No, it's about Rupert Murdoch's inability to earn enough revenue from third-party traffic. Here's a "Cliff's Notes" summary of the real issues at work:
- Murdoch wants users to pay for content.
- Murdoch wants to improve his ad revenues by relying more on paying customers (who attract higher ad CPMs) and less on low-quality third-party referral traffic.
Murdoch has said he'll block Google after he has "paywalls" in place. Why after, and not before? Because Google News is currently a source of traffic and revenue for him, and he wants to keep that traffic and revenue until he can find a better alternative.
Murdoch's problems have nothing to do with copyright and very little to do with Google (except to the degree that Google makes it easy for Mr. Murdoch's readers to find other news sources). His problems are the result of the news industry's inability to make the old newspaper business model (local quasi-monopolies on text news and advertising) work on the Web.
Murdoch is hoping desperately that a paywall scheme will stem the loss of newspaper subscriber and newsstand revenues while making his audiences more valuable to advertisers. That's what forum members should be taking away from this discussion.