07 February 2006

Copyright: Press Group challenges Search Engines

My thanks to Baker & McKenzie for bringing this news to my attention. A press release by the World Association of Newspapers dated 31 Jan 2006 announces that:

"A task force of global and European publishers organizations, led by the World Association of Newspapers, has agreed to work together to examine the options open to publishers to assert their rights to recognition and recompense, and to ultimately improve the relationships between content creators/producers and news aggregators and search engines."

This is not as yet a threat of litigation though the press release specifically refers to the possibility of "copyright enforcement and brand infringement" and mutters darkly about "Napsterization’ of content" („Napsterisierung“ in the German version). At least part of the campaign will be political. The press release states that the Association seeks meetings with Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Ominously, the offices of the Newspaper Association of America which is the US member are located in a street in Vienna, Virginia called Gallows Road. Further info from Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. T: +33 1 47 42 85 00. E: lkilman@wan.asso.fr.

PS. I have to say I feel a bit sorry for the poor old search engines in view of the bad press Google got for the deal that it made with the Chinese government. Even a censored version of the search engine is a pretty powerful info gathering tool for the Chinese public. As it showed the previous week over their refusal tamely to hand over search data, Google does at least stand up for the civil liberties and privacy of its American customers.

1 comment:

Journalist Tommy Hansen said...

Copyright under pressure in Danmark
Huge business market ready to burst - Danish website operates since 2002 with no copyright whatsoever. Companies and communities are gathering around the concept, which according to the traditional and mainstream media does not exist at all!

Until now, companies all over the western world have been depending on the classic media as the sole way to reach potential costumers in a larger scale. With decades of copyright restrictions, the media industry has been able to monopolize the huge and constantly growing business market within journalism, photography, information, advertising and public relations. A Danish typographer and journalist now challenge this whole system, as he since 2002 stubbornly has produced and published non-copyrighted information on his private website.
It has been four years of fight against neglect from the establishment. Although the leading Danish media has refused to tell about the concept, hundreds of Danish communities and companies have willingly gathered on the homepage www.pdfnet.dk. Search Engines from all over the world are frequently, some daily, visiting the site in order to maintain an updated cache-version of the articles. According to Google, PDFnet.dk has a PageRank 2, which for a private homepage is quite extraordinary.
No commercials
The explanation is simple: PDFnet contains real-life, journalistic information on a non-advertising basis. There are no Pop-ups and no commercials on PDFnet, technically it is simply a collection of updated articles and photos, searchable from A to Z – and through search engines as i.e. Google the users therefore find exactly what they were looking for, when they are led to the PDFnet.
“Non-copyrighted information has the potential to become the fastest growing industry since the Internet itself. It is a total change of business as usual, and of course no one in the Danish media world recognizes the demand. In 10 countries around Europe there are movements in order to abolish copyright; in Sweden a political party has just been formed. The established press cannot produce this concept, partly due to labour union agreements, partly because the press is commercially involved in distribution, printing and a lot of business areas, connected with the basic product, ´old fashioned´ copyright-restricted information. Thus the whole market of non-copyrighted information is available for entrepreneurs, and the business opportunities therefore are obvious and practically never-ending”, Tommy Hansen says.
Multinational clients
Among his clients are some of the multinational industries from i.e. Holland, Sweden and Texas, USA, but the main part of the companies on the PDFnet are smaller, Danish industries, communities and a lot of one-man operations. The product is journalism, published on the internet in a forum with no copyright restrictions. The information is in HTML- as well as in PDF-format, and newspaper typography is used to reduce the output from the Internet with up to 90 percent.
“In the old days, just five years ago, my articles were published in classic media and lost their value within a very short period of time. Because of the copyright, my articles could not be used for any other purpose at all. By turning the whole thing upside-down, I allow companies to use my articles in any commercial way they want, and the information is from day one and onwards at hand on the Internet. After being published on PDFnet, several of the articles appear in the printed trade press and special magazines, to whom PDFnet is a more and more tempting, electronic warehouse with free goods”, Tommy Hansen says.
The presence in the Internet of a journalistic story with no usage limitations has many and positive effects. From all over the world the clients – as well as anyone else - can print or forward information to support sales efforts or to supply immediate profile information, case studies or photos. In case of printing the information, the typographic format PDF uses only one piece of paper per story, where a normal print command would result in 3-4-5 pcs – newspaper typography can reduce up to 12 pages to one single page!
Extreme potentials
Because of the non-copyrighted concept, every piece of electronic information on PDFnet contains extreme potentials, when it comes to new business. Photos and words can be used directly in physical as well as digital products, and the pre-layouted PDF-pages, created with newspaper typography can be elements in printed magazines as well as homepages. The key issue is the possible unlimited access to all information, published on the PDFnet.
“The question of copyright in an Internet-based world is a theme, avoided by practically every traditional media. All over the Internet, however, is a rapidly increasing movement to get rid of the copyright. Universities and cultural societies are gathering in news groups, where it is regarded as common sense to totally drop the copyright on digital products. Copyright and Internet are incompatible”, Tommy Hansen says.
While no media has dared touch the subject, the word about PDFnet has spread from mouth to mouth. Almost every leading search engine has found and recognized the Danish PDFnet, and on a weekly basis, thanks to the search engines, thousands of people are finding what they are looking for on the PDFnet.


No copyright - high visibility
PDFnet has proven to fulfil almost every demand from the search engines, and this private Danish website is ranked like some of the worlds much larger and professional websites. On PDFnet you find contents of factual information, no advertising, no pop-ups and absolutely no hidden search phrases. PDFnet is a Danish internetmedia with no copyright, and because of the amount of information and the update frequency the information from PDFnet gets a high exposure in the search results.