Eveline Lubbers on Thu, 26 Sep 2002 22:29:01 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Report: CNN tries to curb Arabic translation

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An unprecedented step has recently been taken by CNN (Cable News Network)
owned by American media giant AOL Time Warner (AOL). The corporation's
representatives have reportedly approached Arabic Internet sites who provide
online translation engines demanding they stop allowing their users the ability
to translate the contents of the CNN website. In a move that is apparently aimed
at bolstering traffic on CNN's own recently-launched Arabic site, AOL has asked
the Arabic sites-including Al-Misbar and Ajeeb-to stop translating CNN's news
from English into Arabic, in compliance with intellectual property laws. 

Considering the news organization refrained from making the same appeal to
other international sites, such as AOL Netscape (a CNN sister company) and
Altavista, which provide online translation services to and from most
European languages, local market sources suggest CNN's difficulties in
competing with Arabic news sites, drove it to try and put a stop to the
translation of its news items into Arabic. ...

CNN's Arabic site was officially launched on January 19, 2002, and is
operated from Dubai Media City (DMC), in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"Our Arabic news site and Dubai offices demonstrate our commitment to the
Middle East market," CNN's managing director for the Middle East stated in a
press conference. 

So far, Al-Misbar has opted to comply with AOL Time Warner's requirement,
halting CNN translations, while Ajeeb discarded the request and is
proceeding with the translation of CNN articles. Industry sources suggest
that Ajeeb's stance stems from its interpretation of a law that allows free
information and content exchange on the Internet. 

Al-Misbar Manager Adnan Eidan confirmed: "We received a letter from the AOL 
Warner company asking us to stop translating their content. We complied with the
request, in accordance with the British Intellectual Property Law, as our
company is registered in Britain." 

"It is a legal issue and we acted according to the law," Eidan added. "Our
site has not been affected by our action, and we have not noticed any
decline in traffic. In fact it is a problem between CNN and the Internet
users." Eidan declined to refer directly to the refusal of other sites to
comply with AOL's demand, reiterating it was a "legal matter". ...

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