Google’s refusal to pay for news was attacked by publishers

0
222

Sina science and technology news in the morning of June 19, Beijing time, according to foreign media reports, a publisher Trade Organization said in a report submitted to the U.S. Department of justice that Google used its dominant position to force news organizations to sell their news content without getting enough compensation. The U.S. Department of justice is investigating possible antitrust violations by the Internet giant.
Google relies heavily on news content to attract traffic and boost its advertising business, but because it is an online platform with strong power, it is difficult for news organizations to actually negotiate with the company about its news content license, the news media alliance said in a paper published on Thursday. This is in sharp contrast to Facebook and apple, both of which pay publishers.
“The ability to negotiate with Google remains weak, and as a result, news publishers have to agree to Google’s unlimited use of their news content without paying,” Danielle Coffey, general counsel for the news media alliance, said in a statement
The report, the second in-depth analysis to the Justice Department, describes how Google violated antitrust laws. A research paper published last month pointed out that Google’s control of the digital advertising market is hurting publishers, who have difficulty selling advertising space on their websites because of Google’s technology lock-in. The paper is from a research project of public knowledge, a Washington policy group, funded by the Omidyar network, which is co founded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.
Public knowledge’s paper focuses on Google’s impact on publishers’ advertising sales, while this Thursday’s paper looked at the Internet company’s impact on news revenue. The publication of these two papers further exacerbated complaints and concerns about Google’s use of its dominant position to impede competition.
The U.S. Department of justice and a national team of state attorneys general have been investigating Google for nearly a year and are preparing to file a lawsuit in the biggest monopoly case since the U.S. sued Microsoft in 1998. The Justice Department has declined to comment on Thursday’s paper.
A person familiar with the matter said the media alliance plans to send the paper to the antitrust Committee of the judicial committees of the States and the house of Representatives, which is investigating Google and other large technology companies.
Publishers specifically targeted a technology created by Google in 2015, known as “accelerated mobile pages” (AMP), to reduce the loading time of mobile devices’ websites. Amp format articles are hosted on Google’s servers, not publishers’ servers. This allows Google to connect directly with its readers and thus collect data that is valuable to publishers.
Publishers actually have no choice but to use amp format, which helps them rank news content in Google search results, according to a paper published Thursday.
But Google has denied that using amp will affect search rankings, and said it is improving the delivery of its mobile phone’s hot news to remove the requirement for publishers to use the amp format. In a blog post updated last month, however, Google said “speed is a factor in Google’s search rankings.”.
“These are not new arguments, many of which are in fact inaccurate,” a Google spokesman said of the publisher group paper “There are many ways for news publishers to publish content, and search is just one of them – publishers control whether and how news content appears.”
Google said amp Technology was developed in partnership with publishers, and the company is now working with them “to increase advertising and subscription revenues,” most of which rely on business queries rather than news coverage.
The news media alliance called on Congress to pass legislation allowing publishers to collectively negotiate with Google and other platforms without violating antitrust laws.
“In short, by using similar monopolistic power and the threat of reducing search rankings, Google has decided on terms of service that cannot be negotiated, or otherwise restricted the use of content in the news industry to an unfair extent,” the paper concluded
Some newspapers with paywall have found that the amp format undermines their ability to turn readers into subscribers, the news media alliance said. A major newspaper has studied the conversion rate of mobile communication users into subscribers and compared it with amp format. The report shows that under amp traffic, the number of subscribers per million users decreased by 39%.
Although publishers’ complaints about Google’s use of its content date back many years, a 2007 court ruling found that Google’s use of thumbnails was justified under copyright law. According to the paper of news media alliance, since the ruling was made, Google is no longer just a search engine that leads users to original news websites, but a publisher that has become news content itself – a publisher that has used its power to surpass the principle of fair use of news.
“If the court reexamines Google, it may find that many of Google’s current use of newspaper content exceeds its reasonable use,” the paper said. So Google has no legal right to use the content without a license. ” (Qiaofeng)