09 October 2009

No More Free Ride for Aggregators?

The leaders of two of the world's major news organizations said today that search engines and others who use news content for free must pay up, Editor & Publisher reports via The Associated Press.

Many news companies contend that sites such as Google have reaped a fortune from their articles, photos and video without fairly compensating the news organizations producing the material.

"We content creators have been too slow to react to the free exploitation of news by third parties without input or permission," Tom Curley, the AP's chief executive, told the World Media Summit, attended by 300 media leaders in Beijing.

"Crowd-sourcing Web services such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Facebook have become preferred customer destinations for breaking news, displacing Web sites of traditional news publishers," Curley said.

"We content creators must quickly and decisively act to take back control of our content," he added. "We will no longer tolerate the disconnect between people who devote themselves — at great human and economic cost — to gathering news of public interest and those who profit from it without supporting it."

Rupert Murdoch also told summit attendees that content providers would be demanding to be paid.

"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators — the people in this hall — who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph," the News Corp. chief executive said.

Curley said earlier this week that the AP was considering selling news stories to some online customers exclusively for a certain period, perhaps half an hour.

The AP already plans to roll out a system, called a news registry, that will track its content online and detect unlicensed uses in ways that could help boost revenue for the not-for-profit news cooperative and its member newspapers.

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