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Blocking Google being eyed as a way to get people to pay for News Corp content

Rupert Murdoch's move to online users to pay for content they read is infamous at this point. The publishing impresario has some of the most popular newspapers in the world under his News Corp umbrella.

Murdoch is also running one of the few successful publications online that charges for access -- The Wall Street Journal. The catch for Murdoch is that there is a well known workaround for accessing WSJ content online without having to pay or register with the publication -- Google. You can search the title of most any WSJ story that requires a paid account with Google and find the complete article for free.

Murdoch is now saying that he will remove stories all together from Google's search index as a way to encourage people to pay for content. Encourage here is a synonym for force. Murdoch told Sky News Australia that the papers in his empire including the Sun, Times, and WSJ would consider blocking Google entirely once that fully enacted plans for charging people to read stories.

Murdoch said, "I think we will (block Google), but that's when we start charging. We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it's not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story - but if you're not a paying subscriber to all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form."

Murdoch continued saying, "There's a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether... but we'll take that slowly."

Murdoch had previously promised that starting in 2010 charging for the use of his websites would be enacted. He is backtracking on that a bit and now says that he won’t promise that date will be met.

Murdoch said, "The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it – steal our stories, we say they steal our stories - they just take them. That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's, a whole lot of people ... they shouldn't have had it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep."

The ill will between Murdoch and Google is building on the back of significantly reduced traffic to MySpace. MySpace has a lucrative search deal in place with Google that may be one of the reasons the paid content work around has not been addressed before. With significantly increased competition from Facebook pushing MySpace into a second place spot in the social networking scene, MySpace has missed traffic goals set by Google. The shortfall in traffic equates to the potential for the loss of more than $100 million in income from the Google search deal.

As Murdoch ramps up his schemes to make money off the internet, Google CEO Eric Schmidt continues to scoff at Murdoch's plans. Schmidt has said in the past, "In general these models (paid online content) have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity. So my guess is for niche and specialist markets ... it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news."

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By Norseman4 on 11/9/2009 1:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
The question that I have is, re-posting complete articles without the publisher's permission is a violation of US and international copyright laws (even with a link to the original source), isn't it? (US, Yes, Int'l, probably)

If it's not legal to do, shouldn't the infringed party take steps to stop it? If Google only posted a snippet, a teaser, if-you-will, with a link to the source, everything would have been fine.

RE: Copyright?
By HotFoot on 11/9/2009 1:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Does copyright apply to reports of real-world events? Am I going to be charged for talking about the weather with a friend because some news caster spoke about it first?

RE: Copyright?
By Norseman4 on 11/9/2009 5:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
Types of Works Protected by Copyright
Copyright law protects "works of authorship." The Copyright Act states that works of authorship include the following types of works:

* Literary works. Novels, nonfiction prose, poetry, newspaper articles and newspapers, magazine articles and magazines, computer software, software documentation and manuals, training manuals, manuals, catalogs, brochures, ads (text), and compilations such as business directories

To receive copyright protection, a work must be "original" and must be "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression. Certain types of works are not copyrightable.

A weather report may not be covered, but news article's, even in electronic form does.

RE: Copyright?
By Fracture on 11/10/2009 9:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
Does copyright apply to reports of real-world events?

While many news organizations seem to think this is debatable, the truth is you CANNOT COPYRIGHT FACTS . They merely exist. Recent issues concerning this have popped up in major league sports, who ban any account of their "material":

see it here

Beyond that, there's Fox's ignorance of the Fair Use doctrine that balances on 4 main points:

1)The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2)The nature of the copyrighted work;
3)The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4)The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Not only does Murdoch overstate point 3, he completely ignore's Google's beneficial effects on point 4. Google drives countless more clicks to the originating sites by using a snipet of the title an byline. Moreover, concerning point 2 - any 'reporter' that merely reports on the news without investigation or adding some value such as insight or analysis is guilty of plagiarizing the news creators , mainly the people on whom they report.

News Corp is going to find the next decade extremely uncomfortable - the monopoly of information by the press has ended in the age of the internet. Bloggers can be just as or more insightful than reporters and even do a better job of fact finding and checking. Newspapers are on a downhill slope since news can be found freely and more quickly, leaving companies such as the New York Times selling bird cage liner. Cable companies are up next - advancements in technology mean that good content don't take millions to produce and necessitate tens of millions of viewers.

Remember decades ago that content used to be free to the viewer - paid for completely by advertising. Why has it come to a point that when there are more ads than ever, Murdoch among others wants to charge directly for the content itself? I'll be amazed if News Corp isn't a shell of its former self in another 10-20 years.

RE: Copyright?
By Norseman4 on 11/10/2009 10:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
In this case, the article makes it pretty clear that Google is presenting entire articles. What I've is that this is clearly not the case.

I haven't found anything but a quick blurb and a link to the WSJ hosted piece. (Admittedly, I haven't looked to hard.)

It looks like Google is clear in this.

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