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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 20 Mar 2005 @ 11:48pm

    Robots.txt?

    One thing I've been wondering about this story: Did AFP not have an appropriate "robots.txt" file on their site or was Google refusing to honor it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2005 @ 1:58am

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Bill, 3 Mar 2006 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Robots.txt?

      Are you stupid? I would kill to have press, or any kind. A free service to drive people to my web site. And you wonder if they had a proper robots.txt file? Unbelieveable. The point is totally lost on you.

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

  • identicon
    Another Anonymous, 21 Mar 2005 @ 2:31am

    No Subject Given

    You're missing the point. It's not about G indexing the AFP site. It's about G indexing AFP content on news sites.

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

    • identicon
      hanzie, 21 Mar 2005 @ 4:27am

      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.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.