BoomTown Decodes Google's Phish-y Associated Press Blog (So You Don't Have To)!

Published on April 8, 2009
by Kara Swisher

Yesterday, in response to Associated Press board Chairman and MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton’s diatribe against those who shoplift news and his pledge to “protect news content from misappropriation,” Google posted a response on its public policy blog.

Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that most people think the Singleton speech was aimed at the search giant and its burgeoning power over the distribution of media, although Google was not named by him.

Still, it’s always nice to make nice. Sort of.

So, it was hard to resist translating this Google (GOOG) blog by one of its lawyers.

Google wrote: Some questions related to Google News and the Associated Press
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 8:03 AM
Posted by Alexander Macgillivray, Associate General Counsel for Products and Intellectual Property


Translation: Questions? Someone has questions about our practices? OK, we will answer them only to assuage the panic among the little brains about our size and power over IP.

But remember: They don’t call us Googzilla for nothing!

Google wrote: Yesterday I entered the following search in Google News: [Phish in mountain view]. The search results led me to click on this headline, which took me to the full story by the San Jose Mercury News about Phish’s upcoming concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Translation: Hey, we might seem like geeks over here at the Googleplex, chomping on organic flax crackers and making up scary algorithms, but we know of this hip Phish phenom. We looked it up under “hip” on Google!

[Complete digression: BoomTown was in a car pool with the very sweet Trey Anastasio for many years in middle school, and he was not such a hipster then!]

Google wrote: Users like me are sent from different Google sites to newspaper websites at a rate of more than a billion clicks per month. These clicks go to news publishers large and small, domestic and international–day and night.

Translation: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Google wrote: And once a reader is on the newspaper’s site, we work hard to help them earn revenue. Our AdSense program pays out millions of dollars to newspapers that place ads on their sites, and our goal is that our interest-based advertising technology will help newspapers make more from each click we send them by serving better, more relevant ads to their readers to generate higher returns.

Translation: Money makes the world go around,
the world go around, the world go around,
Money makes the world go around,
it makes the world go round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
a buck or a pound, a buck or a pound,
Is all that makes the world go around,
that clinking clanking sound,
Can make the world go round.

Google wrote: The Associated Press (AP) recently issued a press release announcing plans to develop an initiative to “protect” the newspaper industry’s content online. Since then, some readers, users and journalists have asked us if the AP’s plan is about Google since we host complete AP articles. The answer is that it doesn’t appear to pertain to Google since we host those articles in partnership with the AP. We announced that partnership in 2007 as part of an experiment in hosting articles on our site. In hosting agreements such as this, we pay news agencies and display the entire text of articles, such as this one from the AP about President Obama’s visit to Turkey.

Translation: Ain’t nobody here but us chickens!

Hey, we pay up some! Not a lot! But some. I mean, YouTube doesn’t pay up and it has tons of content on the site that is not theirs.

Wait, we own YouTube. Forget that example.

Back to chickens. Nobody here!


Google wrote: We drive traffic and provide advertising in support of all business models–whether news sources choose to host their articles with us or on their own sites, and whether their business model is ad-supported or based on subscriptions. In all cases, for news articles we’ve crawled and indexed but do not host, we show users just enough to make them want to read more–the headline, a “snippet” of a line or two of text and a link back to to the news publisher’s website.

Translation: Hey, we only give consumers a little smackeral, in the lingo of the great Winnie the Pooh. Well, yes, that bear does always end up gobbling all the honey. Forget that example.

Back to chickens then, but chickens with an advertising-supported business model!

Google wrote: In the U.S., the doctrine of fair use enshrined in the US Copyright Act allows us to show snippets and links. The fair use doctrine protects transformative uses of content, such as indexing to make it easier to find [pdf]. Even though the Copyright Act does not grant a copyright owner a veto over such uses, it is our policy to allow any rightsholder, in this case newspaper or wire service, to remove their content from our index–all they have to do is ask us or implement simple technical standards such as robots.txt or metatags.

Translation: Oh yes, the fine print. Legal stuff–fair use, transformative, indexing. In other words, we’re covered, and 3,476 Washington lobbyists have our back.

But hey, here is some technical stuff and we’ll also take it out–all you have to do is ask, although it will effectively make you undiscoverable for all of time!


And, if you do then want us to take it out, comb through our gazillions of search results to find your stuff, over and over and over again, like gerbils on a treadmill. We totally hope that does not exhaust you in every way possible.

Google wrote: As for Phish in Mountain View this summer, asking will get you nowhere because the tickets are already sold out.

Translation: Also, for anyone keeping score, Phish owes us too, since no one would have found tickets without us. Google HQ is right smack up against Shoreline Amphitheatre, so we are watching.

So let’s review: Ozymandias, King of Kings. Chickens. Smackeral. Hip.

Nothing to see here, so please enjoy this lovely Phish video of “Bouncing Around the Room” from YouTube (relax, it’s from their official channel):

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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