Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google's Copyright Woes

I do find it interesting, as Google is being sued over its Google Print service, how differently online and traditional publishers view copyright - and Google's services. For most online publishers, being included in Google's index is a blessing, bringing both traffic and revenue. It is expected that Google's spiders will attempt to reach any given site, and it is accepted that it is the site owner's responsibility to install a file or line of code which will instruct Google (or any other search engine) not to index its content. It is understood that in the process of indexing content, every major search engine maintains a copy of the code from the page and, again unless instructed otherwise, will display that "cached page" to users of their services.

In the print world, the reaction seems to be anger and fear - how dare Google suggest that copyright owners "opt out" if they don't want Google to maintain a copy of their works on its servers? It will be interesting to see how this pans out - and if as a result of this litigation over printed matter, at the end of the day webmasters will have to expressly invite Google (and other spiders) in before they will be included in search engine results.

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