Could Attributor sound the death knell to news content pirates? And could that extend to Google News, the Blackbeard of them all? Fingers crossed. Attributor, Roy Greenslade writes in The Guardian, "seeks to recoup a portion of the advertising revenue enjoyed by sites that "borrow" copyrighted content from its originators." It does this through monitoring the web for content derived from the original source, and then sending notices to the offending site essentially asking for the originator's fair share. It can do this in a number of ways: either by blocking the pages containing stolen content from appearing in search engine results, removing advertising from the offending sites, or by physically removing the stolen content. You can read the New York Times' original article on the possible implications of Attributor for more details.
Advertising networks, such as Google and Yahoo, weren't exactly ecstatic over proposals involving Attributor returning ad revenue money to the original owner. For that side of things to work, unfortunately, their cooperation is crucial. I wonder, though, whether Attributor can't be turned on Google itself, namely Google News? If the point is to effectively copyright content for the originator in order to give them their fair share, surely this should be directed at Google News too? That way, they'll be forced to pay for content in order to keep their news service up and running (or ideally shut it down altogether, but maybe this is just wishful thinking). It's long overdue that Google had a taste of its own pilfering medicine.