More on Google’s Publishing Settlement

Interest keeps growing among the publishing industry in its litigation settlement with Google.  I will be moderating the keynote panel on this subject for the book track at Publishing Business Expo on Tuesday, March 24 in NYC.    

This panel will be particularly exciting because the speakers will be primary representatives of the three constituencies represented in the lawsuit: Pat Schroeder, CEO of the book industry trade association AAP; Tom Turvey, director of content partnerships at Google; and Peter Brantley, head of the Digital Library Federation.  And one other panelist: Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs Books and Senior Fellow for Media at The Century Foundation.

Osnos ought to stimulate the discussion on this panel.  His recent blog post on the Google publishing industry settlement raises a fascinating point.  I alluded to this somewhat in a previous post on the subject but didn’t address it with the force and clarity that he does.  He throws a molotov cocktail into the deliberations among Google, publishers, and libraries by saying:

“Google has now conceded, with a very large payment, that information is not free. This leads to an obvious, critical question: Why aren’t newspapers and news magazines demanding payment for use of their stories on Google and other search engines? Why are they not getting a significant slice of the advertising revenues generated by use of their stories via Google?”

This should be an interesting discussion.


  1. Isn’t trying to get search engines and aggregators to pay for published content precisely what ACAP is about? Maybe you should have someone from ACAP represented.

  2. Interesting point, but I’d say not really.

    ACAP isn’t primarily about getting search engines to pay; it’s about retaining some measure of control over how content — mainly news content — is used by the search engines. A news organization like the Financial Times (parent company Pearson being a major ACAP supporter) wants to get people to its own website, where it charges subscription fees for access to content other than today’s news. It doesn’t want the content to be available anywhere else as such, but it would be happy to show snippets in search results so as to attract traffic.

    And it’s not just about money: for example, a news organization might put out a story and then issue a correction later to fix a factual error. Wire services like AP and Reuters do this routinely in their haste to move stories out on the wires as they happen. The news organization would like to be able to contain the damage and not have to contend with millions of copies of the incorrect story already indexed by the search engines.

    In other words, ACAP is about search and search results, not about terms for a user’s access to the full content. It’s a subtle but material difference.

    In fact I spoke with Google’s chief intellectual property counsel, Alex McGillivray, about this exact topic after a NYC Bar Association panel on the settlement last October, when the issue was — pun intended — hot off the presses. He said that they looked at ACAP and decided that ACAP is intended to solve a different problem than book search, so they didn’t adopt it in the book industry settlement.

    Of course I invite any of the ACAP board members or Rightscom folks involved in ACAP to weigh in here.

  3. This view is interesting:

    I think that many people on digitalization subjects take decisions like if the bits was apocalypse, maybe google take advantage of this,


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