Group: Online Content Cannot Remain Free
Associated Press Writer
Dec 06 1:34 PM US/Eastern

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European publishers warned Tuesday that they cannot keep
allowing Internet search engines such as Google Inc. to make money from
their content. "The new models of Google and others reverse the traditional
permission-based copyright model of content trading that we have built up
over the years," said Francisco Pinto Balsemao, the head of the European
Publishers Council, in prepared remarks for a speech at a Brussels

His stance backs French news agency AFP which is suing Google for pulling
together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news Web sites.

"It is fascinating to see how these companies 'help themselves' to
copyright-protected material, build up their own business models around what
they have collected, and parasitically, earn advertising revenue off the
back of other people's content," he said.

"This is unlikely to be sustainable for publishers in the longer term."

Consumers were drawn online by free content but this needed to change, he

"The value of content must be understood by consumers so that new business
models can evolve. Industry must have legal certainty and the confidence
that their intellectual property will be protected.

Balsemao said that good quality content produced by professionals would be
the "gold content" for new media.

Last March, Agence France-Presse claimed the "Google News" service infringed
on AFP's copyrights by reproducing information from the Web sites of
subscribers of the Paris-based news wholesaler.

It is seeking at least US$17.5 million (euro14.85 million) in damages, AFP
says Google is breaking rules on the "fair use" of copyright material
because its news site looks similar to AFP subscribers.

The Google News service, which debuted in 2002, scans some 4,500 news
outlets and highlights the top stories under common categories such as world
and sports.

Many stories carry a small image, or thumbnail, along with the headline and
the first sentence or two. Visitors can click on the headline to read the
full story at the source Web site.

Yahoo Inc. has a similar service, though it uses human editors and pays some
news sources, including AFP and The Associated Press, for rights.

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