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Discussion Draft on ´Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of
July J9, 20J0
Google Inc. submits these comments in connection with the lederal 1rade (ommission`s news
media workshop regarding the intersection oí journalism and technologv. \e also pro·ide comments
on the l1(`s recentlv released Discussion Draít on Potential Policv Recommendations to Support the
Rein·ention oí Journalism.`
1he news industrv is undergoing signiíicant changes that present a number oí challenges and
opportunities. Because qualitv journalism matters so much to our users and to societv as a whole.
Google is committed to helping news organizations de·elop inno·ati·e wavs to ser·e consumers and
íoster re·enue generation models that will sustain the continued ·italitv oí the news industrv. 1hese
models will succeed onlv ií thev meet the needs oí two groups: (onsumers looking íor news that is
rele·ant to them. and ad·ertisers who wish to reach those consumers with iníormation about their
products or ser·ices. On the consumer side. Google makes it easv íor users to íind the news thev are
looking íor and to disco·er new sources oí iníormation. In íact. Google works constantlv to pro·ide
the most rele·ant iníormation through Google Search. Google News. and other products. As a result.
we send more than íour billion clicks each month to news publishers ·ia Google Search. Google News.
and other products. 1hat is. e·erv minute we send approximatelv 100.000 ·isitors to news publishers
around the world.
Lach click - each ·isit - pro·ides publishers with an opportunitv to show users ads. register
users. charge users íor access to content. and so íorth. As we discuss in detail below. how publishers
interact with users who ·isit them through Google is largelv in the publishers` hands.
lor example. publishers mav charge íor their content ií thev choose to do so. In íact. publishers
can and do charge íor content while ensuring that it is disco·erable through Google - charging íor
content and a·ailabilitv on Google are not mutuallv exclusi·e. Indeed. Google is currentlv working with
lLD. 1RADL (OMM`N. lLDLRAL 1RADL (OMMISSION S1All DIS(USSION DRAl1: PO1LN1IAL POLI(\
RL(OMMLNDA1IONS 1O SUPPOR1 1lL RLINVLN1ION Ol JOURNALISM 2010,.
http:´´www.ítc.go·´opp´workshops´news´jun15´docs´new-staíí-discussion.pdí hereinaíter DIS(USSION DRAl1,.
news organizations that want to create online subscription ser·ices about wavs to use our tools to
achie·e their goals.
On the ad·ertising side. Google`s AdSense platíorm helps publishers generate re·enue írom
their content bv pro·iding rele·ant ad·ertising and impro·ing the connection between ad·ertisers and
consumers. In 2009 alone. Google shared more than >5 billion in re·enue with AdSense partners. In
addition. manv major media companies. including online newspapers. use Google`s Double(lick
platíorms to manage. and maximize the ·alue oí. their most ·aluable online ad·ertising in·entorv - the
displav ads thev sell directlv - to ensure that the right ad is placed in íront oí the right consumer at the
right time. Google has in·ested signiíicantlv in these products. launching the new Double(lick Ad
Lxchange and the upgraded Double(lick íor Publishers platíorm in the past 12 months.
Google is also de·eloping new íormats íor displaving and consuming news - such as last llip.
Li·ing Stories. and \ou1ube Direct - which aim to impro·e the user experience and. consequentlv.
increase the amount oí time people spend with news on the \eb.
linallv. Google engages in regular con·ersations with news-industrv trade associations. pro·ides
íinancial sponsorships and speakers íor journalism coníerences. and educates journalists on how to use
Google tools to do their jobs better.
In these and other wavs. Google has worked producti·elv with manv indi·idual news
organizations and the broader journalism communitv. Most oí these news pro·iders share Google`s
·ision that the íuture lies in embracing consumer preíerences and collaborating with Internet
Business Problems Require Business Solutions Rather than Regulatory Ones
1he Discussion Draít contains se·eral potential policv proposals designed to maximize the
accessibilitv oí go·ernment iníormation. and Google supports manv oí these proposals. 1he
recommendations on copvright. hot news. and antitrust. howe·er. put íorward bv certain members oí
the news industrv. will not sol·e the problems the news industrv íaces. but rather will stiíle the ·erv
inno·ation that pro·ides hope íor its íuture. Our ·iews on the speciíic proposals are set íorth in
lere. we discuss a more íundamental point. which is that the current challenges íaced bv the
news industrv are business problems. not legal problems. and can onlv be addressed eííecti·elv with
business solutions. Regulatorv proposals that undermine the íunctioning oí healthv marketplaces and
stall the pace oí change are not the solution. Indeed. the ·erv inno·ation on the Internet that has led to
so manv impro·ements in the li·es oí consumers around the world is likelv to be harmed bv manv oí
these proposals rather than enhanced bv them.
Newspapers ha·e had periodic business model challenges since long beíore the Internet:
(irculation bv U.S. household has been on decline since the earlv twentieth centurv: the number oí
newspapers distributed peaked between 1890 and 1920.
Indeed. the debates o·er newspapers and
competition. while less good-natured in tone. easilv íit within \ankees catcher \oga Berra`s íamous
malapropism. It`s like déja ·u all o·er again.`
In 1922 at the onset oí the great Newspaper-Radio \ar. the same arguments and the same
rhetoric currentlv being used to describe the Internet were used bv newspapers about radio. Proíessor
Gwenvth Jackawav oí (olumbia Uni·ersitv details this period in her book. Meaia at !ar: Raaio`. Cbattevge
to tbe ^er.paper.. ]·21·]·²·. Proíessor Jackawav writes:
In the battle between radio and the press. one oí the most common tactics emploved bv
print journalists in their eííorts at institutional selí-deíense against the in·asion oí
broadcasting was the in·ocation oí sacred rhetoric. \hen making their arguments about
the dangers oí this new technologv. thev írequentlv called upon the hallowed ideals oí the
culture. claiming their sacred ·alue would in some wav be endangered ií radio took o·er
the job oí journalism. Radio journalism. thev warned. posed a threat to the journalistic
ideals oí objecti·itv. the social ideals oí public ser·ice. the capitalist ideals oí propertv
rights. and the political ideals oí democracv. In the name oí preser·ing these ideals. print
journalists argued that thev. and not the broadcasters. were the onlv ones suited to gather
news and disseminate news in this countrv. 1hus. as a means oí deíending their own
interests thev in·oked the interests oí the nation.
In 195¯. newspaper editors - íoreshadowing the rhetoric used bv some against the Internet -
called tele·ision reporters parasites` and obser·ed that thev should handle their own news instead oí
cashing in on our brains and experience.`
In 1955. newspapers ·ociíerouslv objected to President
Lisenhower`s decision to open up \hite louse press brieíings to tele·ision reporters: lamed ^er Yor/
)ive. reporter James Reston complained that the press coníerence is an instrument ·ital to democratic
processes and it is being o·erwhelmed bv paraphernalia.`
Aíter print journalists lost their war` against tele·ision journalists in the Lisenhower era.
newspaper companies íought the phone companies.
Indeed. as Proíessor Jackawav has obser·ed. with
each communications inno·ation oí the last 100 vears we ha·e seen a repetition oí the discussion that`s
taking place todav o·er the íuture oí journalism. Although the Discussion Draít suggests that the
challenges íaced bv newspapers are dri·en bv 21
centurv technologv. the opposite ·iew seems correct:
JOSLPl D. S1RAUBlAAR AND ROBLR1 LAROSL. MLDIA NO\: UNDLRS1ANDING MLDIA. (UL1URL. AND
1L(lNOLOG\. at 94 2005,.
\ogi is reported to ha·e uttered this in reaction to \ankees pitcher Da·e (one hurling a períect game against the
Montreal Lxpos on Julv 18. 1999.
G\LN\1l L. JA(KA\A\. MLDIA A1 \AR: RADIO`S (lALLLNGL 1O 1lL NL\SPAPLRS. 1924-1939. at ¯ 1995,.
Ouoted in DAVID R. DAVILS. 1lL POS1\AR DL(LINL Ol AMLRI(AN NL\SPAPLRS. 1945-1965: 1lL lIS1OR\ Ol
AMLRI(AN JOURNALISM. at 5¯ 2006,.
ía. at 56.
ía. at 1.
1he Internet. rather than being the cause oí journalism`s downíall. pro·ides a unique opportunitv íor
news organizations to renew and rein·igorate journalism.
Maximizing the monetization oí online traííic will require inno·ation and experimentation in
how news is deli·ered online. and how ad·ertising can support it. Google is working with publishers to
make this transition. including de·eloping new and impro·ed monetization methods. and belie·es that
the news industrv will emerge írom the transition better equipped to ser·e its customers - and thus to
ílourish - in the online world. 1he ultimate solutions that will result in a new online equilibrium íor the
news industrv cannot. howe·er. be mandated bv changes in the regulatorv íramework or a change to the
copvright laws. 1he solutions. instead. must be dri·en bv the industrv itselí. working with technologv
pro·iders like Google and experimenting with its customers to de·elop new and inno·ati·e wavs oí
deli·ering the news online.
Reaching Broader Audiences through Search and Other Services
Search engines and ser·ices like Google News pro·ide audience-íinding opportunities íor
newspapers that circulate in a limited geographic area or that target a speciíic section oí the reading
public. Ií these more localized sources oí news produce content that is ·alued bv consumers. Google`s
ser·ices enable them to reach larger and more di·erse audiences than thev otherwise would be able to
reach. In addition. purelv online publishers. and recentlv established publishers. gain a new opportunitv
to engage with and generate re·enues írom new traííic through these ser·ices. Bv increasing the
di·ersitv oí perspecti·es a·ailable to a user. these ser·ices promote competition íor the production oí
content that consumers ·alue and enhance consumer welíare.
Online ser·ices like Google News
deli·er substantial traííic to larger publishers too. but the increased competition also pro·ides these
publishers a greater incenti·e to impro·e the qualitv oí their content and. more generallv. the
attracti·eness oí their websites. 1hat mav be diííicult íor incumbents but it is good íor consumers.
1he goal oí Google News has alwavs been to oííer users the abilitv to access ·aried perspecti·es
on a storv in order to help them better understand current e·ents. 1o that end. Google indexes more
than 50.000 sources in dozens oí languages írom around the world. 1he big news e·ents oí the dav are
identiíied and ranked bv computer algorithms that reílect the publishing acti·itv - the collecti·e news
judgment - oí news organizations. 1hen indi·idual articles are automaticallv selected and ranked based
on íactors such as íreshness. location. rele·ance. and di·ersitv oí their content. without regard to
political ·iewpoint or ideologv. Google News shows onlv a headline and sometimes a snippet` - just
enough íor someone to decide ií thev`re interested in reading the storv. (licking on the link takes them
directlv to the publisher`s website. 1hev do so at a rate oí about one billion times a month írom Google
Google belie·es that bv helping users more eííicientlv íind diííerent points oí ·iew thev can
better iníorm themsel·es as citizens. Oualitv content is complementarv to Google`s search ser·ices - ií
´ee. e.g.. Lrick Schoníeld. \ho Dominates Online News In Italv· Not Google News.` 1L(l(RUN(l. Aug. 31. 2009.
http:´´www.techcrunch.com´2009´08´31´who-dominates-online-news-in-italv-not-google-news´ last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,
Google News promotes competition among news outlets. It creates hvper-competition. which is reallv whv newspapers
e·ervwhere, are up in arms against Google. 1hev don`t like the \eb. but thev can`t sue the \eb. So thev are going aíter
there is better content on the \eb. people are likelv to do more searches. which will be good íor
Google`s business and íor users. Users` willingness to continue using Google to conduct \eb searches
is entirelv dependent on Google`s abilitv to help users identiív rele·ant. useíul search results. It is.
thereíore. in Google`s interest to help content owners create and íind better wavs to monetize content.
1he kev to this svnergistic relationship between Google`s ser·ices and online content pro·iders
is Google Search. Search is at the heart oí what Google does. (onsistent with this. Google News is a
product that makes it easier íor consumers to search íor journalistic content and to connect with the
websites that ha·e the news that most interests them. \ith Google News. users do not ha·e to scour
the \eb íor up-to-date news stories. Moreo·er. Google News is not designed to encourage users to
linger on the Google News website: rather. it is designed to help users identiív the articles thev want to
read and to mo·e them as quicklv as possible to the publisher`s site to do so.
Uníortunatelv. the Discussion Draít does not acknowledge the basic economics oí search
engines and similar ser·ices and instead erroneouslv suggests that search engines are somehow
cannibalizing newspaper ad·ertising re·enue rather than ser·ing as an important connection to potential
consumers. In íact. search engines do not deri·e a signiíicant amount oí re·enue írom news content.
Manv search engines generate re·enue írom displaving simple text ads near organic search results:
ad·ertisers bid íor that placement and pav onlv ií someone clicks on the ad. making it a highlv targeted.
rele·ant. and measurable íorm oí ad·ertising. But the real monev in search engine ad·ertising is in
highlv commercial queries íor goods and ser·ices in such areas as shopping. health. and tra·el. lor
example. Google generates onlv a tinv íraction oí its search re·enue írom queries that we categorize as
News & (urrent e·ents: while searches íor terms like canon powershot digital camera` are ·erv
attracti·e to ad·ertisers. news-related queries oíten trigger íew or no ads at all.,
1his result should not be surprising because it mirrors the experience oí newspapers themsel·es.
which ha·e ne·er made much monev írom news. 1hev ha·e instead made monev írom special-interest
sections on topics such as automoti·e. tra·el. and home & garden. 1hese sections attract contextuallv
targeted ad·ertising. which is much more eííecti·e than non-targeted ad·ertising. Someone reading the
automoti·e section is likelv to be more interested in cars than the a·erage consumer. so ad·ertisers will
pav a premium to reach those consumers.
1raditionallv. the ad·ertising re·enue írom these special sections has been used to cross-
subsidize the core news production: in other words. the automoti·e and real estate sections pav íor the
Baghdad bureau. Nowadavs. Internet users go directlv to websites like Ldmunds. Orbitz. Lpicurious.
and Amazon to look íor products and ser·ices in specialized areas. Ad·ertisers íollow those eveballs.
which makes the traditional cross-subsidization model that newspapers ha·e used íar more diííicult.
1hat cross-subsidization was possible onlv because the print íormat allowed newspapers to capture their
audiences and keep them.
Design Innovations to Attract and Retain Audiences
1he newspaper business is not immune írom the truism that. in order to succeed. a business
must respond to the demands oí its consumers bv deli·ering products and ser·ices that thev want.
Indeed. John 1emple. íormer editor. president. and publisher oí the Rockv Mountain News. described
and applied it to the news industrv in his blog post about the lessons he had learned írom his
newspaper`s demise on lebruarv 2¯. 2009. As Mr. 1emple explained. the paper`s online ser·ice was not
·iewed bv management as pro·iding consumer ·alue in its own right. but rather solelv as a wav to
support the print edition. 1his mistake pro·ed to be íatal:
|\|hv did the Rockv disappear· Looking back now on that diííicult dav. the word that
stands out . . . is newspaper.`
. . .
Being a great newspaper` isn`t enough in the Internet era. \ou ha·e to know what
business vou`re in. \e thought we were in the newspaper business. \orking on the \eb.
vou need to think oí now and íore·er. At a newspaper. people largelv think about
tomorrow. 1hinking about tomorrow isn`t enough anvmore. (onsumers todav want
ser·ices when. where and how thev want them. and thev want to be able to participate. not
. . .
\e percei·ed the \eb site as a newspaper online. as a complement to the paper. not as its
own thing. 1hat`s not a strategv.
. . .
\hich brings me to the íinal lesson: Know vour customers. Ií newspapers would spend
more time trving to understand their customers instead oí íocused on their own internal
issues - such as which newspaper department should get credit íor \eb re·enue - thev`re
more likelv to be successíul. 1hat`s a hard switch íor traditional manuíacturing operations
like newspapers to make.
lor the news industrv to adapt and thri·e in the digital world. it must íirst take into account how
the Internet has changed its abilitv to sell consumers a bundle that mav be more than the consumer
wants or needs. Google calls this the atomic unit oí consumption` - the basic íorm oí content that
News organizations did not ha·e to coníront this possibilitv in the hard copv world
because consumers did not ha·e the capabilitv to demand a disaggregated news or other media,
product. And. to the extent that consumers did wish to acquire a single article. song. or íilm clip. the
content pro·ider could control how or whether it made such a product a·ailable. Ií a consumer wanted
to buv a single song írom a ·invl album. íor example. the possibilitv existed onlv ií the copvright owner
also sold it as a single.
O·er time. the emergence oí digital media has repeatedlv altered the unit oí consumption íor
existing media. lor example. digital music caused manv consumers to think about their purchases as
indi·idual songs rather than as íull albums. Digital and on-demand ·ideo has similarlv caused manv to
´ee )be ívtvre ot ¡ovrvati.v: íearivg ßetore tbe ´vbcovv. ov Covvc`v.. )ecb.. c tbe ívtervet ot tbe ´. Covv. ov Covverce. ´ci.. c
)rav.p.. 111th (ong. 2009, statement oí Marissa Maver. Vice President. Search Products and User Lxperience. Google.
·iew ·ariable-length clips when it is con·enient íor them. rather than íixed-length programs on a íixed
broadcast schedule. 1his is simplv not a new phenomenon.
In the news íield. the structure oí the Internet has caused the unit oí consumption íor news to
migrate írom the íull newspaper to the indi·idual article. As with music and ·ideo. millions oí people
todav still consume phvsical newspapers in their original íull-length íormat. But with online news.
readers oíten go directlv to speciíic articles that match their interests. reíerred there bv a link írom
search engines. lacebook. 1witter. \ikipedia. blogs. or e·en other news websites.
1reating the article as the atomic unit oí consumption online has se·eral poweríul consequences.
\hen producing an article íor online news. the publisher must assume that a reader mav be ·iewing the
article on its own. independent oí the rest oí the publication. Among the challenges caused bv this new
atomic unit oí consumption is de·eloping a diííerent approach to monetization: Not onlv must each
indi·idual article be selí-sustaining. but bevond this. publishers must pro·ide suííicient context íor íirst-
time readers so that the reader will then stav on the publisher`s site and ·iew other articles. photos.
·ideos. databases. or other content. 1his is imperati·e because engaged readers are more attracti·e to
ad·ertisers and more likelv to pav subscription íees.
Such engagement can be accomplished onlv bv news publishers. who are in a position to
inno·ate and compete to pro·ide their online audiences with compelling products and ser·ices that
bring them the news and other iníormation that thev want. Search engines. blogs. and social networks
can direct traííic to publishers` sites. but once readers land on a site. it is the publisher who bears the
responsibilitv oí keeping them on the site and generating re·enue.
1he data suggest that publishers ha·e vet to come close to maximizing their abilitv to attract and
keep users engaged with their online oííerings. \hile the a·erage reader oí print newspapers spends
about 25 minutes with them per dav. according to go·ernment statistics. studies ha·e íound that the
tvpical online reader oí e·en the most well-traííicked news website spends just ¯0 seconds per dav
Some news organizations are hea·ilv íocusing on taking ad·antage oí this opportunitv bv
impro·ing the user experience on their sites. and Google is committed to working with them on
technologv and design solutions.
In this regard. an important íactor íor online news pro·iders to consider in todav`s digital age is
the íundamental design and presentation oí their content. lor example. the simple and eííecti·e
na·igational elements that the \eb oííers can pro·ide publishers with wavs to keep readers engaged on
their sites íor longer periods oí time. \hen a reader íinishes an article online. rather than ílipping the
page to see what is next. the reader needs iníormation about where she might go next to íind another
storv oí interest. lere. the online publication should help pro·ide the consumer with readilv identiíiable
options: (lick on a related article or ad·ertisement· Post a comment· Read earlier stories on this topic·
Much like Amazon.com suggests related products and \ou1ube makes it easv to plav another ·ideo.
publications can pro·ide ob·ious and engaging next steps íor users.
lal Varian. Newspaper economics: online and oííline.` GOOGLL PUBLI( POLI(\ BLOG. Mar. 9. 2010.
http:´´googlepublicpolicv.blogspot.com´2010´03´newspaper-economics-online-and-oííline.html last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
Google`s experimentation with the ^er Yor/ )ive. and the !a.bivgtov Po.t on a project called
Li·ing Stories is an example oí how newspapers and technologv companies can collaborate on wavs to
better engage users with news.
1he Li·ing Stories experimental news íormat compiles a news
organization`s co·erage oí an ongoing e·ent on a single. dvnamic \eb page. making it easv íor users to
understand the broader context. sort the co·erage bv timeline or bv tvpe oí media. and highlight the
news published since their last ·isit. During the experiment. ¯5° oí respondents said thev preíerred
Li·ing Stories to traditional online news articles. and the a·erage user spent nearlv 9 minutes with each
1hese results suggest that ií publishers produce great journalism and present it in compelling
wavs. people will engage with it. Since the experiment. Google has released the Li·ing Stories code
through an open-source license. meaning that anvone is íree to take it and build their own Li·ing
Stories. Li·ing Stories has also ser·ed as a design inspiration íor news outlets. including the Pulitzer
Advertising and Other Revenue Streams
1he task íor anv content owner is to íind a business model that matches consumer expectations.
\ho is the consumer in this context· In anv discussion oí lost re·enues. the consumer is the person
who pavs. directlv or indirectlv. 1he Discussion Draít states that 80° oí newspapers` re·enue comes
40° írom retail ad·ertising. 32° írom classiíied ad·ertising and 8° írom national
ad·ertising. 1he remaining 20° oí re·enue is írom sales. with newsstands making up 1¯° and
subscription re·enue 3°. In the context oí ad·ertising re·enue. the consumer is the ad·ertiser who
seeks ad·ertising space and the promise oí reaching an audience likelv to buv the ad·ertiser`s products.
In the context oí subscription re·enues. the consumer is the person who purchases a subscription.
Pav walls could be an eííecti·e wav to raise the 3° re·enue íigure: whether to implement them
and how, is anv gi·en publisher`s choice and requires no regulatorv change to make it work.
(onsumers will either pav íor content or not. depending upon their assessment oí whether the content
is oí suííicient ·alue to them. lorcing consumers to buv certain content. howe·er - an end result
sought bv some oí the policv proposals recounted in the Discussion Draít - is not onlv bad policv but it
is also bad íor the industrv itselí because it creates a ·erv short-term prospect oí additional re·enue that
has no promise oí durabilitv. Inno·ating to create products and ser·ices that consumers want to pav íor
is the onlv wav to guarantee long-term subscription re·enue growth. and none oí the policv proposals
are designed to íoster that kind oí inno·ation.
1his lea·es the 80° oí newspaper re·enue that comes írom ad·ertising. 1he Discussion Draít
laments that newspapers` classiíied ad·ertising re·enue has íallen írom >19.6 billion in 2000 to >6 billion
´ee Google Li·ing Stories. http:´´li·ingstories.googlelabs.com´ last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
´ee Abbv Brownback. A \eb-(entric Approach 1o 1raditional Journalism. AMLRI(AN JOURNALISM RLVIL\.
June´Julv 2010. http:´´www.ajr.org´Article.asp·id~4880 last ·isited Julv 16. 2010,.
Megan Garber. ProPublica`s website redesign puts íuture oí context` ideas to work.` NILMAN JOURNALISM LAB.
June 30. 2010. http:´´www.niemanlab.org´2010´06´propublicas-website-redesign-puts-íuture-oí-context-ideas-to-work´
last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 2.
lowe·er. the loss oí this re·enue is the result oí a changing business en·ironment: Manv
businesses do not place classiíied ads with newspapers because the people thev want to reach no longer
look íor ad·ertisements in print newspapers. As with the issues relating to subscription re·enues. the
issues that newspapers íace with diminished classiíied ad·ertising re·enue are not an appropriate
candidate íor regulatorv inter·ention. 1his is re·enue that has been lost due to a change in the classiíied
ad·ertising business. a change that reílects. moreo·er. more and more ·igorous competition. Indeed.
the loss oí classiíied ad·ertising to (raigslist. eBav and other online ad·ertisers has nothing to do with
copving or íree-riding. and e·ervthing to do with the emergence oí a new. more eííecti·e and more
eííicient product into the marketplace. 1he l1( would ordinarilv regard such a situation as a cause íor
celebration - consumers are getting a better product at a lower price - not an opportunitv to slow down
that inno·ation through regulation.
In the case oí ad·ertising re·enues. thereíore. the challenge íor the industrv is to pro·ide a
product online ad·ertising space and audience share, that is oí suííicient ·alue to the consumer the
ad·ertiser, that the ad·ertiser is willing to pav íor it. One oí the largest ílaws oí the proposals outlined
in the Discussion Draít is their íailure to take this basic economic íact into account. Anv long-term
impro·ement in news companies` íortunes is likelv to come írom increased ad·ertising and subscription
re·enues - re·enues that can onlv be increased bv new and eííecti·e business models tor aarerti.er. ava
1he large proíit margins newspapers enjoved in the past were built on an artiíicial scarcitv:
Limited choice íor ad·ertisers as well as readers. \ith the Internet. that scarcitv has been taken awav
and replaced bv abundance. No policv proposal will be able to restore newspaper re·enues to what thev
were beíore the emergence oí online news. It is not a question oí analog dollars ·ersus digital dimes.
but rather a realistic assessment oí how to make monev in a world oí abundant competitors and
In addition to abundance. the Internet íacilitates the deli·erv oí eííecti·e ad·ertising and the
measurement oí ad·ertising eííecti·eness. An online ad·ertiser can measure the eííecti·eness oí
ad·ertising at a ·erv granular le·el and target ads ·erv preciselv and rele·antlv. \ith contextual
ad·ertising. íor example. Google ser·es rele·ant ad·ertisements on its publisher partners` websites that
are tailored to the particular page or article that the user is ·iewing. 1he ad·ertisers can get detailed
iníormation about how eííecti·e a particular ad is - including how oíten the ad was clicked or
otherwise engaged with, and whether. once clicked. the consumer actuallv made a purchase on the
ad·ertiser`s website. \ith interest-based ad·ertising. ad·ertising eííecti·eness and precision is e·en
more pronounced. Interest-based ads are ser·ed based upon the browsing historv oí a user with the
user`s consent and control, and the ad·ertiser or ad·ertising agencv can obtain aggregated data on the
eííecti·eness oí anv gi·en ad. In short. the Internet makes it possible íor ad·ertisers to deli·er more
rele·ant ad·ertising to consumers and to measure the eííecti·eness oí that ad·ertising. so that
consumers continue to hear about the products and ser·ices in which thev are interested.
Content Producers Control the 1erms of Access
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 2.
An open Internet where all content is íindable` although not necessarilv íree oí charge, is a
critical part oí the surplus-enhancing aspect oí the Internet. It is what makes it possible to deli·er the
best matches` oí consumers to the iníormation that is rele·ant and useíul to them. As the newspaper
industrv manages the transition into the digital world. howe·er. Google belie·es that publishers should
ha·e the abilitv to control whether their sites are indexed at all. what oí their sites is indexed ií thev
choose to allow indexing,. and whether and on what terms a consumer is permitted to access their sites
e.g.. whether the content sits behind a pav wall oí some sort or. at the other end oí the spectrum. is
Publishers ha·e simple tools at their disposal to communicate instructions about whether thev
want search engines to index their sites. and Google`s policv is to respect those instructions. lor
example. using what is called the Robots Lxclusion Protocol RLP, which is the ae tacto industrv
standard used throughout the \eb íor o·er 15 vears,. a site administrator who wishes to remo·e her
website írom Google`s index can easilv do so using a robots.txt` íile. 1o remo·e sites or pre·ent
search engines írom crawling parts oí a site. a webmaster mav:
• Use a ´robots.txt¨ file to designate the content not to be indexed. A robots.txt íile
enables site owners to restrict access to a website bv search engine robots that crawl the
\eb. A website owner can choose to block some pages or the entire site írom Google`s
\eb crawler bv using a robots.txt íile. Ií a website owner uses a robots.txt íile to restrict
access. Google will not crawl or index the content oí pages blocked bv the robots.txt íile.
lowe·er. Google mav still index the website`s URL. ií Googlebot íinds those URLs on
other pages on the \eb. As described below. Google will remo·e the website írom its
index ií a noindex meta tag is present.
• Use a ´noindex¨ meta tag. \hen the Google crawler íinds a website with a noindex
meta tag on a page. Google will completelv drop that page írom its search results. erev it
otber page. tiv/ to it. Ií the site is currentlv in Google`s index. Google will remo·e it the
next time the crawler crawls the site. 1he meta tag allows the website owner to control
access completelv. on a page-bv-page basis.
1hrough the use oí the robots.txt íile and the noindex meta tag. website owners are able to
pre·ent their sites - or speciíic content on their sites - írom being indexed bv Google`s crawler. In íact.
website owners are e·en able to speciíicallv prohibit Google írom indexing their site while allowing
other \eb crawlers to do so.
1hus. website owners mav easilv exclude content írom the Google
´ee Google \ebmaster (entral. Block or Remo·e Pages Using a Robots.txt lile.
http:´´www.google.com´support´webmasters´bin´answer.pv·answer~156449 last ·isited June 30. 2010,.
´ee Google \ebmaster (entral. Using Meta 1ags to Block Access to \our Site.
http:´´www.google.com´support´webmasters´bin´answer.pv·answer~93¯10 last ·isited June 30. 2010,.
´ee Google \ebmaster (entral. Remo·ing \our Lntire \ebsite Using a Robots.txt lile.
http:´´www.google.com´support´webmasters´bin´answer.pv·answer~35302 last ·isited June 30. 2010,.
Meta tags also allow a much deeper le·el oí granularitv. lor example. publishers can instruct
Google or other search engines to index articles but not images or to displav headlines but not snippets.
Inclusion oí news content in the Google \eb Search index is not conditional on inclusion in
Google News. 1o remo·e content írom Google News. publishers can simplv íill out a contact íorm in
Google`s lelp (enter.
In addition. since December 2009. the Google News \eb crawler Googlebot-
News, has extended RLP controls speciíicallv to Google News. 1his means that ií publishers want to
opt out oí Google News. thev do not e·en ha·e to contact Google - thev can put instructions just íor
Googlebot-News in the same robots.txt íile thev ha·e todav. 1his change allows publishers to do more
than just allow´disallow access to Google News. 1hev are also able to applv the íull range oí RLP
directi·es just to Google News. such as excluding speciíic articles or images or instructing Google to
show headlines but not snippets.
\hile this means e·en more control íor publishers. the eííect oí
opting out oí News is the same as it has alwavs been: (ontent will not be in Google News or in the
parts oí Google that are powered bv the News index. but will still show up as natural \eb Search
results. And remo·al oí content írom Google News does not aííect how publishers` content appears in
Google \eb Search results.
Comments on Policy Proposals in Discussion Draft
Google appreciates the opportunitv to comment on the proposed recommendations contained
in the Discussion Draít. 1he Discussion Draít contains se·eral potential policv proposals designed to
increase the accessibilitv oí go·ernment iníormation. Google generallv supports these proposals.
lowe·er. the Discussion Draít also contains some potential policv recommendations that Google
belie·es are ill-íounded and. ií adopted into actual recommendations. would result in signiíicant harm to
\e íirst address the potential recommendations relating to the accessibilitv oí go·ernment data.
\e then continue with comments relating to the Discussion Draít`s policv proposals relating to
statutorv limits and íair use. licensing the news. íederal hot news legislation. and. íinallv. collaborati·e
actions and antitrust exemptions.
Policy Proposals Relating to Maximizing the Accessibility of Government Information
\e support the l1(`s commitment to openness on the Internet and to adopting
recommendations designed to íoster more eííicient. readv. in-depth access to public go·ernment
iníormation in a manner that protects indi·iduals` pri·acv e.g.. bv ensuring that personal data such as
Social Securitv numbers are redacted írom public records prior to their public disclosure,. Google thus
belie·es in the direction taken bv the recommendations contained in the Discussion Draít that relate to
maximizing the accessibilitv oí public go·ernment iníormation. implementing interacti·e data. and
´ee Google News. (ontact Us. http:´´www.google.com´support´news´bin´request.pv·contact_tvpe~report_news
last ·isited June 30. 2010,.
lor íurther details on the Google News web crawler. .ee Posting oí Josh (ohen. Senior Business Product Manager to
Google News Blog. Same Protocol. More Options íor News Publishers.`
http:´´googlenewsblog.blogspot.com´2009´12´same-protocol-more-options-íor-news.html Dec. 2. 2009. 8:10, last ·isited
Julv 16. 2010,.
harnessing go·ernment-íunded technologv in·estments to better support journalistic applications. 1he
proposed inno·ations hold out the possibilitv oí increasing the a·ailabilitv oí public go·ernment
iníormation and therebv enhancing transparencv and openness on the Internet and impro·ing consumer
As an initial matter. we note that the copvright status oí go·ernment iníormation under lederal
law is well-settled. in that Section 105 oí the (opvright Act states explicitlv that |c|opvright protection
under this title is not a·ailable íor anv work oí the United States Go·ernment . . . .`
Manv states and
howe·er. ha·e more restricti·e statutes relating to the protectabilitv oí go·ernment
iníormation bv copvright. making it possible that state or local go·ernment iníormation could be subject
to greater restrictions on a·ailabilitv. dissemination. and use. Google íinds the logic oí the lederal
go·ernment`s longstanding policv in ía·or oí the broad a·ailabilitv oí go·ernment iníormation
|A|s a matter oí principle. material produced bv the Go·ernment is public propertv and
should be íreelv a·ailable to the public íor reproduction: the widest possible dissemination
oí iníormation de·eloped bv the Go·ernment should be encouraged and dissemination
might be inhibited bv copvright . . . .
Underlving this principle` is the belieí that taxpavers should not be made to pav twice. íirst in
taxes and second in procuring a copv oí the work.`
\e. thereíore. encourage íurther studv oí the
question oí harmonization oí state and íederal law relating to the copvrightabilitv oí go·ernment
iníormation such that anv inconsistencies in the a·ailabilitv oí such non-sensiti·e iníormation to the
public would be resol·ed in ía·or oí broad dissemination.
Google supports the Discussion Draít`s recommendation that íederal. state. and local authorities
be encouraged to maximize access to publiclv a·ailable iníormation online and to establish the routine
release oí certain tvpes oí records. Indeed. Google makes tools a·ailable on its website íor public sector
Google has a longstanding practice oí ad·ocating íor an open Internet and íor taking steps to ensure that its users
ha·e the íreedom and abilitv to íind the iníormation thev want and need. to use the products and ser·ices that best suit them.
and to control their personal data. ´ee. e.g.. Letter írom Pablo L. (ha·ez. Managing Policv (ounsel. Google Inc.. to Donald
S. (lark. Secretarv. lederal 1rade (ommission Apr. 14. 2010,. at 4-5. araitabte at
http:´´www.ítc.go·´os´comments´pri·acvroundtable´544506-00134.pdí last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
1¯ U.S.(. ¸ 105 2005,.
Google belie·es that at least eight states assert copvright o·er state statutes and twentv-one assert copvright o·er state
administrati·e regulations. Similarlv. more than 50° oí (aliíornia municipalities assert copvright o·er their municipal codes.
(aruthers Berger. Copyrigbt iv Corervvevt Pvbticatiov.. iv (OP\RIGl1 LA\ RLVISION: S1UDILS PRLPARLD lOR 1lL
SUB(OMMI11LL ON PA1LN1S. 1RADLMARKS. AND (OP\RIGl1S Ol 1lL SLNA1L JUDI(IAR\ (OMMI11LL. 86th (ong.. 2d
Sess. 33-34 (omm. Print 1961,. qvotea iv Sharon K. Sandeen. Pre.errivg tbe Pvbtic )rv.t iv ´tate·Orvea ívtettectvat Property: .
Recovvevaatiov tor íegi.tatire .ctiov. 32 M(GLORGL L. RLV. 385. 399-400 2001,.
Mar·in J. Nodiíí. Copyrigbtabitity ot !or/. ot tbe íeaerat ava ´tate Corervvevt. vvaer tbe ]·¨ó .ct. 29 S1. LOUIS U. L.J. 91.
organizations that pro·ide guidance to such organizations on how to make their websites accessible to
search engines and therebv expand citizen access to go·ernment iníormation and ser·ices.
Similarlv. Google supports the proposals that would enhance the a·ailabilitv oí audio and ·ideo
recordings oí public and go·ernment meetings. hearings. and other public e·ents including through li·e
webcasting. Google has worked with íederal and state go·ernments to impro·e ·ideo-on-demand
íacilities and citizen access to those íacilities.
linallv. the Discussion Draít contains a proposal relating to de·elopment oí a common
taxonomv oí metadata tags` íor go·ernment iníormation.
Google supports this proposal.
Policy Proposals Relating to Statutory Limits and Iair Use, Licensing the News, and
Iederal Hot News Legislation
\e note at the outset that the Discussion Draít begins the section on (opvright and lair Use
with a brieí summarv oí the current state oí the law that appears designed to set the stage` bv
pro·iding context íor the policv proposals subsequentlv outlined in the draít. \hile Google appreciates
that all questions relating to the application oí the copvright law to particular íactual scenarios in·ol·ing
search engines and news mav not vet ha·e been answered. we do not belie·e that there is as much
uncertaintv in the state oí the law as the Discussion Draít appears to suggest.
(ases. íor example. mav alwavs be o·erruled or decided diííerentlv in a diííerent circuit or where
diííerent íacts are presented. But that does not make them anv less the law where - as in copvright -
the law is de·eloped through the common law process oí successi·e court decisions. \e. thereíore.
stronglv suggest that. notwithstanding the comments oí some interested parties regarding the
uncertaintv` oí the law in this area. the (ommission íormulate its recommendations against the
backdrop oí an objecti·e analvsis oí the case law as it currentlv stands.
Proposed Recommendations Relating to Modifications of the Copyright Act
Google belie·es that the Discussion Draít`s somewhat skeptical treatment oí the proposals made
through the workshop relating to amendment oí the (opvright Act to limit the íair use doctrine as it
applies to aggregators and search engines` is whollv warranted. 1he lederal courts are the most
appropriate ·enue íor íurther exploration oí the application oí the íair use doctrine to aggregators and
search engines` and ha·e alreadv demonstrated the capabilitv to handle these issues in Pertect ]0. ívc. r.
1here is simplv no reasonable basis íor the ·iew that amending the (opvright Act is
lirst. Google belie·es stronglv in the capabilitv oí the lederal court svstem to interpret the íair
use doctrine consistentlv with the (opvright Act. Pertect ]0is the law in the Ninth (ircuit and has been
´ee Google. 1ools íor Public Sector Organizations. http:´´www.google.com´publicsector´content´ last ·isited
June 30. 2010,.
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 33.
508 l.3d 1146 9th (ir. 200¯,.
cited ía·orablv bv a number oí other íederal courts.
1o the extent that proponents oí an amendment
to the (opvright Act belie·e that Pertect ]0 was wronglv decided. we are aware oí no court that has
criticized the analvsis in the three vears since the opinion was issued.
More substanti·elv. we belie·e it important that the (ommission recognizes that the proposed
recommendation to limit the íair use doctrine through the construction oí some statutorv analvtical
íramework íor aggregators and search engines` appears to be based on a íundamental
misunderstanding oí the íair use doctrine. lair use is a common law doctrine - statutorilv recognized
but not codiíied.
It is intended to be aa boc: it is a ílexible doctrine. not an exemption as exists in other
sections oí the (opvright Act.
As the Supreme (ourt wrote in Cavpbett r. .cvtt·Ro.e Mv.ic. ívc.: 1he
task is not to be simpliíied with bright-line rules. íor the statute. like the doctrine it recognizes. calls íor
\e are aware oí no diííiculties in the application oí the íair use doctrine to aggregators and
search engines.` (hanges in existing law are tvpicallv prompted bv actual shortcomings in case law and.
in the absence oí those. should not be undertaken.
Proposal to License the News
1he Discussion Draít includes a section relating to a proposal made bv some participants in the
workshops that some sort oí industrv-wide licensing arrangement be adopted. perhaps with the
go·ernment`s help and support.`
1he draít also mentions the proposal oí another participant that the
copvright law be amended to le·v a licensing íee on e·erv Internet Ser·ice Pro·ider in the amount oí
íi·e to se·en dollars íor e·erv account it pro·ides.
Google belie·es that there is good reason to reject
lirst. we note as does the Discussion Draít, that there are no current laws pre·enting news
organizations írom licensing their content. and the Associated Press and others in íact do. \hile the
precise nature oí the proposal relating to licensing oí news content is unclear. ií the proposal were to
in·ol·e the licensing oí íacts or other uncopvrightable material then it is unconstitutional under the
Supreme (ourt`s 1991 opinion in íei.t Pvbticatiov.. ívc r. Rvrat )etepbove ´errice Co.
as described below,.
´ee DIS(USSION DRAl1. note 16 citing cases,.
´ee DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 36-3¯ n.16 citing cases,.
1¯ U.S.(. ¸ 10¯ 2005,.
510 U.S. 569. 5¯¯ 1994,. ´ee at.o Pierre Le·al. 1oward a lair Use Standard. 103 lar·. L. Re·. 1105. 1110 1990,
lair use should not be considered a bizarre. occasionallv tolerated departure írom the grand conception oí the copvright
monopolv. 1o the contrarv. it is a necessarv part oí the o·erall design.`,.
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 12.
ía. 1his person is the chairman oí the Joint \ashington (ommittee. a coalition oí national broadcast. print and
499 U.S. 340 1991,.
Second. as the Discussion Draít notes. the le·v recommendation imposes a tax on people who
mav ne·er go to the sites oí those recei·ing the monev. 1here is. moreo·er. no realistic suggestion íor
how such staggering amounts oí monev - there are an estimated 260 million Internet users in North
America - would be distributed íairlv. Google. thereíore. belie·es that the adoption oí such a policv
recommendation would be a mistake.
Proposed Recommendations Relating to Hot News
1he Discussion Draít recounts proposals bv some stakeholders` to amend the (opvright Act
to grant copvright protection to hot news` and to encourage the de·elopment oí state hot news
It also pro·ides a brieí summarv oí the pros and cons oí these legislati·e
proposals. as articulated bv participants in the workshops. lor the reasons set íorth below. these
proposals should be rejected.
lacts. hot or cold. cannot be protected bv copvright since there is no author oí them. 1his has
been the law oí copvright since its inception.
but was gi·en (onstitutional import in the Supreme
(ourt`s 1991 íei.t opinion where the (ourt noted that |t|he íirst person to íind and report a particular
íact has not created the íact: he or she has merelv disco·ered its existence.`
1hus. as a (onstitutional
matter. e·en a competitor remains íree to use the íacts contained in another`s publication to aid in
preparing a competing work. . .|.|`
(entral to íei.t`. holding is its rejection oí the notion that the sweat
oí the brow` creates intellectual propertv rights. and it is preciselv this sweat-oí-the-brow theorv on
which hot news rests.
Protecting hot news under state misappropriation law is not compatible with (onstitutional
principles enunciated in íei.t. As íei.t explains. the (opvright (lause lea·es íacts in the public domain
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 9.
lor a more complete discussion oí the issues raised bv the proposed hot news` legislation recommendations. .ee
Brieí íor Amici (uriae Google. Inc. and 1witter. Inc. in Support oí Re·ersal. ßarctay. Capitat. ívc. r. )bettyovtberatt.cov. ívc..
No. 10-13¯2 2d (ir. June 21. 2010,.
http:´´www.citmedialaw.org´sites´citmedialaw.org´íiles´Google°201witter°20Amicus.pdí last ·isited Julv 16. 2010,.
In íei.t. the Supreme (ourt wrote: 1hat there can be no ·alid copvright in íacts is uni·ersallv understood.` 499 U.S.
at 344. ´ee at.o ^.Y. Mercavtite í·cb.. ívc. r. ívtercovtivevtat í·cb.. ívc.. 49¯ l.3d 109. 114 2d (ir. 200¯, |A|ll íacts-scientiíic.
historical biographical. and news oí the dav . . . mav not be copvrighted and are part oí the public domain a·ailable to e·erv
person.`, quoting íei.t. 499 U.S. at 348,: Regi.ter.cov. ívc. r. 1erio. ívc.. 356 l.3d 393. 418 2d (ir. 2004, quoting Justice
Brandeis`s dissent in INS in holding that a domain name registrar must make \lOIS iníormation publiclv accessible írom
the registrar`s site and generallv íree as the air to common use``,: ´paraco r. íarter. Matv./y. ´/etty. ívg`r. ííP. 303 l.3d 460.
466-6¯ 2d (ir. 2002, recognizing that under modern understanding oí copvright law. historical. scientiíic. or íactual
iníormation belongs in the public domain. and . . . allowing the íirst publisher to pre·ent others írom copving such
iníormation would deíeat the objecti·es oí copvright bv impeding rather than ad·ancing the progress oí knowledge. . . .
|Under íei.t.| the publication oí íacts. regardless how much eííort was expended in disco·ering them.` is not subject to
copvright protection,: .ttia r. ´oc`y ot tbe ^.Y. ío.p.. 201 l.3d 50. 54 2d (ir. 1999, stating that as copvright law de·eloped.
|i|t became accepted as orthodox that ideas. like íacts. belong in the public domain`,.
499 U.S. 340. 34¯ 1991,.
ía. at 349.
íor all to íreelv use. precluding anv claim oí a propertv right in those íacts.
In other words. the
íreedom to copv íacts at will is an essential component oí the promot|ion oí| the Progress oí Science
and useíul Arts.`
L·en ií one could legislate hot news protection. doing so would actuallv run counter to the
interests oí news organizations. lor example. reporters use search engines in their research. and
indexing oí articles allows stories to be íound on the \eb. which dri·es users to the news sites. It is
longstanding industrv practice íor news outlets to report on other outlets` breaking stories e.g.. 1he
Associated Press is reporting that Llena Kagan is President Obama`s Supreme (ourt nominee`:
(NN.com is reporting the possible presence oí a bomb in 1imes Square`,. lor decades. tele·ision and
radio news readers ha·e broadcast iníormation obtained írom newspapers without contro·ersv.
Newspaper. radio. and. more recentlv. Internet news organizations learn and write about breaking e·ents
on tele·ision. Lndorsing hot news` misappropriation would not onlv create uncertaintv in news
outlets across America as to how long thev must sit` on important íactual iníormation. but it would
also disser·e the public interest bv pre·enting citizens írom recei·ing important. time-sensiti·e. íactual
Indeed. the notion that established` media outlets should ha·e a monopolv e·en íor a limited
period oí time, on íacts is anachronistic. 1odav. breaking news is oíten reported íirst bv indi·iduals on
the scene and equipped with nothing more than a cell phone and a connection to a social media site
such as 1witter. lor example. on Januarv 15. 2009. when a US Airwavs ílight went down into the
ludson Ri·er. it was a passenger on the íirst íerrv that disseminated the íirst photographs and reporting
oí the incident.
1his is also true oí natural disasters and ongoing e·ents like the clashes between
Iranian dissidents and the go·ernment oí that countrv. It is simplv not possible to íormulate a hot news
tort that would exclude the important role plaved in news collection and dissemination bv indi·iduals
but pro·ide a íactual monopolv íor established news organizations.
Moreo·er. the ílow oí iníormation between traditional media and indi·iduals using social
networking sites is constant and inseparable. As the same storv about the US Airwavs incident noted.
Newspapers and news sites are constantlv trving to use the |social networking| sites|`| popularitv to
their own beneíit. with direct links and lacebook-ing journalists - but with the head start that 1witter
had o·er the New \ork 1imes last 1hursdav. its seems thev mav ha·e to trv a little harder.`
A hot news right would also run aíoul oí the lirst Amendment. 1he reporting oí truthíul
iníormation is one oí the most closelv guarded íorms oí speech under the (onstitution. the injunction
´ee ia. stating that it is a constitutional requirement` that a competitor remains íree to use the íacts contained in an
another`s publication to aid in preparing a competing work`,: ia. at 350 concluding that raw íacts mav be copied at will.
1his result is neither uníair nor uníortunate. It is the means bv which copvright ad·ances the progress oí science and art.`,.
U.S. (onst. art. I. ¸ 8. cl. 8.
lelena Deards. 1witter lirst Oíí the Mark with ludson Plane (rash (o·erage.` LDI1OR`S \LBLOG. Jan. 19. 2009.
http:´´www.editorsweblog.org´multimedia´2009´01´twitter_íirst_oíí_the_mark_with_hudson_p.php last ·isited Julv 2.
oí which is a most extraordinarv remed|v|.`
that can onlv be imposed where the e·il that would
result írom the reportage is both great and certain and cannot be militated bv less intrusi·e measures.`
1he Proposed Recommendations Relating to New Antitrust Lxemptions Will Harm
1he Discussion Draít mentions two proposals íor antitrust exemptions: the íirst would allow
news organizations to agree jointlv to erect pav walls protecting their online content. and the second
would allow news organizations to agree jointlv on a mechanism requiring news aggregators and
others` to pav íor the use oí online content.
1hese proposals amount to the same thing: Allowing
news organizations to coordinate on pavment schemes. Adopting either would be a signiíicant mistake.
as a matter oí public policv and as a matter oí íairness.
listoricallv. legislation granting antitrust exemptions has been disía·ored bv the l1( and its
commissioners. lor example. the l1( has repeatedlv opposed legislation aimed at pro·iding antitrust
exemptions íor health care pro·iders.
1he l1( likewise opposed legislation to pro·ide an antitrust
exemption in the 199¯ tobacco settlement
and legislation exempting selí-regulation bv the
Generallv. the antitrust communitv agrees that immunitv írom the antitrust
laws should be disía·ored.`
1he Discussion Draít does an excellent job oí describing the historv oí antitrust exemptions in
the newspaper industrv: it likewise pro·ides se·eral explanations íor whv antitrust exemptions are at best
ineííecti·e and at worst acti·elv harmíul to consumers. In particular. the Discussion Draít points out
two criticisms oí the Newspaper Protection Act: lirst. it did not e·en succeed in ensuring the sur·i·al oí
^ebra./a Pre.. ...`v r. ´tvart. 42¯ U.S. 539. 562 19¯6,.
Cß´ ívc. r. Dari.. 510 U.S. 1315. 131¯ 1994,.
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 13.
´ee. e.g.. Press Release. led. 1rade (omm`n. l1( 1estiíies on Importance oí (ompetition and Antitrust Lníorcement
to Lower-(ost. ligher-Oualitv lealth (are Julv 16. 2009,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´2009´0¯´healthcare.shtm: Press
Release. led. 1rade (omm`n. l1( Opposes Bill that \ould Grant Antitrust Lxemption íor lealth (are Pro·iders Julv 29.
1998,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´1998´0¯´healanti.shtm: Letter írom \illiam J. Baer to Rene O. Oli·eira. 1exas State
Representati·e Mav 13. 1999,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´be´·990009.shtm: Janet D. Steiger. (omm`r. led. 1rade (omm`n.
lealth (are Lníorcement Issues. Remarks Beíore the lealth 1rustee Institute No·. 9. 1995,.
http:´´www.ítc.go·´speeches´steiger´stg119.shtm: Press Release. led. 1rade (omm`n. l1( 1estiíies on (ommunitv
Pharmacv lairness Act oí 200¯ Oct. 18. 200¯,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´200¯´10´pharmacvact.shtm: Press Release. led.
1rade (omm`n. l1( Staíí Opposes Ohio Bill to Allow Phvsician (ollecti·e Bargaining Oct. 21. 2002,.
http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´2002´10´phvsicians.shtm all last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
Press Release. led. 1rade (omm`n. l1( (hairman 1estiíies Beíore Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust Lxemption in
Proposed 1obacco Settlement Oct. 29. 199¯,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´199¯´10´tobsen.shtm last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
Press Release. led. 1rade (omm`n. lederal 1rade (ommission 1estiíies on the Antitrust Implications oí
Lntertainment Industrv Selí-regulation Sept. 20. 2000,. http:´´www.ítc.go·´opa´2000´09´·iolanti.shtm last ·isited Julv 2.
´ee Antitrust Modernization (ommission. Immunities and Lxemptions Discussion Outline Julv 10. 2006,.
http:´´go·inío.librarv.unt.edu´amc´pdí´meetings´IL-Statutorv°20DiscOutline060¯10circ1.pdí last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
competing regional papers. And second. it harmed consumers bv increasing ad·ertising and circulation
prices while enriching corporations who were not the intended beneíiciaries oí the legislation.
criticisms can and should be extended to the proposals mentioned in the Discussion Draít. which would
create immunitv írom liabilitv íor jointlv setting prices. the primarv result oí which would be
anticompetiti·elv high prices íor consumers.
Participants in the l1(`s December 2. 2009. workshop expressed additional concerns about the
proposed antitrust exemptions. As described in the Discussion Draít. one public comment noted that
these exemptions could ía·or large news organizations. putting smaller. emerging media companies at a
distinct competiti·e disad·antage.`
Another participant obser·ed. along the same lines. that because
barriers to entrv íor media companies are lower than e·er. all antitrust exemptions would do is
unbalance the plaving íield.
Another workshop participant was skeptical that the proposed exemptions
would be eííecti·e. because the pavment schemes would still be dependent on consumer demand íor
Perhaps the clearest repudiation oí antitrust exemption policies was deli·ered in the
(ommission-authorized statement oí Alden l. Abbott. the l1(`s associate director íor policv and
coordination in connection with the Antitrust Modernization (ommission`s consideration oí statutorv
exemptions and immunities:
Basic economic theorv teaches that an unregulated competiti·e market generallv leads to
the economicallv eííicient le·el oí output. In contrast. a restraint that eííecti·elv raises
price abo·e the competiti·e le·el or. equi·alentlv. reduces output below the competiti·e
le·el, generallv will result in consumers purchasing less oí the product or ser·ice. and íirms
producing less. at the higher price. than would be the case under competiti·e conditions.
(onsequentlv. such a restraint results in a decrease in economic welíare. lurther. it is well
accepted that competition itselí is an engine that dri·es economic eííiciencv. 1hereíore.
logic suggests that antitrust exemptions mav well handicap the economic progress oí
industries thev are intended to protect. Indi·idual íirms mav enjov the beneíits oí antitrust
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 14 citing Leonard Downie. Jr. & Michael Schudson. )be Recov.trvctiov ot .vericav
¡ovrvati.v. (OLUM. JOURNALISM RLV.. Oct. 19. 2009. at 28-29. araitabte at
http:´´www.cjr.org´reconstruction´the_reconstruction_oí_american.php·page~all: Robert G. Picard. 1remors. Structural
Damage and Some (asualties. but No (ataclvsm: 1he News about News Pro·ision. Background Paper to the Presentation
bv the Author at the lederal 1rade (ommission \orkshop: lrom 1own (rier to Bloggers: low \ill Journalism Sur·i·e the
Internet Age· No·. ¯. 2009,. at 11. http:´´www.ítc.go·´os´comments´newsmediaworkshop´544505-00029.pdí, last
·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
ía. quoting Northern (aliíornia (hapter oí the Societv oí Proíessional Journalists. Public (omment to the lederal
1rade (ommission \orkshop: lrom 1own (rier to Bloggers: low \ill Journalism Sur·i·e the Internet Age· No·. 6.
2009,. at 3. http:´´www.ítc.go·´os´comments´newsmediaworkshop´544505-00020.pdí, last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
ía. quoting Jeíí Jar·is. Remarks Beíore the lederal 1rade (ommission \orkshop: lrom 1own (rier to Bloggers:
low \ill Journalism Sur·i·e the Internet Age· Dec. 1. 2009,. at 238.
http:´´www.ítc.go·´opp´workshops´news´transcripts´091201transcript.pdí, last ·isited Julv 2. 2010,.
ía. quoting Picard. .vpra note 52. at 10-11,.
exemptions. but consumers and the economv bear the harm - and the sheltered sector is
rendered less eííicient o·erall.
Abbott continues. explaining that e·en industries that currentlv enjov antitrust exemptions do
not need them to grant amnestv to eííicient. sociallv useíul íorms oí conduct.` because such conduct
should pass the antitrust test oí reasonableness.
1he Discussion Draít mentions two examples.
proposed collaborations íor tracking online content and creating platíorms potentiallv to allow
indi·idual content holders to monetize the use oí content.` which the Antitrust Di·ision oí the DOJ has
alreadv indicated satisív the requirements oí antitrust law as it stands.
News organizations. rather than
seeking immunitv íor anticompetiti·e beha·ior. should instead work within the antitrust íramework to
establish pavment schemes that allow them to beneíit írom their online content without engaging in
Ultimatelv. the issue oí antitrust exemptions is a uniíving one: aside írom indi·idual íirms or
industries that stand to gain írom narrow immunities shielding them írom the eííiciencv and consumer
beneíit oí true competition. the antitrust communitv as a whole agrees that these exceptions are
ineííecti·e at best. and counterproducti·e at worst. 1he l1(`s long-standing position regarding
antitrust exemptions properlv subordinates a desire to ad·antage indi·idual íirms here. print news
organizations, to the need íor a competiti·e. e·en plaving íield that oííers the maximum good to
1hrough all oí the initiati·es we describe abo·e. and more to come. Google continues to work
with publishers to íind wavs to ensure that journalism sur·i·es and thri·es on the \eb. \e remain
optimistic about the íuture oí journalism: 1he lourth Lstate is too crucial a part oí a íunctioning
democracv. and the Internet too poweríul a medium. íor journalism to die in transition to a \eb-íirst
approach. News organizations ha·e more readers than e·er. more sources oí iníormation than e·er.
more wavs to report and tell stories than e·er. and more potential wavs to generate re·enue than e·er.
Journalism will change. but the íree market and íree societv will ensure that it won`t die.
Alden l. Abbott. Assoc. Dir. íor Policv & (oordination. Bureau oí (ompetition. led. 1rade (omm`n. Prepared
Statement Beíore the Antitrust Modernization (ommission on Statutorv Immunities and Lxemptions Dec. 1. 2005,. at 3-4.
http:´´www.ítc.go·´os´2005´12´051202statutorv.pdí citations omitted,.
ía. at 6-¯.
DIS(USSION DRAl1. .vpra note 1. at 15 citing Letter írom (hristine A. Varnev. Assistant Attornev General. U.S.
Dep`t oí Justice Antitrust Di·ision. to \illiam J. Baer. Lsq.. Arnold & Porter LLP Mar. 31. 2010,.
http:´´www.justice.go·´atr´public´busre·iew´25¯318.pdí concerning the Associated Press`s proposed News Registrv,:
Letter írom (hristine A. Varnev. Assistant Attornev General. Dep`t oí Justice Antitrust Di·ision. to (harles L. Biggio. Lsq..
\ilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati leb. 24. 2010,. http:´´www.justice.go·´atr´public´busre·iew´255624.pdí concerning
Mv\ire`s proposal to de·elop and operate an Internet media subscription news aggregation ser·ice,,.
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