Google's CEO Eric Schmidt

What was ACAP

Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) was the new open standard that enables website owners to express terms under which crawlers (also known as robots or spiders) and others are allowed access to and use of their website contents.

ACAP has been devised by publishers in collaboration with search engine operators and other web content aggregators to revolutionize the creation, dissemination, use, and protection of copyright-protected content on the worldwide web.

ACAP was set to become a universal permissions protocol on the Internet, a totally open, non-proprietary standard. ACAP was established as a joint initiative of the European Publishers Council, the World Association of Newspapers and the International Publishers Association and is now maintained by the International Press Telecommunications Council IPTC.

In November 2007 ACAP announced that the first version of the standard was ready. No non-ACAP members, whether publishers or search engines, have adopted it so far. A Google spokesman appeared to have ruled out adoption. In March 2008, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt stated that

“At present it does not fit with the way our systems operate”. No progress has been announced since the remarks in March 2008 and Google, along with Yahoo! and MSN, have since reaffirmed their commitment to the use of robots.txt and sitemaps.

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt

In 2011 management of ACAP was turned over to the International Press Telecommunications Council and announced that ACAP 2.0 would be based on Open Digital Rights Language 2.0.

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