Google CEO appeals to skeptical newspaper group

John Letzing
MarketWatch (MCT)

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt sought to allay newspaper industry executives' concerns on Tuesday, telling them they need to work together with the Internet giant while downplaying recent indications of growing friction between Google and the Associated Press.

Schmidt's remarks came shortly after AP executives expressed concern publicly about the growing ability of Internet services such as Google to control access to the news without properly compensating the organizations that produce it.

Schmidt told an audience at the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention in San Diego that the notion that Google is now at odds with the AP is overblown. The CEO pointed to a licensing agreement Google currently has with the powerful news organization.

"We have a very, very successful deal with the AP and hopefully that will continue for many years," Schmidt said.

And while Schmidt offered praise for the way newspapers initially embraced the Internet in the 1990s, he offered a less favorable impression of how they've sought to avoid having the distribution of their content pulled out from under their control since then.

"There wasn't an act after that," Schmidt said. "You guys did superb job, and the act after that is a harder question."

However, Schmidt acknowledged the role of Internet services such as Google in altering the business of delivering news to their own financial benefit. And he underlined a fundamental disagreement between Google and many of its detractors over what constitutes the legal use of copyrighted material.

Schmidt took issue with a question about the impending "erosion" of intellectual property rights for news publishers thanks to the Internet, while allowing that his understanding of the "fair use" of copyrighted material differs on the Web from that of many in the legal profession.

"All of these partially thought-through legal systems are being challenged by the ubiquity of the Internet," Schmidt said.

Google has been sued for copyright infringement by media companies including Viacom Inc., book publishers and others.

Schmidt also addressed questions about Google's ability to sift through news content and selectively present it alongside advertising without input from news organizations. Google uses an algorithm to present news stories that is indecipherable outside of the company, and is constantly being tweaked.

While Schmidt assured the news executives that content from their publications would "float to the top in our search ranking," he said the company also seeks to provide a platform for lesser-known, quality publications. "We've not come up with a way algorithmically to handle that in a coherent way," Schmidt said.

The CEO also offered up some frank criticism of the technical capability Internet sites built by newspaper publishers.

"I think the sites are slow," Schmidt said. "They're actually slower than reading the paper, and that's something that can be worked on, on a technical basis."

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.