Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

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


    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 thread ]

  2. 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 thread ]

  3. 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 thread ]

  4. 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 thread ]

  5. 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 thread ]

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