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Summary:

A skirmish between Google and newspapers over crawling of news headlines suggests Latin America’s digital publishing sector is maturing. But can Google keep publishers sweet enough to exploit opportunities in the fast-growing Brazilian market?

Jesus statue in Rio De Janeiro
photo: barkaway

This will sound familiar to anyone who has watched Google News’ relations with news publishers over the years..

The next country in which tension has erupted is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

All 154 members of the Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ), comprising 90 percent of  the country’s newspaper circulation, recently opted out of Google News, claiming the search firm should pay them to re-run their headlines and excerpts.

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas reports the issue provoked disagreement between a Google executive and a local newspaper lawyer at this week’s American Press Association General Assembly in Sao Paulo.

We have already seen this issue play out in Belgium, Germany and France, where national newspapers associations have reported Google to courts and to regulators for republishing their headlines.

But Brazil is a new ball game, with an increasingly affluent, increasingly digital middle class ready to grow the country from an “emerging market” in to a real market. If Google cannot get publishers on board, it may be missing out on some of the Latin America boom opportunity.

At the General Assembly, Google reeled out the same stock defence it has used in all related cases elsewhere – it sends four billion clicks to news sites each month (via Estadao).

But, with intransigence like that on display from the publishers there, chances aren’t good. “By providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, (Google) reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites,” ANJ president Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto told Knight Center - the direct opposite logic to that which Google brandishes.

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  1. Make them hurt, publishers. They’ve been freeloading off the writers for too long.

  2. Paolo Amoroso Friday, October 19, 2012

    Why bother with traditional newspapers when there are many news blogs and indie sites eager to be included as Google News sources? As a reader I personally prefer such news blogs to newspapers, most of which, at least in Italy where I live, can no longer be trusted for independent, unbiased and accurate reporting anyway. Amazon has shown the success and impact indies can have on traditional publishing.

  3. It didn’t work elsewhere, why would it work this time?

    “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

    ― Albert Einstein

  4. So now instead of casually seeing interesting news from Brazil via Google news, because I normally never go to a Brazilian news site anyway, I guess I wont be enticed to go at all.

    Google wasn’t stealing anything, they were driving traffic to the Brazilian news sites.
    But not anymore!

  5. I buy ANJ argument that fewer ppl visit. I buy googles argument if it phrased a bit differently. People who find this article interested and would read it to the end are more likely to come. That is because excerpts help everyone zero in on article of interest to them. So google might increase quality at the expense of quontity. The problem seems to be the way ads work, per impression. For newspapers it is quantity that counts. Theirs interest is not aligned with users and google. But once we all move over to per click model, this will change, IMHO.

  6. This is a slippery slope. The news outlets are claiming that they should be paid whenever someone provides a link to their site, basically. Where does it end? Should I have to pay the New York Times if I tell a friend about an article? How about if I link to them on my blog? What is the legally enforceable distinction between Google, private individuals, small organisations, academics who cite articles, etc.?

  7. there is no reason why global media content subscription functioning like netflix can’t exist, and provide MORE income DIRECTLY to the writers, which is what the problem is, and not just in textually oriented media.

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