With the print newspaper and magazine business model irreversibly in decline, these enterprises have to start demanding payment for use of their material, or they will disappear. And no one delivers more of that content online than Google does, through its search functions supported by advertising, the revenues from which go to its bottom line. The notion that “information wants to be free” is absurd when the delivery mechanism is making a fortune and the creators are getting what amounts to zilch.
- Google carries no newspaper content itself, beyond headlines, a few words and links. It sends people to content on newspaper sites–in fact, roughly 20-30 percent of traffic to most newspaper sites comes from Google. In other words, people aren't reading newspaper stories on Google; they're using it to find stories on newspaper sites. Odds are they wouldn't have gotten to those sites in any other way. Newspapers should be thanking Google for that traffic.
- Google News, no doubt a big part of Osnos' imaginary bogeyman and a key driver of that traffic to newspaper sites, carries no advertising. Check it out.
- One more: Osnos claims the precedent for newspapers forcing Google to knuckle under can be found in a deal that Google cut with the book industry to pay publishers for books that Google digitizes. Well, no, that was different. In that case, Google is putting entire copyrighted works online and forcing viewers to come to its site to read them. Again, Google sends viewers to newspaper sites to read content on those sites.