Fight Over The Free Ride

Money Why did you give away the franchise?

Always a tough question to answer, why old media have allowed the Young Turks such as Yahoo! and Google to take our news headlines and summaries, package them with ads and personalizable add-ons, and make Wall Street shout while we sing the blues.

An effort emerges to stop the freebies.

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers has launched a global campaign to oppose the aggregators. It says it is exploring ways to "challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners," according to this Reuters article.

"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."

All eyes are on an upcoming U.S. court case Agence France Presse brought against Google for allegedly carrying its pictures, headlines and stories without permission.

An ally has joined the fight against Google: France. Well, at least it is on the battle field. President Jacques Chirac wants to fund a state-sponsored search engine, but he's more concerned about American dominance. Quel horreur.

Posted 02/01/2006 09:12:48 AM

If they have a "robots.txt" and they are still aggregating news, then it can be considered, at least, unethical. robots.txt

Daniel Rubin
Posted 02/01/2006 09:30:17 AM

What does that do??

Posted 02/01/2006 09:39:16 AM

"Search engines will look in your root domain for a special file named "robots.txt" ( The file tells the robot (spider) which files it may spider (download). This system is called, The Robots Exclusion Standard." Click the link, man :-P If they are still aggregating even if you specify that robots shouldn't download rss feeds, then it's unethical but I don't know if the robots.txt is the law of the land. A guy who was a major player in the invention of the Perl scripting language (used on unix & linux), who now lives and works around here, was basically whooped by his employer because he sent a letter to his boss (and others?) that his work was illegal or unethical, based on ignoring the robots.txt file. I can't remember where I read it, but I will search...

Posted 02/01/2006 09:46:07 AM

ironic isn't it... searching for a news article now :)

Posted 02/01/2006 09:59:14 AM

slashdot of course Article Ahh, read some of the letter on "" :) "Federal courts have upheld that web spiders must obey the established ROBOTS.TXT mechanism blah blah blah" (it's in pdf so I can't copy / paste) So there you have it. It's illegal. Just get those robots.txt files updated and it should be good. But then you get less visits to the site... It's a tradeoff.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 02/01/2006 10:05:45 AM


Posted 02/01/2006 11:02:41 AM

np, always glad to help with the tech stuff :)

Art Vandelay
Posted 02/03/2006 10:49:44 AM

You have to love the supreme irony of somone in the employ if a horrible anti-union money grubbing newspaper company (Knight-Ridder) that has almost all of its newspaper stories come from wire services to complain about this. Your awful newspaper sucks, as does your website.

daniel rubin
Posted 02/03/2006 12:19:20 PM

art, we pay for the wire stories we carry. think again.

Posted 03/02/2006 06:54:15 PM

huawb zinibriohr

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments