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Murdoch bites the hand that feeds, accusing Google of stealing his copyright

Ad revenues are down at a bad time for print magazines and newspapers as costs are going up. The cost to print newspapers and magazines as well as the delivery of the publications is soaring meaning that some are closing up shop or moving to all-digital formats.

Long running print publication PC World stopped its print publication and went to a completely digital format in January 2009. Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, has said that people reading the websites of newspapers should be paying. According to Murdoch, the ad revenues that many publishers expect to offset the costs of its digital operations will not cover their costs.

Reuters quotes Murdoch saying, "People reading news for free on the Web, that's got to change." According to Murdoch, the website of The New York Times is the most popular paper website in the U.S. yet it is unable to cover the costs of running the website with ad revenue. Murdoch's company owns NYT rival The Wall Street Journal, which is one of the few large papers in the U.S. charging online readers to access its content.

Among the newspapers Murdoch owns are the New York Post and the Times of London. Murdoch says that the Times of London holds a semi-public debate on changing its current “free to read” website to a “charge to read” site. However, the publication has not yet begun to charge for online content.

One interesting item that Murdoch talked about at the Cable Show conference is that News Corp and its partners are investing in a digital reader for newspapers similar to the Amazon Kindle, but with a larger screen optimized for reading papers. The device is reportedly being built by Plastic Logic and set to launch in early 2010.

Murdoch also says that by linking to newspaper content and making the stories easier for readers to find, Google is taking ad dollars out of its pockets. Murdoch said, "The question is, should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyright... not steal, but take. Not just them but Yahoo."





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