A recent proposal put forth by a Conservative peer could bring upon some subtle changes in the UK’s copyright rules that would exempt search engines from any liability while creating copies of web pages in order to dispense their search responsibilities.
Under the new Digital Economy Bill, Lord Lucas, has proposed that the search engine companies, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, must be exempted from copyright laws and should be given the liberty to access and copy any website they want to index.
An official website for the Parliament is carrying a document that proposes as many as 299 amendments into the country’s existing copyright protection laws.
Of these, a proposal from Lord Lucas states: “Every provider of a publicly accessible website shall be presumed to give a standing and non-exclusive license to providers of search engine services to make a copy of some or all of the content of that website, for the purpose only of providing said search engine services”.
Search engines work by creating and indexing copies of pages on the web, and these copies are what the system searches when a user enters a query in the search box.
Incidentally, the proposal has surfaced at a crucial time when the chairman of News International Corp is advocating for stopping search engines from showing his websites’ content for free.
Interesting prospect that raises a lot of questions. Arguably, Google and others earn money from the content of others including the likes of newspapers, movies and individually-produced content (bloggers for example). Now will it mean that the IP owners are going to be discarded altogether?
(Search Engine Land)