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|Rupert Murdoch wants new internet regulations to protect journalism|
Journalism and print based companies like Rupert Murdochs News Corp and the NY Times are said to be struggling to turn a profit online and as some print publishers are going under Mr Murdoch suggests in an article today that companies like Google and Yahoo not "repeat" news stories without paying a premium.
Source:Reuters, Washington - [news.yahoo.com...]
|Murdoch also addressed concerns among newspaper publishers that search engines like Google Inc and Yahoo Inc help users to find stories by aggregating links to newspapers websites and blogs -- but then wrest ad dollars from them that they think should be theirs. |
"The question is, should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyright... not steal, but take," said Murdoch. "Not just them but Yahoo."
To me those are fighting words and this is my response
#1 - Nobody holds a copyright on the news, the copyright lays with the written word so Mr Murdoch is free to block the search engines and to force anyone who wants to read what his company writes to pay. That would be a business decision.
To simply say the internet is broken because it doesn't suit your business model is a farce.
#2 - Print publications are closing down because they are being replaced by the internet. To me that suggests print newspapers are going the way of milk delivery and vinyl records and forcing the internet to take serious steps backwards in order to increase news company profits is absurd.
Mr Murdoch, you're charged with needing to find a way to make print based journalism more attractive so that it's used more... you are NOT welcome to attempt to make the internet less attractive instead. Build up the value of print without trying to re-create the internet.
#3 - If big corporation news companies and major print publications can't turn a profit because a more readily available global medium exists then it may very well be time to consider the age of print journalism over.
Again, Mr Murdoch, if you choose to pay a high priced team of executives, lawyers and writers to write articles but find that those articles don't cover your expenses you are free to charge for them or not share them at all... both would be business decisions.
I find it hard to support the idea of pointing the blame finger at the internet when a product no longer competes. I am aware that lives and jobs are affected but to put it bluntly Mr Murdoch, your business is with News Corp, not with attempting to re-create the internet law books to better profit from it (at everyone elses expense).
I should add that i find it amusing to suggest that completely removing News Corp from any search engine would somehow increase revenue or traffic. Sure a price can be charged but making it mandatory to pay is also absurd.
|Mr Murdoch is free to block the search engines and to force anyone who wants to read what his company writes to pay. That would be a business decision. |
That's exactly the decision he is talking about. Maybe you're right and it would be foolish for him to do so. Certainly, Google has positioned themselves as the "place to go" for information, including news information.
|i find it amusing to suggest that completely removing News Corp from any search engine would somehow increase revenue or traffic |
Maybe Newscorp needs Google, maybe not. They should run the experiment and find out. But that doesn't change the fact that Google is getting content for free, even though that content cost a lot of money to produce.
I wonder what would happen if News Corp struck an exclusive deal with, say MSN... and cut Google out of the loop. Would everyone still go to Google News as the authority?
I am not sure if he is referring to search results or rss feeds and I suspect that he doesn't appreciate the distinction and is confusing the two.
RSS - you are explicitly giving away what you put in the feed. If you don't want the whole article read then just put a "teaser" in the feed and a link to the rest of the article.
Search results - that is more difficult and saying that it is up to the site to block the bot is like saying that if you forget to lock the door then it isn't theft for somebody to take your TV set. If the search engine publishes a large enough block of content to mean that the searcher needn't follow the link then they are stealing content. On the other hand the results need to be comprehensive enough to indentify which link is relevant.
Presidents and Prime Ministers bend the knee at Mr. Murdoch's throne, he generally gets what he wants. So if he wants tot tighten up the sloppy enforcement of copyright law, I, like all creators of intellectual property rejoice.
Scrapers will moan, and wither.
Angonasec - Mr Murdoch gives his content to Google knowingly and freely because of the vast audience Google is able to help it reach, surely you see that his statement wouldn't be a move to protect property rights but instead be a ploy to change the internet so that it better lines his pockets? (again, at the expense of everyone else)
You mention "enforcement of copyright", Mr Murdoch is neither stopping the outflow of articles nor pursuing legal means to hold anyone responsible for talking about it online. He could protect copyright by turning off the news feeds right now if he choose. He's a smart businessman, he knows all too well the world would simply march on without him and NewsCorp - 10 other news sources would spring up willing to provide the news.
The issue of free speech has yet to be traversed as well and he knows it. If I write about a news article in a forum like this and someone clicks on an ad after reading it, is Mr Murdoch owed money? Am I for writing this? Is the website owner... because he's owner?
Bluntly - Mr. Murdoch, if you do not want Google and Yahoo to share your news stories why do you not turn off your news feeds? If you want to be paid for the content of those feeds why do you not charge a fee? Why don't you look at those two options before assuming your audience is too naive to understand exactly what your statement implies?
|"People reading news for free on the Web, that's got to change," said Murdoch... |
There's the crux of it. He can argue and finger point as much as he likes as to whether it's the fault of search engines, or anyone else, but the plain fact is that the business model of the publishing empires has to change.
I come from a commercial publishing background, and in the last company I worked at the web was providing an excellent source of revenue. Not only was (is) it an extremely milkable cash cow, but the overheads are nothing when compared to publishing a physical product. Money is there to be made, you just have to know how to extract it from your advertisers.
One of the biggest problems faced by the likes of Murdoch is that profits are never enough. Shareholders demand more - are continually promised more - and you can't cover your own bloated overheads and feed greedy shareholders at the same time under this type of business structure.
Behemoths like News Corp have another major problem - they are behemoths. They need to streamline dramatically and look in-house first for ways to do so.
Next they'll be aiming the same claims at libraries: think of all those people in libraries who read papers and magazines for free - something must be done! All right, the scale is not the same, but the principle is.
Blaming other parties for your own woes isn't going to solve anything. Reinvent or die. That's the only option available for publishers.
|Calivert wrote: But that doesn't change the fact that Google is getting content for free, even though that content cost a lot of money to produce. |
Yes, but remember that the content is being given away in newsfeeds for free to anyone who wants it so long as they don't claim it to be theirs. Jumping straight to calling the search engines thieves and suggesting they owe money... not a smart move (I noticed he changed the wording of his statement instantly however his meaning did not change)
edit: It should go without saying but to ensure there is no mistake I DO respect Mr Murdoch both as a person and businessman and I DO NOT want to see newspapers shut down. Mr Murdochs suggestion that ALL news agencies switch to paid subscription service models may also be a potential answer if they can all unite in doing so... my exception to his statement is that he implies that using freely given content, even when used in accordance with the newsfeeds terms, is somehow akin to theft or should cause arbitrary fees to be incurred.
example - I posted a link to a reuters article and gave a snippet of the article in this very thread to better discuss it, should Brett have to pay Reuters a premium if someone happens to subscribe to WW after reading this thread? It's not a sound idea imo.
[edited by: JS_Harris at 10:52 am (utc) on April 3, 2009]
What Murdoch wants is to be paid for the snippets shown in search results.
The changes he wants will not help deal with scrapers because what they are doing is already a breach of copyright: what it might do is mean that search engines will only index content on sites that positively give permission, or waive the fees that would otherwise be due.
|I posted a link to a Reuters article and gave a snippet of the article in this very thread to better discuss it, should Brett have to pay Reuters a premium if someone happens to subscribe to WW after reading this thread? It's not a sound idea imo. |
That is exactly what he wants.
One function of newspapers was to aggregate and select news. That has been made obsolete, and he wants to bring it back.
Good thing news outlets aren't controlled by a handful of monopolies. Oh wait, we're screwed.
Ironically, I've never been a fan of Mr Murdoch
|Good thing news outlets aren't controlled by a handful of monopolies. Oh wait, we're screwed. |
This is the point. Rupert Murdoch owns several hundred printed news sources. His bottom line is bound to suffer the greatest because of the transition. Of course he is going to make a case for it.
However, there is no way he would ever pull the feeds, because half of Rupert Murdoch's purpose is to serve as a conduit for his "message"
Here's all the internet regulation Mr. Murdoch needs:
|User-agent: * |
Wasn't that easy?
|Print publications are closing down because they are being replaced by the internet. |
That seems to be the conventional wisdom and I suppose that is what will be written in the history books. But there is another factor that had a large impact on newspapers and news magazines that set the stage for the Internet to inflict the final deadly blows.
The surprise here is that it's taken so long for someone to realise that there's no money in internet news and, it may even damage other news media.
It has always baffled me why newspapers would want to publish news stories online. For the BBC, it makes some sort of sense (because they are barred from taking advertising money in the UK) but it cannot make sense for any other news organisation.
If newspapers wish to survive, they need to come to an agreement of some sort to either pull out of online news publication altogether or, at the very least, add a 48 hour delay.
To a great extent, newspapers have brought on their own problems by cheapening the quality of their products and their audiences. Consider:
- Many (most?) newspapers these days try to build "community" on their Web site with blog comments or reader forums. Advertisers don't want to pay full retail to be on pages of flame wars between Democrats and Republicans, "right to life" and "right to choose" advocates, or Yankees and Red Sox fans. The more a newspaper site becomes a social-networking site, the less value it has to advertisers who are willing to pay decent CPMs.
- In the metropolitan area of 2.5 million where I live, nearly all of the world and national news consists of recycled NY Times and Washington Post stories, and the editor recently announced that the paper would save its best content (investigative reporting, features, etc.) for the print edition. The print edition already sucks, and the Web edition (which has a lot more competition than the print edition does) is about to suck even more. It's almost as if Dr. Kevorkian had been hired as an editorial consultant.
good point Kaled, Mr Murdoch is indeed hurting his print business by making the stories available online. Taking his content offline would force people to purchase print if they want it. It's hard to listen to complaints about "online" when nobody is forcing him to be online to begin with.
His idea that all news agencies should switch to a premium service only might very well be whats needed but if only 99% of sources do that the remaining 1% will become dominant (and very rich most likely).
[edited by: JS_Harris at 1:17 am (utc) on April 4, 2009]
|If newspapers wish to survive, they need to come to an agreement of some sort to either pull out of online news publication altogether or, at the very least, add a 48 hour delay. |
It's time for newspapers to realize that they're in the news business, not the flattened-wood-pulp-and-ink business. If Mr. Murdoch and his friends weren't so stubborn about preserving an expensive and environmentally irresponsible method of news delivery, they might not be in the pickle they're in today.
The key word here is business ...
Business is about making money and there is almost certainly less money to be made publishing stories online than there is to be made publishing in print.
Newspapers have been struggling for decades but many have made a reasonable profit. Can anyone name an online news service that actually employs journalists, etc. and is genuinely profitable?
|Can anyone name an online news service that actually employs journalists, etc. and is genuinely profitable? |
Considering the news media bias these days it's a wonder anyone is reading "the papers" or their websites. A return to journalism in it's original form might get the viewers they really seek...and they could monetize it, too. For what the current media offers I wouldn't spend a plug nickle and for those that lap it up they won't pay for it anyway since they consider it an entitlement. Very difficult to monetize that!
Not quite political speak, not quite reading between the lines, but pretty spot on as to the difficulties "the papers" face when dealing with "the web".
The internet will allow primary sources again, there wont be the need for journalists showing up at press conferences. The conference simply will be put online. Comentators, blogs etc will grab the primary source and readers can check the primary source.
Like in Switzerland. For many months, one of the leading politicians (right-winger, against-TV and press monopoly) operates his own internet tv. (actually a small newspaper operates the site for free and his is interviewed for various topics weekly).
Many newspapers are grabbing the content and write articles around it. Mostly, they write nonsense and everyone is free to check the primary source or believe the one dimensional view of the newspaper which just serves the political view of its readers.
No one needs newspapers, but we need journalists, their views and comments, etc. We need someone to collect data.
>>No one needs newspapers, but we need journalists, their views and comments, etc. We need someone to collect data.
Agree. And this can be accomplished and companies can make a profit on the Internet. The real question is - Can printed media compete with the Internet?
News needs to evolve or die. Just like any other for-profit industry.
Locking down content and threatening to sue people is proven to be self-defeating.
I wonder what the final cries of the slide-rule industry were.
It would be naive to expect a person of the calibre of Mr. Murdoch to do anything for altruistic reasons, of course he's protecting his pocket and extending his power base.
But if in the pursuit of his aims, he also improves the protection of copyright material, as I wrote previously, those who create intellectual property will rejoice.
Much like a thief declaring in mitigation; "Well if you don't want me to steal your car don't, own a car."
We put our IP on the internet with access subject to our chosen Terms, is it too much to expect users to honour them?
i think he's got a fair point.
what is the difference between what google news does, and some tv station just repeating endless clips from BBC news, SKY news, FOX, CNN, NBC etc... all without paying them a single cent.
they could equally turn around and say the same thing as google, "but by showing the clips we are promoting their station" -- but that doesn't justify them using all the stuff for free.
>what is the difference between what google news does, and some tv station just repeating endless clips from BBC news, SKY news, FOX, CNN, NBC etc... all without paying them a single cent.
Well, the difference is, basically, that Google news doesn't repeat endless clips from anyone.
What Google News does, is give free publicity to the newspapers, by sending zillions of customers directly to the newspaper site.
It's exactly the same as if a new TV channel were set up, which did nothing but broadcast nonstop advertisements for all the TV shows on OTHER channels. Any NON-MONOPOLISTIC TV station owner would love for someone to do that for him.
NON-MONOPOLISTIC. That's the kicker. Murdoch obtains profits by pushing competitive views off the newsstands by his newspaper monopoly. Google restores the level playing field by letting people see all those NON-Murdoch news sources, as well as the Murdoch ones.
That's why blocking Google from indexing Murdoch properties doesn't serve Murdoch's desires. What he WANTS is for Google to stop indexing NON-Murdoch properties, so he can return to the monopolistic power he enjoyed.
This attitude has driven most of the big-media attacks on Google: not only newspaper, but book publishers, Movie moguls, and Music Industries Goons feel extremely threatened -- not by Google stealing content (it doesn't), not by Google promoting their own content (it does WHICH IS GOOD FOR THEM) but by Google promoting content from other sources, thus allowing those other sources free access to promotion (thus allowing the "little guys" to evade the monopolistic lock in distribution channels owned by the pigopolists.
People in this forum, who regularly compete with large companies for keywords in Google search, should really appreciate Google for this.
that's not quite right, because google aren't publishing advertisements -- they are publishing snippets of text taken from those websites (which costs the websites money to gather and publish). google justifies that by saying they are giving free publicity to the newspapers.
but if a tv station broadcast snippets of programs recorded by other stations they couldn't use the same argument -- they'd be sued.
it's like the BBC showing goal clips from a football match by using footage recorded by SKY. they can't just turn round and say it's an advertisment, or that SKY don't have rights over the actual goals -- because it's the footage that is the issue, and that doesn't belong to them.
i don't see much of a difference myself.
and google aren't in it just to provide a public service -- i'm sure the site drives considerable traffic to youtube, for example
Publishing ANYTHING for the purpose of promoting something IS an advertisement. Snippets are the ideal advertisement, as book publishers know. (That's why they publish multipage snippets of an author's next book in the back of the current printing of his last book.)
Snippets are fair use (by U.S. law). They do not substitute for the original, they are intended to promote the original and they do have that effect.
And it is not the publishers who have "gathered at great cost" the snippets. The publishers gathered (at whatever cost) the original article entire. It is Google who gathers, at great expense, articles of interest to surfers based on specified criteria--and promotes those articles to those surfers. There is no conceivable harm in this. The harm, I repeat, is that Google gives people alternatives and therefore bypasses the monopolistic distribution channels.
On your theory, Murdoch could prevent damages by taking his content off Google. He hasn't, and he won't, because THAT'S NOT HOW GOOGLE IS DAMAGING HIM. Google is damaging Murdoch by opening up promotional opportunities to Non-Murdoch news.
And that is not only perfectly legal, but of great public benefit. May they continue to profit as they deserve!
but google news would be nothing without the content that other people provide. you take that away, and there is nothing left. all google has done is to collect together and repackage other people's content.
it's no different really to all those MFA blogs that publish RSS feeds from other sites. they pull the headlines, snippets and images (if the feed has them) and stick them all on a page which updates every hour. and the headlines link back to the original site, just like google news. what's the difference?
google moan about those, saying that you should always try and provide added content. but what added content does google news provide, really? just the ability to shift the boxes around the screen.
not that i'm bothered. i use google news all the time, and i think it's useful as well.
[edit: i might have overstated my case a touch! i realise that google news sorts the stories depending on how much they're getting reported -- which is useful.]
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