by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 11th 2012 3:01am
by Glyn Moody
Mon, Mar 5th 2012 2:28pm
from the not-this-again dept
Some bad ideas just keep on coming back, despite the fact that they are manifestly stupid. Trying to get Google and others to pay for the privilege of sending more traffic to newspapers by including short snippets from their stories is one of them. Of course, logic would dictate that the newspapers should be paying Google for the marketing it provides, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.
Last year, the Belgian courts decided that Google was infringing on newspapers' copyrights just by linking to stories. Google was ordered to remove those links, at which point the newspapers started whining about "harsh retaliation" -- even though it was the court's decision, not Google's, and it was the newspapers' legal action that brought this about.
Sadly, the German government doesn't seem to have been paying attention to that rather ridiculous saga -- or maybe simply doesn't care -- and has just announced that it will bring in a compulsory licensing scheme for the use of even "small parts" of journalistic articles on commercial sites (original German).
The justification is that this will allow publishers to share in the financial benefit arising from this use, and for authors of the articles to receive an "appropriate" contribution, whatever that means. To do that, of course, will require the creation of yet more bureaucracy: a new collecting society (let's hope it doesn't turn out like the German music collection agency GEMA.)
What that overlooks, of course, is that Google, clearly the main target here, doesn't make any money from its Google News service, which is ad free. It would be nice to see Google simply remove all links, as happened in Belgium, and then wait for the German publishers to start complaining about this further example of "harsh retaliation". Sadly, that's unlikely to happen, since Google tends not to take a particularly aggressive stance on these issues (probably hoping to avoid further anti-trust complaints.)
Of course, the analysis above assumes that the still extremely vague proposal is simply a plan to skim some money off major Internet players like Google and to hand it to the German publishing industry so the latter doesn't need to worry about innovating. But given that the copyright industries' sense of entitlement knows no bounds, it's even possible that publishers want this scheme to apply to every quotation from their newspapers and magazines -- including those in blogs with any Google Ads, say, and Facebook posts. Now might be a good time for German Internet users to start raising the alarm, just in case.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 3rd 2012 1:43pm
from the more-likely-to-impact-them dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 28th 2011 11:48am
from the hitting-the-big-time dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Nov 18th 2011 6:10am
from the the-scarcity-mentality dept
The problem is that the AP is apparently dreadful at chess. It doesn't think beyond the single move ahead. So, yes, perhaps they don't get the "break" on the news that an AP reporter was arrested -- that goes on Twitter. But is it really that bad? Let's just play out the scenario. Assume the story goes viral on Twitter. Remember, this is 140 characters, not a full blown article. If the message goes viral, then tons more people are seeing that short message and are curious about the details -- the details that aren't going to show up on Twitter anyway. But having that tweet out there, so it can go viral, means building interest in the story, and from that, it seems like any story would end up receiving more traffic, because the Twitter messages "primed the pump." I honestly can't fathom a scenario in which people see the tweets and decide that it acts as a full replacement for the eventual news article.
Mathew Ingram makes a key point on all of this. If a single 140-character tweet is acting as a suitable replacement for your reporting... you've got bigger problems:
The other thing the Associated Press needs to think about is that if a 140-character post or two by one of your reporters on Twitter is a threat to your news service, then you have a problem that can’t be fixed by simply enforcing your social-media policies more stringently. This argument feels very similar to the debates that newspapers used to have when they first put up websites — about whether to post breaking news to their site, or “save” it for the paper. This was fundamentally a lose-lose situation, as most newspapers discovered, since saving it often involved others breaking the news first on their websites.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 22nd 2011 9:36am
One Entertainment Business Publication Sues Another For Copyright Infringement For Having The Same Stories
from the idea-expression,-nikki dept
"PMC (the company that owns Deadline.com) is taking a stand against desperate and copycat news organizations and media outlets such as THR that constantly monitor PMC’s websites for the sole purpose of copying and imitating PMC websites’ news stories and original content within minutes after online publication. These copycat media outlets such as THR, rather than conducting their own independent reporting and investigation, developing their own sources and insiders, and generating their own leads and stories, simply steal PMC’s content and pawn it off as their own. In truth, THR, faced with the harsh reality that it had become a second-rate entertainment industry news source unable to attract insiders’ attention anymore."THR, for its part, claims the whole thing is ridiculous, and many of the stories mentioned were on both sites because Hollywood publicists sent the same info to both sites:
"An initial review of the complaint shows that it is replete with examples of stories that originated from widely-released press releases from publicists, or widespread confirmations from publicists to numerous outlets, including both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com. It is not copyright infringement to report these stories, even if on occasion Deadline.com posts them first."While I don't always agree with THR's coverage, on this one, I'm on their side. Reporting on the same story -- even if you find out about it from the other site -- is not copyright infringement. It's often how news works. Someone should explain to Finke the idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law, as well as the important tidbit of information that you can't own facts, and others are free to write about the same facts.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 28th 2011 1:43am
from the tend-away dept
Or, you know, you could just use an RSS reader. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. And not pay the monthly fee.
I'm reading through the various details and stories on this project, and the one question I keep asking which isn't answered anywhere is what is the additional value this brings to the table. When the very best that the operation's boss man can do to explain his value proposition is to say "this is another option," you're in trouble. This isn't providing any more value for the (much higher) price. It seems to be targeted at fools, which is no way to build a business these days.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 13th 2011 8:02am
Reddit, Digg, Fark, Slashdot, TechCrunch & Others Sued Over Ridiculous 'Online Press Release' Patent
from the like-that-will-work dept
Apparently whoever is behind Gooseberry got tired of simply trying to demand cash from mom-and-pop press release services, and has now decided to sue a bunch of online services, Digg, Reddit, Fark, TechCrunch, and others. What do any of those companies have to do with generating press releases online? You've got me. Of course, some of those sites are pretty good at teaming up and doing good deeds. So, perhaps the Reddit crew might be able to figure out who really holds this patent?
The whole thing looks pretty ridiculous. For example, this is the section on how it claims Reddit violates the patent:
Plaintiff is informed and believes that Advance owns, operates, advertises, controls, sells, and otherwise provides hardware, software and websites for "news and press release services" including via the reddit.com website ("the Advance system", available at www.reddit.com). Upon information and belief, Advance has infringed and continues to infringe one or more claims of the '535 patent by making, using, providing, offering to sell, and selling (directly or through intermediaries), in this district and elsewhere in the United States, systems and methods for entering and providing structured news and press releases. More particularly, Plaintiff is informed and believes that Advance has and/or require and/or directs users to access and/or interact with a system that receives and stores separately specified portions of a new or press release and that assembles a news or press release in a predetermined format.This is basically the same basic language used against all the sites sued. It's basically a ridiculous attack on lots of well-known tech blogs and news aggregator sites, claiming they somehow infringe on this ridiculous patent. I find it especially amusing that they've included Slashdot in this attack, seeing as Slashdot's system (which really hasn't changed that much over the years) predates the patent filing by a few years. Seems like the prior art on this one is likely to be pretty strong. Of course, fighting a patent infringement lawsuit, no matter how bogus, can be quite expensive. Hopefully these sites are willing to team up and pool resources. Thankfully, most of the sites involved are owned by much larger companies who can (and hopefully will) fight this.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 21st 2010 4:00am
from the can't-think-of-many-worse-ideas dept
Curley indicated that the clearinghouse's biggest moneymaking opportunity is likely to be the licensing of copyright-protected content to mobile phones and an array of computer tablets such as Apple Inc.'s iPad and emerging competitors.Huh? You license content to website or apps, not to platforms... This seems to have absolute disaster written all over it.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 15th 2010 12:46am
from the blog-aggregator? dept
However, that's not going to stop ongoing legal actions from those publishers against the aggregators they believe are a problem. One reason for this is that the specific legal situation at times can be a bit vague, as internet aggregators are quite different than past businesses. If you're interested in this subject, you should absolutely read Kimberly Isbell's very thorough look at the legal issues related to online aggregators. She very carefully breaks out the different types of aggregators (though, I'm a bit surprised that people seriously consider commentary blogs to be "aggregators") as well as the specific legal issues facing each of the different aggregators. The problem, which becomes clear, is that the law is not anywhere close to settled on the key issues, and leave an awful lot of key questions up to the interpretation of whatever judge gets the cases in question. We've discussed in the past the idea that it's often possible to take the "fair use" factors and interpret them in either direction (something is or is not fair use), and the same may be true with "hot news" in some cases as well. That's a problem, and makes both concepts somewhat useless and dangerous as well. If you have a law where the boundaries are incredibly vague, unclear, and up to the whims of a randomly selected judge, it leads to potentially damaging situations, where people avoid liability by not even trying to do certain things for fear of getting sued.
The concept of hot news is now being tested in a few different courts, so we can be hopeful that within a few years, perhaps, the courts will dump the concept entirely as a violation of the First Amendment (an analysis that hasn't been done yet), but with that question still up in the air, there's still a chance that a confused court could rule otherwise, creating a massively damaging situation for value added content services online.