Tweet Showing How Google Itself Is A “Scraper Site” Goes Massively Viral

gone-viral-600 Perhaps it's SEO's "Oreo moment," a tweet relating to search engine optimization that's gained nearly as much attention as Oreo's famous Super Bowl blackout tweet. But the subject was a perfect storm of goodness -- a real-life example of Google doing the type of thing in search it seems to be telling others not to do. Yesterday, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts announced a new Google Scraper Report for publishers to use if they see a site that has copied or "scraped" its content and which outranks the publisher in Google searches. That quickly brought up a number of people j [...]


Court Finds Google’s Book Scanning Is Fair Use: Highlights From The Ruling

google-books-featured Nearly ten years after it began and eight years after Google was sued over it, Google's program that scans books in order to make them searchable has been found legal. A judge found fair use, especially in that "Google Books does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." The ruling by Judge Denny Chin found that the Authors Guild's claims that Google was massively infringing the copyright of books didn't hold up. Below, some of the key highlights from his ruling. The Background & Permission Needed To Scan? Most of the ruling covers the ba [...]


Governments Across The Globe Are Making More Requests To Remove Content From Google Services

google-transparency-report According to a new Transparency Report released today, Google received 4,096 government requests to remove 42,249 pieces of content during 2012. The purpose of Google's Transparency Reports is to record the number of worldwide government requests to censor content on Google services, and offer insight into the amount of censorship happening across the globe. The latest report demonstrates an uptick in the number of requests to remove political content, as well as the number of areas where the requests originate. According to Google's announcement, "In this particular time period, we [...]


The Dark Side Of The Internet: A Search Engine That Finds Unsecured Routers, Servers & A Whole Lot More

Developed by John Matherly, Shodan is a search engine designed to help users find certain pieces of software, determine which applications are most popular, identify anonymous FTP servers, or investigate new vulnerabilities and what hosts they could infect. It also serves as a window into millions of unsecured online connections. According to an article on CNN Money, Shodan runs nonstop, collecting data from approximately 500 million connected devices and services each month. Through a simple search on Shodan, a user can identify a number of systems that either have no security measures in [...]


Google Avoids Link Tax But Ambiguous New “Ancillary Copyright” Law Sets Up Legal Battle To Come

Google Germany In August of last year, a number of German lawmakers were pressing proposed "ancillary copyright" legislation that would have required Google and others that indexed or aggregated news to pay for links or excerpts from those news items. The proposed law was championed by German magazine and newspaper publishers who, like their counterparts in the US, are seeing declining readership and ad sales. The law did pass in the German parliament, but Bloomberg reports that a compromise reached earlier this week stayed in. That compromise will allow Google (and others) "to display 'single word [...]


New German Law Will Allow Free “Snippets” By Search Engines, But Uncertainty Remains

Google Germany The good news for search engines like Google is a proposed German copyright law won't require them to pay to show short summaries of news content. However, uncertainty remains about how much might be "too much" and require a license. The new law is expected to pass on Friday. NOTE: See our follow-up story from today: Google Avoids Link Tax But Ambiguous New “Ancillary Copyright” Law Sets Up Legal Battle To Come Der Spiegel explains more about the change: "Google will still be permitted to use "snippets" of content from publisher's web sites in its search results.... "What the ne [...]


German Parliament Hears Experts On Proposed Law To Limit Search Engines From Using News Content

Google Germany Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee of the German Bundestag -- Germany's national parliament -- held an expert hearing on a proposed "Leistungsschutzrecht" law for news publishers. The law, known as "ancillary copyright" in English, would require search engines and others -- perhaps even Facebook, Twitter and individual bloggers -- to pay news publishers if they link to or even briefly summarize news content. The hearing didn't result in a vote. It was the next step in a process that may lead to Leistungsschutzrecht becoming law or not. Below, some background on what happened at the hearing, [...]


Banned Holiday Deal Sites Return To Bing

bing-deals-ban-featured Holiday deal sites that Bing banned from its search listings just before the busy shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now been allowed to return. They include a site run by the group that created the entire Cyber Monday concept. Banned: Not Your Usual Suspects We reported previously how the sites had gone missing, something Bing described as keeping with long-standing policies against "thin" content but which came out-of-the-blue to some site owners. The banned sites included CyberMonday.com, which is run by Shop.org, the group that created the entire Cyber Monday concep [...]


Bing Bans Holiday Deals Sites, Including One By Group That Created Cyber Monday

bing-deals-ban-featured Ironically, the trade group that created the Cyber Monday concept had its own CyberMonday.com site lost in cyberspace this week. Lost, that is, if you tried to use Bing to find it. The site, along with some Black Friday deals sites, have been deliberately dropped from Bing as being too "thin" in content. Bing's Version Of The Google Panda Update If "thin is bad" sounds familiar, that's because Google kicked off this trend earlier this year. The Google Panda Update was a change in how Google ranked web pages, designed to penalize pages deemed to be content-light. Google's change didn't rem [...]


Proposed UK Law Would Immunize Search Engines Against Copyright Claims

There's been enormous debate in the US over the years about whether Google and other search engines violate copyright laws by indexing content of various sorts. The Google book scanning litigation was a copyright lawsuit. And the newspaper industry has repeatedly accused Google of building its news site on the back of their copyrighted material. News organizations AP and AFP both sued Google several years ago for copyright violations. (The deal that settled the AP case is now up for renewal.) Now, according to PaidContent, a proposed amendment to a pending UK law ("Digital Economy Bill") wo [...]


Head-To-Head: ACAP Versus Robots.txt For Controlling Search Engines

In the battle between search engines and some mainstream news publishers, ACAP has been lurking for several years. ACAP -- the Automated Content Access Protocol -- has constantly been positioned by some news executives as a cornerstone to reestablishing the control they feel has been lost over their content. However, the reality is that publishers have more control even without ACAP than is commonly believed by some. In addition, ACAP currently provides no "DRM" or licensing mechanisms over news content. But the system does offer some ideas well worth considering. Below, a look at how it [...]


NAR Changes Its Mind: Google Is Not A Scraper Site

Backtracking on a controversial decision earlier this year, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has adopted a new policy that allows real estate professionals to have their sites -- including home listings that belong to others -- indexed by search engines. The controversy reached a peak this year when the NAR agreed with a local decision in Indianapolis that said real estate agents couldn't let Google and other search engines index the property listings on their sites if those listings belonged to other brokers/agents. In March, the Indianapolis board sent a letter to some agents [...]


Twitter Not Giving Access To Private Tweets

Is Twitter allowing search engines access to protected tweets or not? Not, Twitter tells me, though the company probably needs to do a bit more to prevent this type of confusion in the future. The LA Times reported yesterday about a "Twitter hole" that it believed allowed Google special access to protected tweets, tweets made from Twitter accounts where owners have deliberately chosen not to have their tweets be made public. Not so, said TechCrunch. The so-called protected tweets that the LA Times was finding in Google looked to be those made from before particular account holder [...]


Yahoo Wins In Lawsuit Over Search Descriptions

Eric Goldman updated us on a case where Yahoo was sued for showing spam and porn pages for a search on a person's name. Beverly Stayart was upset that when you searched for her name on Yahoo, Yahoo returned some results that were not to her liking. So she sued Yahoo but the court wouldn't have it. Goldman explained that the court rejected her suit on three different levels. She sued Yahoo for Lanham Act false endorsement and it was denied by the court, as expected. The reason it was rejected? Goldman sums it up as follows: The court denies Various' 230 defense because its associatio [...]


US Justice Dept. Formally Confirms Google Books Inquiry

It's not really a surprise or even news that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed yesterday it was formally investigating the terms of the Google Book Search settlement. This was known as far back as April and essentially confirmed last month by various publications reporting that formal requests (called "civil investigative demands") had been issued to book publishers by the DOJ. What happened yesterday was that the DOJ provided procedural notification to the court that the US is exploring the potential anti-trust dimensions of the Google settlement. The so-called "fairness hearing [...]


Website Guilty Over Google’s Automated Snippet

The Register reports a Dutch court has ruled against a Dutch web site, where the web site was sued over the automated snippet used in Google for a keyword phrase. When someone searched for [Zwartepoorte] and [bankrupt], Google showed Miljoenhuizen.nl and the snippet in the Google search results for Miljoenhuizen.nl was: Complete name: Zwartepoorte Specialiteit: BMW...This company has been declared bankrupt, it has been acquired by the motordealer I have worked for Boat Rialto... What is the issue? Well, Zwartepoorte did not go bankrupt and was upset when the Google snippet showed th [...]


Open Letter To Google & The AP: Reveal The Licensing Terms

Discussions between Google and the Associated Press about renewing their content licensing deal continue, I assume, but all's quiet recently on the negotiation front. I want to disrupt that. It would be wrong in this particular case for both parties to reach a deal where "terms are not disclosed." The future of journalism, as well as Google's own reputation, deserves for things to open up. After threatening a lawsuit against Google several years ago, AP won its first licensing deal with Google in 2006. Google was at pains to stress this wasn't a deal designed to gain the rights to mere [...]


Google Is A Scraper Site, Says National Association Of Realtors

With support from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Indianapolis Metropolitan Board of REALTORS® (MIBOR) has forced some of its members to stop allowing certain MLS listings to be crawled and indexed by Google because Google (and other search engines) is considered a "scraper" site. This is the latest episode in a long-running battle over who controls home listings that are part of the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. Some of the affected real estate professionals plan to ask the NAR to change its opinion on search engines at its national convention this week. Paula Hen [...]


Forbes.com CEO Spanfeller Attacks Google, Stumbles Into His Own Cesspool

Another publisher is complaining that Google isn't giving them their "fair share" -- this time Forbes CEO Jim Spanfeller. Google makes $60 million off the Forbes brand, he claims (with no proof), and boosting "quality publishers" like Forbes would help Eric Schmidt's web sewage problem. This is from the publication that sells paid links that helps the sewage rise in Google? I've already dissected some of the misconceptions that Spanfeller and other publishers have about Google in my Sorry, Tom Curley: Don’t Expect A Google Ranking Boost For The AP post from last week. This time, I'l [...]


Sorry, Tom Curley: Don’t Expect A Google Ranking Boost For The AP

Apparently talks between Google and the Associated Press aren't going well, or so says Forbes today, with AP chief executive Tom Curley threatening to take his content and play elsewhere. Where that will be is hard to say. Part of the AP's original issue with Google was that AP's own member publications would reprint AP material (which they're allowed to do as members), causing there to be no single source that could benefit from AP traffic. Google News Now Hosting Wire Stories & Promises Better Variety In Results covers how after a 2006 deal was struck, AP stories started bei [...]


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