Beth Fulkerson interviewed by Search Engine Journal on Google’s Snippets “stealing” website traffic

Beth Fulkerson, a partner in Culhane Meadows’ Chicago office, was recently interviewed by Search Engine Journal for an article titled “Are Google’s Featured Snippets Stealing Clicks? It’s Complicated.”

Here are some excerpts from Beth’s interview:

Depending on who you ask, what most people in the search industry now call a featured snippet appeared in late 2013 or early 2014, and while they were welcomed by Google’s users, some website owners noticed a drop in their traffic.

These specialized search results provided fast answers to simple queries, such as the date of a specific holiday in a given year or state capitals and are pulled from Google’s Knowledge Base, pushing down the “blue links” that historically owned the top results.

While many websites cried foul and claimed that Google had stolen their content, according to Beth Fulkerson, an intellectual property attorney, “You can’t copyright facts.”

However, there were instances where Google was pulling more than simple facts and providing a somewhat ham-fisted attempt at attribution, if at all.

Fulkerson, who has written Terms and Conditions agreements for large media and tech companies and worked with Google on data licensing and content syndication, added, “What is protected is the originality of the expression of an idea.”

Since the introduction of this instant answer to their search results, Google has had more than a few misfires that included instances getting caught red-handed lifting information such as song lyrics or celebrities’ net worth without providing the proper attribution.

The complete article can be found here.

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