Google is ready to cooperate with newspaper publishers to develop mutually beneficial business relationships.

This was made clear by David Drummond, senior vice-president and chief legal counsel, Google Inc., at a session on ‘What Do We Do About Google? The Great Debate’ on the concluding day of the 62nd World Newspaper Congress and 16th World Editors’ Forum here on Thursday.

He admitted that Google had not done enough to engage with publishers to work out a solution and “we are quite serious about doing that.”

‘No single or easy solution’

Acknowledging that so far it had been difficult for newspapers to monetise their online content, Mr. Drummond said that as there was no single cause for the industry’s current problems, there was no single or easy solution.

“The solution will mean new technological ways to reach audiences, both wide and narrow, to keep them engaged longer and to generate more money. It will mean new models that combine free and paid access to content. It will mean better display advertising that makes more money for publishers.”

Mr. Drummond urged newspaper publishers to work with Google to build bigger audiences and engage more deeply with high value readers.

“No violation”

Rejecting the argument that Google violated copyright, he said “this is not a question of Google not respecting copyright. This is a fundamental disagreement when you are applying copyright rules on the web.” The idea that indexing sites was a violation “flies in the face” of how the web was built.

Earlier, Gavin O’Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, pointed out that all media business models, without exception, were dependent on copyright, and urged Google to embrace it unequivocally. That could be a starting point for working together to find industry-wide, technological solutions.

Pointing out that WAN was behind ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol), Mr. Reilly said he was baffled why Google should have a problem with ACAP? He wanted Google to be pro-ACAP, as all it sought to do was to make copyright work on the web by creating an infrastructure that was universal.