served". "

        They are not 'essential to society' they are 'valuable to the companies' and they are 'convenient for the end user'.

        If google turned off search tomorrow no one would die. Many companies (and a lot of news sources would since they would no longer have website visitors), but that would be of their own doing and there is no need to regulate that. Consumers would move on without the convenience of search engines and the ESTABLISHED leaders would secure more dominance since it would cost much more to break into an existing market.

         

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:08am

    Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

    For those who think Google has magical algorithms that even it can't manipulate, read this:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/27/google_raters_manual/

    "It's widely believed that Google search results are produced entirely by computer algorithms - in large part because Google would like this to be widely believed. But in fact a little-known group of home-worker humans plays a large part in the Google process. The way these raters go about their work has always been a mystery."

    Google's secrecy provides endless scope for manipulating news and thereby swaying public opinion. It's a prototype for Orwell's Ministry Of Truth. -- When Google becomes the only source, how will you check anything? You kids blithely keep assuming that there are no bad actors and you'll always have choices. But as the supposedly "free market" in goods is visibly narrowing down to Chinese-made goods at Wal-Mart so too is information becoming controlled by Internet gate-keepers replacing old media, that's all.

    Here's another indicative item:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2224589/Google-threatened-bartender-employee-accident ally-left-secret-phone-bar.html

     

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      identicon
      Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:17am

      Re: Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

      Since you haven't noticed, Google isn't the only way to find information online. They don't have a monopoly, and neither does Walmart. They are not gatekeepers, they are not stopping you from going to their competitors or trying to run them out of business. Well, actually Walmart does... Anyway, neither are too big to fail. Someone else who can do it better can replace either of them, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:46am

      Re: Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

      "When Google becomes the only source, how will you check anything?"

      Wow, time to invest in tinfoil. Is the CIA manipulating your brainwaves using high frequency lasers?

      But seriously, are you on schizophrenia medication? If not, you should seriously consider seeing a psychologist.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:11am

      Re: Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

      Daily Mail? Really?

      I did not think it was possible but you have further invalidated everything you have ever said by referring to the Daily Mail. Congratulations, idiot.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:16am

      Re: Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

      > For those who think Google has magical algorithms that even it can't manipulate

      Go learn something about providing a training data set to AI algorithms, then we'll talk. Until you understand the technology, there is nothing to say.

      But I'll give an example. The military wanted to train an AI neural net to recognize a picture of a tank on the ground, taken from an aircraft. So they provided many aerial photos with and without tanks, and manually indicated which ones had tanks. This was the training data set. But then the program didn't work! It turned out that they had instead unexpectedly trained the neural net to recognize overcast cloudy days. All of the tank pictures were taken on overcast days.


      > Google's secrecy provides endless scope for manipulating news
      > and thereby swaying public opinion. It's a prototype for
      > Orwell's Ministry Of Truth. -- When Google becomes
      > the only source, how will you check anything?

      Re-read the above, replacing Google with RIAA / MPAA.

      Google doesn't control what I read or what I think. I read TechDirt because I want too. Google cannot influence or control that. Even your insane lunatic ravings don't greatly influence that -- other than the comic relief it provides that reinforces my desire to visit.



      > You kids blithely keep assuming that there are no
      > bad actors and you'll always have choices.

      You are WRONG. I KNOW that in some cases there are bad actors who want to eliminate choices. See: Microsoft, Apple, RIAA, MPAA.

       

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      Mr. Applegate, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:11am

      Re: Inside "The Mechanical Turk".

      Sure google CAN manipulate the results. The question is why would they do that? It is not in their interests to manipulate results because they risk losing market share.

      So your thought is it is much better to trust one news story from one source than to be able to find hundreds?

      I am sure you have access to the one true truth. (NOT!)

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Google should just pre-emptively resolve the issue by not linking to ANY German publications and see how long before they scream over the lost traffic.

    Morons.

     

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      identicon
      Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:23am

      Re:

      If no one one goes to their sites anymore, who will hear them scream? Just saying...

      Or if a blind fool alone in the woods falls, does it profit? At least when one other person is around, it'll eventually end up on youtube.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Jess, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      Germany will then argue their citizens are being oppressed and will then pass a law requiring Google to provide links to news sites and to pay the sites for linking to them.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Bets on Google just closing shop if they try it. You can't force a business to stay in business and pay you for the privilege.

         

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:36am

    "If sites like Google are making money"...

    IT'S NOT. Google makes nothing. At best it's a useful (and some cases necessary) advertising overhead, but it's totally re-distributive, NOT productive. Mike consistently mis-uses "makes" to bias readers toward the grifters whom he favors; he has NO industrial policy that even provides for actual producers, he takes all that for granted. Simply put: Mike favors Megaupload over Big Media, even though the former was illegally re-distributing the content that the latter actually produced.

    Mike is an Ivy League Technocrat, schooled in narrow views. (Often the programs are directly funded by The Rich.) The major focus of The Rich and corporations today is to re-distribute wealth from the actual producers (labor) to Born Rich leisured parasites.

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/ten-numbers-rich-would-fudged?paging=off

    Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged
    The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.

    1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:48am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Google provides free advertising to web services. The "better" google rates your web service the more free advertising they provide for your service.

      Please explain how this is predatory.

       

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      Ed C., Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:56am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Google does make money, a lot of money. However, Google isn't redistributive. Excerpts and thumbnails are not replacements for the original works. However, the collection of "relevant" excerpts and thumbnails supplied for searches is productive. No one could possibly comb billions of pages do the same thing on their own. Even generating the excerpts themselves is productive. Before you rant about that, remember that cited excerpts have been used long before the computer existed, and Google does cite them with links to the original pages. Which is the whole point you know. As for the article, do you have any idea how periodicals were searched before the internet existed? I do, and believe me, it was a pain in the ass. The best equivalent were periodical indexes. If you really hate search engines so much, start using those instead. When you get tired of that, then we can talk.


      The major focus of The Rich and corporations today is to re-distribute wealth from the actual producers (labor) to Born Rich leisured parasites.

      Now that's another issue altogether. Of course, if you really understood that, you would know which group the media execs fall into. (hint: they don't produce anything.)

       

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      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:01am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      > Google makes nothing. [. . .] it's totally re-distributive, NOT productive.

      If you don't like it, you are absolutely free to create a robots.txt file on your site and Google will happily stop indexing your site.

      What's your problem with that?

      It's an extremely simple and elegant solution. Just tell 'parasite' Google to stop indexing your site and you should be happy. Once Google stops stealing all the value from your site, you should become the richest troll in the world!

       

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      JWW (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:40am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Where the hell is this coming from? An anti-rich diatribe.

      Aren't you the asshole that always takes the side of the ginormous multinational media companies?

      You can take your effing "concern for the poor" hat off now.

      The only serious "ethical" value you seem to have is to disagree with Techdirt.

      Well at least Mike can be comforted in knowing that you drive hits to the site so he can make money off of you.

       

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      •  
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        John Fenderson (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

        Aren't you the asshole that always takes the side of the ginormous multinational media companies?


        Yes, he is. Apparently there are good and honorable ginormous multinational corporations and there are evil and despicable ginormous multinational corporations, and only OOtB can tell the difference.

        The funny thing is that I'm far from a fan of Google myself. I have major problems with many of their actions, and I avoid using their services. But I simply cannot fathom the nature or depth of Blue's GoogleHate. It comes across as pure insanity to me.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

          "But I simply cannot fathom the nature or depth of Blue's GoogleHate"

          Its easy, ootb's masters hate Google because it allows people to find files that infringe on their copyright.

           

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    •  
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      BentFranklin (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:52am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Google makes nothing.

      Google makes software.
      Google makes websites.
      Google makes data centers.
      Google makes phones.
      Google makes email servers.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:57am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Google can live without German newspaper sites. German newspaper sites aren't going to live without Google. It really is that simple.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

        The small newspaper sites would suffer more from losing Google, but they are also probably the ones with enough sense to charge a €0 linking fee (or an equivalent arrangement). Then it will just be a question of whether the major companies back down in time to stay major (since if people switch which online newspapers they read, it might shift what dead tree newspapers are read too).

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:52am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Every time I read one of your post I feel like I lose a few IQ points.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

        You aren't alone in that feeling. I also feel the same thing whenever I read one of bob's post. I've intentionally killed a lot of brain cells over the years with alcohol and other substances, but never once did I feel like I was actually doing any real harm. Then I started read OotB's and bob's posts and I could hear my brain cry out in actual pain as it lost IQ points and brain cells from reading their nonsense.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:23am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      "IT'S NOT. Google makes nothing. At best it's a useful (and some cases necessary) advertising overhead, but it's totally re-distributive, NOT productive."

      Sigh.

      Ok, lets ignore for the moment all the other things Google makes (Android, etc.) listed in other comments, and focus on just Google Search.

      1) Google Search doesn't distribute content. It tells users where to find content. The users then have to go somewhere else to actually get the content. If there is any sense in which they can be considered a distributor, it is in that they "distribute" user traffic to the sites they index.

      2) Google Search does make something. They make a gigantic database of what websites are most relevant to anything a user might want to know about. That is extremely useful information that did not exist until Google created it.

      3) News services are "redistributors" of information. That's what they do. They do not (when they are operating ethically) create the information they report. Does this mean their content has no value?

      4) Distribution is a fundamentally useful economic service. Goods (digital and otherwise) are more valuable when delivered from where they are produced to where they are in demand. This creates value. Are UPS and FedEx useless companies because they don't "make" anything?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      MrWilson, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re: "If sites like Google are making money"...

      Wow. -50 internets for you

      In the first paragraph you rant about Megaupload (which isn't Google and thus off-topic) redistributing the content of Big Media and then in the next paragraph you rant about the rich and corporations redistributing the wealth from the actual producers, completely blind to the fact that that is by definition what your employers in Big Media do with the content created by the artists - you know, the actual producers rather than the rich corporations.

       

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    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:42am

    I think an important point is the extent to which, when you go to many of these newspaper sites, you find that they are just aggregators too. You follow the links and 80% of the articles are just multi-page garbage copied from AP or UPI or elsewhere.

     

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    Seegras (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:03am

    This is war against scientific work and culture

    Because if you suddenly are prohibited to provide "excerpts" of "news" you are effectively banned from citing correctly.

    And what's more, being banned from repeating "news" means effectively you're not allowed to share culture. Some kind of corporate censorship on news.

    This is incredibly bad and a threat to democracy.

     

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    •  
      icon
      DannyB (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:20am

      Re: This is war against scientific work and culture

      It is the beginning of a digital dark ages. Whether we will descend into a digital dark ages remains to be seen.

      I doubt it would happen because there will simply become a divide of those who use Creative Commons type licensing (or similar) and those who want to lock everything up.

      News is news. It will spread. Even if in secret. No tyrant has ever been able to stop it.

      Similarly there will always be culture. Always has been. Always will be. It's just that the 'open' culture will succeed, while the closed culture will fail. It may take time, but look at how Microsoft vs Open Source has played out.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Niall (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:35am

      Re: This is war against scientific work and culture

      I suspect that it's one of those cases where all Google has to do is to block out all German addresses, and link them to a page that explains how this is the German government/court/GEMA's fault, and provide links to complain to these people...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: This is war against scientific work and culture

        Then they'll bitch about how that's somehow not fair.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    anon, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Dumb

    All google has to do is stop operating google in Germany, simple solution as then the people/businesses of Germany would be howling at the politicians to back down.

    I really think the businesses need to let the government know that linking is a basic structure of the internet, all google is doing is providing links to businesses in Germany.

    They are advertising them in fact free of charge, maybe Google should start asking for fees to link to sites, maybe double the fees they have to pay, as they are being treated like an advertising agency they should be paid like one too.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Random thoughts about this stupidity. No order implied.

    The internet was designed as a way to share information and is all about sharing! It is about providing people information, about sharing that information. It is about providing redundancy in access to that information. It in the end it is really about freeing information from the silos. So any problem accessing information is considered a fault to be routed around. Your website will be routed around.

    Information is a commodity, it is not a piece of personal property!! It is not a finite product.

    Information is not the exclusive property of any News Organization. The News Organizations are paid for how they present that information in a way people find useful. Not for the actual information. News Organizations still think that they have the "Exclusive" and that somehow that makes them the owner of the information. Wrong. Exclusive is a term that means we have it 10 minutes before 100 others do.

    The internet was designed to route around problems with access to data. So if your information is not accessible easily the internet will find better route to that information. Full Stop.

    People today find their information more often than not through a search engine. Deal with it or you will go away.

    Charging for links is the exact opposite of how the internet works. Linking to content is the foundation of the internet. If you put in place some kind of scheme to make incoming links cost the linking website anything then those links will go away. Period.

     

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    icon
    techflaws (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    German media campaigns pro LSR - calls Google a hypocritical

    The German government is set to take up the issue on Thursday

    On Thursday NIGHT around 11:15 p.m.! They initially tried to skip the debate by only exchanging written statements until a Twitter storm made them reconsider. Still, debating an important law at this hour shows their true colors.

    Of course this was widely anticipated since the whole German media (Süddeutsche Zeitung, FAZ, Spiegel, Handelsblatt, et. al) agitates against Google for DARING to equate their economic interests with the net community's freedom. Which is the definition of irony given the fact that the publishers so far have tried to keep the lid on any negative opinions concerning the proposed law losing the last shred of credibility they had left.

    You just can't make this stuff up!

     

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  •  
    icon
    Titania Bonham-Smythe (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Block country?

    The IQ Block Country Wordpress plugin allows you block traffic relating to a particular country. As a form of protest it would be pretty easy for people to deny visits to their website from people in Germany.

     

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    identicon
    relghuar, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    ...if publishers don't like being in Google's results...

    I'm pretty sure they DO like that.
    But they'd like even more if Google had to pay them for that, because who doesn't like free money, right?
    And if there's a handy government willing to provide that free money, they'd be stupid not to take it ;-)

     

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    icon
    Thomas (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Simple solution

    Have google remove all links to German sites. The news sites presume people will still go to them without google. let them find out.

     

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    Devils_Advocate (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    out_of_his_tree

    Anyone replying to "out_of_the_blue" has to be out of his mind.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    PAY TO LINK? They want to destroy the Internet!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Stopping indexing German news sites may work

    but a far more entertaining solution would be to only index, say, one German newspaper. All that traffic goes to one paper, and they get paid too.

    Can't see the other papers complaining at all about that.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Kam Solusar, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    The funny thing is, there's hardly any member of the two parties that form the present government, who's actually in favour of this law. They all know that it's going to be pretty bad (and various politicians have openly admitted it, though not in newspapers), but they're going through with it nonetheless because it was agreed upon in the coalition agreement years ago after heavy lobbying efforts by big newspaper publishers. And of course they all fear that the big newspapers won't like them anymore if they dare to vote against it.

    And then there's the fact that the owner of the biggest tabloid newspaper - which was the driving force behind this law - is a close personal friend of Angela Merkel...

    Publishers can only lose here. But the main loser in this will be journalism itself.

     

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    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    search engines

    When I read the headline, i thought, great now search engines will make a little more money.


    SE's have to pay to link and drive traffic?

    Blahhhhhh ha ha ha ha. F'in absurd.

    Next when Google/Bing/Yahoo stops driving traffic, they will cry like bitches and sue to get back on the index.


    Dammed if you do and dammed if you dont.

    Fucking crazy copyright bullshit. No wonder no one respects it.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Lordy, can you imagine an internet with no search providers? Wonder how long the Germans would put up with the nightmare before trying to kill their politicians.

     

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    identicon
    loudifier, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Google will find a way

    Just like life in Jurassic Park, Google will always find a way around whatever silly false technical obstacles are placed before it. The solution will be free and better than other products that demand your money.

    If this law goes through, google.de will not contain any links, but will still display the full URL (or maybe a custom shortened format) of any search results. Then Google will release an update to Chrome that automagically turns any non-hyperlinked, but fully qualified URL text into a clickable link.

    Law abided. Internet won.

     

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    icon
    Christoph Wagner (profile), Nov 28th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Funny thing about it

    The Leistungsschutzrecht has no real political proponents anymore. Back in 2009 CDU/FDP decided we need it (especially considering their history, someone probably paid for that / promised something for it). We have this weird "whip" (BE, German is "Fraktionszwang" and it essentially says that you have to stay with the pre-decided line of the parties that make up the government [CDU/FDP in this case]) and they don't really know how to get out of the hole in the ground they were digging for themselves.

    Personally I hope it comes into law and Google just removes all links to German newspapers. It'll probably hurt smaller and better publishers more than the big, crappy ones (especially Axel Springer, the main proponent, responsible for toilet paper like "BILD", comparable to British "The Sun") but I'll take that short term damage for the reeducation it'll hopefully bring.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 5:54pm

    Farewell http://google.nazi
    I hope the people fight this pay to link bullshit because if they don't Germany might loose Google.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    BillPrice, Nov 28th, 2012 @ 9:47pm

    Follow the Money, Honey

    Obviously, this is a plot to destroy the German press by denying them the revenue derived from search-engine references. Qui bono? The beneficiaries will be the German-language press in other countries, like Austria and Switzerland. To a lesser extent, other beneficiaries will be press (in other countries) published in languages the German people have learned to read.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Adolf Hitler, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    I'm back

    Hi. Adolf here again. If I was Google, I'd delist all German content from Google search, specifically corporate content. Then when Germany's corporate masters (not me) realize no one is going to their websites, they'll go back to the courts to force Google to index them. It's happened before in the Netherlands. Fucking Nazi's, let them choke on their bratwurst.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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