From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
It's clear that Google's style of aggregation must be protected in any legislation. Google employs fair use "teaser" material to direct users to the ad-funded site of the owner of the material. The owner of the material gets the ad revenue, not Google. Limiting that teaser indexing/aggregation would in effect reduce ad revenue for all sites because users would only be able to concentrate on just a few sites that they already know. As for sites who primarily rewrite stories whose original content was found elsewhere, we can look at this in a few ways. (a) I "feel" that such rewriting based on freeloading of some else's work is wrong. I suspect it would be difficult to prove without direct evidence of plagiarism such as similar sentence patterns or similar "flow" of the storyline. (b) We must ask why these "rewrite" sites exist and presumably are profitable. The original content is most likely better written, with more fidelity to the facts. I place some blame on old-school newspaper sites for not getting the word out. For example, the New York Times has many different topic-specific blogs that are far superior to "rewrite" web sites. The newspaper industry has seen the end of their business model parading down Main Street with clowns and a brass band for 10 years. I'm not sure we can legislate the survival of that model. We certainly wouldn't want to do it at the expense of one of the original goals of the WEB--to make the existence of information more apparent to more people.