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Search engine permissions project due to launch next month

Following the Belgian court decision against Google last week, a global taskforce headed by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has announced the imminent launch of a pilot project that it hopes will prevent future clashes between search engines and publishers.

The initiative, first announced in January 2005 and given a “cautious welcome” by AOP members, surrounds creation of ACAP (Automated Content Access Protocol), an automated enabling system by which publishers can grant permissions to search engines to recognise their content and give permission for it to be used, bringing legitimacy to the current situation.

AOP has arranged a briefing for AOP members on 15 November from Mark Bide from Rightscom, the company managing the project - more information.

The WAN-led taskforce, which involves The European Publishers Council (EPC) the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the European Newspapers Association (ENPA), hopes that the protocol will allow a search engine operator to systematically adhere to current policy and law, ultimately creating a technical solutions framework that will allow publishers worldwide to express usage policies in a language that the search engines can be taught to understand.

ACAP will be presented at the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair and is scheduled to be launched by the end of 2006 with a pilot operating for up to 12 months.

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