Several print publisher groups have announced plans to test an online content management systemthat would control what search engines index on their sites. They're hoping the system, which they're calling an "Automated Content Access Protocol," will help them avoid conflicts with companies like Google.
The publishers include the WAN (World Association of Newspapers), the EPC (European Publishers Council) the IPA (International Publishers Association) and the ENPA (European Newspapers Association).
If this sounds like an expensive reinvention of the robots.txt file or a souped-up meta tag, you're not wrong. They're attempting to force search engines to accomodate their rules, and in doing so hope to take control of their destiny online.
Danny Sullivan, writing about the recent Belgium newspaper lawsuit, goes in depth on why systems like this are problematic. The most expedient solution, Danny says, is for a court to grant legal authority to existing blocking mechanisms.
Here's hoping that happens, but don't hold your breath.