Monday, November 16, 2009

Rupert Murdoch vs Google

As I read this piece on media mogul Rupert Murdoch's crusade against the search engines and portals like Google, I was reminded about the legend of King Canute.

pix from here


walla said...

This is puzzling. Unless it is viewable only by subscriptions, a newspaper or magazine site has free-view public content and firewalled view-by-subs content.

Is Newscorp saying that googlebots have gobbled up not only its free section but also penetrated its firewall and gobbled up its view-by-subs sections? Wow, talk about those teeny cute blue things (pacman-like) in the detergent packs some years back.

How is this possible? What mode is the content displayed? By link or in full text? And if in full text, where is the text pasted?

If the text is pasted by a subscriber in a non-newscorp website, then the problem is not with google which only searches texts across the worldwide web. It would be like blaming the binoculars for what is seen.

So it seems that it's either Newscorp's own defense system or its subscribers' easy fingers. Googlebots don't target firewalled sites directly otherwise all paid content would have been viewable by now by cluster bombing.

By way of examples, take subscribed content providers like factiva, lexis-nexis or even westlaw. One can't use google to search, list out and open their content. They have logins. Whatever those are. It's not like this (which has closed):

If what Newscorp is pissed about is lack of attribution, then to each article, banner it: you are reading this with compliments from Newscorp, your global local media giant. Or something. That of course means it will not get direct hit rates at its own sites which bloggers will tell you can yield some adsense income. Maybe enough for the next cuppa.

Which brings to mind something else. How do our doctors keep currency on the latest in medical techniques? If you ask your locum, he or she will say no time. So do they depend on their foggying memories of what they had read twenty years back in their Kumar Clark? Plus their handy DIMS (pharmacopeia)? Plus what the drugs salesman professed?

A lot of the world's best medical papers are viewable only by subscription. In some cases, the author has to sign over to the content host his copyright just to have the article published online. In most cases, the academician or rsearcher is paid a small portion of the pay-per-view revenue on something he would have to do anyway in his already-paid job which itself is peered by publish-or-perish criteria. And the content host charges something like US30 per view for an article which may have maybe five lines useful to a volunteer medical doctor under friendly fire in some place in say Afghanistan. How many such souls have USD30 in their pockets? Even for bandages?

Having said that, it is true there is a gini coefficient on intellectual content. It is getting bigger between west and east. It is an intractable problem. Let's say Newscorp blocks Google. All the latter need to do is host its googlebots in some other site. Like say blogger and then use that to creep up and index everything in the still of the night. So Newscorp blocks blogger. And some. In the end, the worldwide web closes down. Except for Newscorp.

This reminds one of some of the criteria used for not issuing permits to assemble for things like lighting candles to keep virgils. Must be out of some canutian concern for public safety from fire hazards.

Sleep well tonight.

de minimis said...

I believe the basic issue is that Murdoch wants search engines and portals to pay subscription/royalties for using news content generated by his News group. It's about monetising news.