AFP Gets Confused As To How The Internet Works

from the did-someone-just-wake-up-from-a-decade-of-sleep? dept

It is 2005, right? Sometimes you have to wonder when you read stories about a news agency like Agence France Presse (AFP) deciding that they should sue Google News over linking to their stories. Oh, the horror. How dare Google give them more traffic? Did someone in AFP’s legal department sleep through the past ten years of the internet? AFP is complaining about the reuse of headlines, the reuse of the lead, and the reuse of images. All three of which are clear fair use instances. However, much more importantly, these all drive traffic to these AFP stories. It’s hard to believe that there are still companies out there that don’t get this simple fact. There are billions of dollars being spent by people trying to get better placement in Google, and here’s one company suing Google for millions for daring to link to them.

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Comments on “AFP Gets Confused As To How The Internet Works”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Robots.txt?

Google does not honor robots.txt files, at least not in the traditional way.

If you tell Google to disallow certain areas, it will not cache those areas (allegedly), but it will still go into them. In order to truly disallow Google, one needs to add special META tags to all pages — tags that only Google honors. Shame on Google for not adhering to the established standard on this front.

Not that this changes anything with AFP.

hanzie says:

Re: No Subject Given

That’s what I heard as well. Apparantly, AFP sells stories (including headlines, images, etc…) to news sites, and Google indexed those. Which makes the lawsuits even more absurd: why is AFP suing Google if their clients are the ones who aren’t shielding this licensed content?

Seems to me that (at least from a legal point of view), AFP’s licensing agreement should simply oblige its partners to include an appropriate robots.txt with the licensed stories. Then, if Google doesn’t honour these, AFP might have a case.

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