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Google To FTC: Government Role In Helping News Industry Should Be Limited

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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) just posted its response to proposals the FTC has said it is looking into in order to support the “reinvention of journalism.” In the document, embedded after the jump, Google argues that the challenges facing the news industry are business problems, not legal problems, and can therefore “only be addressed effectively with business solutions,” which it says it is helping the news industry develop. “The ultimate solutions that will result in a new online equilibrium for the news industry cannot … be mandated by changes in the regulatory framework or a change in copyright laws,” the company says.

Google comes out against several of the proposals the FTC has said it is looking at. For instance, the company says there is no need to modify the Copyright Act to include specific guidelines for “aggregators and search engines,” saying that interpretation of that law is best left to the courts.

And it says it’s opposed to any new antitrust exemptions that would let news sites put up pay walls together and also jointly charge news aggregators (including, presumably, Google News), saying that the changes would likely be ineffective and be harmful to consumers.

The FTC hasn’t made any recommendations yet and it’s not clear when it will. We’ve asked and will update when we hear back. Instead, it’s framing the proposals as “potential policy recommendations” that have emerged in part from the series of discussions it has been hosting since last fall on the topic.

Google Comments To FTC