European Papers to Challenge Google, Other Aggregators on Copyright Law

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By: E&P Staff

A group representing global newspaper publishers has launched a lobbying campaign to challenge search engines that aggregate news content, Reuters reported today.

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, whose members include dozens of national newspaper trade bodies, said it is exploring ways to “challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners.”

Web sites like Google and its Google News automatically pull in headlines, photos and short excerpts of articles from thousands of news sources, linking back to the publishers’ own site. “They’re building a new medium on the backs of our industry, without paying for any of the content,” Ali Rahnema, managing director of the association, told Reuters in an interview.

“The news aggregators are taking headlines, photos, sometimes the first three lines of an article — it’s for the courts to decide whether that’s a copyright violation or not.”

The campaign comes as a pending U.S. court case pits Agence France-Presse (AFP) against Google. AFP sued the company last year, alleging that Google News carries its photos, news headlines, and stories without permission. “Everybody will be watching that case very closely,” Rahnema said.

The World Association of Newspapers said it would seek a meeting with European Commission officials and look into whether the news aggregators are infringing on their copyrights or brands, Reuters reported.

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