Is Google Stealing Content?

It’s an interesting question. AP head Tom Curley and Australian media leviathan Rupert Murdoch both stated they felt that Google was thieving their content. How? Well, apparently Google are more enablers, rather than outright thieves – in other words they are the conduit by which people get to see the content for free.

This has especially been a bugbear of Murdoch’s, who via his Wall Street Journal publication is pushing hard for paid content to be the norm. Will it happen? Well, it seems that is the financial model that he wants to pursue, but I find it hard to see how he is going to make it work long term, when so many of the stories he carries end up being free from other sources. The only way he can make it work is to convince everybody – including bloggers – to make their content subscription based. That will not happen. Sure, you might get a hard core group of people who like great, well researched journalism, but in this day and age, to me at least, it seems the average punter likes McNews – quick and easy, no fuss.

I’d also take issue with Curley and Murdoch’s contention that Google is nicking their content. All Google searchs do is have an opening sentence – if that – then a link to the article. Hardly a reproduction. But that aside, don’t those Google searches drive people to their websites?

It’s a curly situation, but I won’t hold my breath giving out the answers because I know the two other main ways of advertising on the web – straight out ads, or revenue based on click-throughs – have their detractors and problems, too.