crypto and public policy

French Schizophrenia

Filed under: General March 23, 2005 @ 9:23 pm

A few weeks ago, the director of the French National Library complained that Google had snubbed Europe by not including French books in the latest Google Print effort to digitize physical library books. I mentioned how I find this attitude frustrating.

And now, Agence France Press (AFP) has sued Google for copyright violation because Google News displays thumbnails of AFP photos. Why? Google only distributes small excerpts of articles and photo thumbnails. Anyone wanting to read the news must click through to the actual article. I cannot imagine how AFP is losing on this. A number of people who would otherwise never read an AFP article might become aware of them through Google News, which does a fantastic job of displaying as many sources as possible. Most companies pay Google good money for the right to have Google link to them.

Certainly, AFP is not the French National Library, but the problem seems the same: Google brings attention. AFP, for some reason, doesn’t want it. As a result, Google is now removing all AFP content from its news site. I wonder if someone will now complain that Google is snubbing French news.

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