Thursday, March 24, 2005
This is all very nebulous stuff, but if the case makes it to trial it may set a precedent for both news aggregator sites like Google News as well as blogs that use content from news sites. Under the broad outline AFP is using in its lawsuit, even links to stories may come under fire.
In a somewhat ironic twist, the thing Web journalists most hope for -- legitimacy -- may be an argument that AFP ultimately uses against them. Joshua Kaufman, a partner at law firm Venable LLP, which represents AFP, told eWeek that Google News should be viewed in the same light as a traditional newspaper, because the way it displays and uses content independent of a user's search request is akin to a traditional print publication.
Once this all shakes out, if AFP and the other producers of copyrighted content decide that their rights continue to be violated, online publishers will have a stark choice to make: pony up and start paying copyright fees, like the print papers and magazines that they want to sit at the table with; or run the risk of defending some big-time lawsuits.