News.com Editor Explains Why Google Is Immoral
from the please-stop-reading-Charles-Cooper dept
Everyone, please stop reading the articles of CNET’s Charles Cooper. I’m taking on the big risk of incurring his wrath for daring to point to his latest column, where he rips into Google and others for their “immoral” behavior of daring to help people find content. I can’t figure out if this is just a column-sized troll attempt, or if Cooper just didn’t bother to think through what he wrote. He first points to the recent ruling in Belgium that forced Google News to stop linking to certain publications and declares that it’s about time (while failing to note that his own articles can all be easily found via Google News). He’s apparently upset that we’re not having a discussion over whether “it’s perfectly all right to profit from another company’s content without permission and without payment.” First of all, this isn’t true. That debate has been happening at great length throughout the world for quite some time. It’s not hard to find it if you do a quick search on Goo… oh, I get it. Cooper won’t use Google, because, after all, it’s simply profiting on the works of others without payment or permission.
What Cooper is really demonstrating is the power of jealousy to overwhelm a good business sense or any understanding of economics (and he trots out the old, wrong, line that copyright infringement is theft suggesting he also doesn’t understand the law). He’s wrong on both counts to say that Google does this without permission or without payment. On the permission side, the second you put something up on the web without any protections or logins, you are giving permission to have that content visited and for people to point to it. There’s no copyright violation at all in including a blurb (Cooper does understand fair use, I assume). So, there’s no problem there. As for “payment,” Cooper seems to have forgotten that not all payment is directly in monetary terms. Google “pays” sites by making their content easier to find so they get a lot more traffic. In other words, Google is improving the usefulness of the sites in its index. It’s helping people find articles like Cooper’s so that CNET gets more traffic which they can sell to advertisers so Cooper gets paid. Yes, they’re making his content more valuable. And the amazing thing is that they’re helping make Cooper’s content more valuable (gasp!) without charging him! I think, perhaps, it’s time that Google send Cooper’s bosses at News.com a bill. Anything else would be “immoral,” according to Cooper’s own logic.