AFP v. Google News Update

AP story recapping AFP v. Google, quoting Zittrain and von Lohmann (among others). Contrary to some popular press reports, it appears that AFP is pressing on with the lawsuit despite Google’s redoubled efforts to kick them out of Google News.

I’ve posted my thoughts previously about the lawsuit, but after reading the complaint, some points that caught my eye:

· The complaint claims a copyright in the story “lead” in addition to headlines and photos.

· The complaint raises a copyright management information claim. Thus far, courts have been pretty unkind to those claims, so I’m not expecting this to get much traction. AFP makes an interesting argument that it includes watermarks in its photos and Google’s reduction of the photos makes the watermark illegible. While I think this argument is unprecedented, I also think it’s not going to succeed.

· The complaint does not raise a hot news claim, which is pretty surprising. Appears to be an oversight from my perspective. Perhaps AFP will amend their complaint.

While I’m a big fan of Google News and use it often, I’m not entirely clear how Google decides who is indexed at the site. Ultimately, Google may need to tighten up its standards for inclusion in Google News so that it includes only clean and trusted sites. (If it would like to include my blog, I would not object!). Meanwhile, given that Google News includes blogs haphazardly, increasingly I’m using Technorati for truly time-sensitive searches.

Finally, consider Schwimmer’s questions about how RSS changes the way we think about news headlines and distribution. (See further discussion of his perspectives here). In that regard, the Associated Press has issued a statement in favor of AFP even though AP makes its stories freely available via RSS.