UK Aggregator NewsNow Dumps Newspapers After They Demand Payment To Link To Stories

from the which-is-more-valuable? dept

Back in October, we wrote about how various newspapers, under the auspices of the "Newspaper Licensing Agency" were threatning NewsNow, a UK news aggregator that is (in my experience) one of the more comprehensive aggregators out there, but which only shows headlines and links to full stories. It's difficult to see how that would be a copyright violation in anyone's definition of the term or why that should require any kind of license. The NLA gave NewsNow until last week to "comply" and according to the folks over at the Nieman Lab, NewsNow has decided to bid adieu to those sources rather than pay up:
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach an agreement with the NLA. In spite of the NLA's claims to the contrary, we continue to maintain that what they are demanding of ourselves and our customers is unacceptable and of questionable legitimacy. Irrespective of the lack of a legal basis, the NLA's licence is not fit for purpose. This is not just about the charges they intend to impose on us, but the charges they would also impose on our customers for receiving and circulating links within their own organisations. In addition, it is a perhaps an under-reported fact that the terms dictated by the NLA scheme would oblige us to hand over customer details to the NLA, which seems to be developing a potential rival service itself. It is hard to imagine that this kind of behaviour would be tolerated in any other sector. The NLA has also offered no reasonable guarantees of limitations on the increase of costs over time. We strongly feel that to accept the NLA's terms would set a dangerous precedent restricting our customers' ability to conduct their business freely. We see this as a 'slippery slope' towards any free-to-access website demanding licence fees from any organisation for circulating or clicking on links."
It is interesting that part of the license would have required handing over customer info, and good of NewsNow to resist this. The aggregator says that it will still provide links to those sources in its free (extremely feature limited) online offerings, but will remove them from its subscription offerings. It's difficult to see how this benefits anyone. It makes life worse for newspapers, NewsNow itself and NewsNow customers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Podiatrist, Dec 15th, 2009 @ 9:17pm

    Another self inflicted GSW

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Leviathant (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 9:18pm

    Astonishing

    I keep thinking that no decisions made by newspaper companies or record labels will surprise me, and then a story comes up about how a newspaper is demanding that you pay to link to them.

    Good riddance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Pjerky (profile), Dec 15th, 2009 @ 10:51pm

    So what your saying is...

    So basically the news organization is going to chop off its hand to spite its finger, how nice. They have decided to get rid of a significant source of traffic, which will reduce opportunities for revenue. Thus, they will have to find a new way to replace that lost source that previously didn't cost them anything.

    Isn't this a bit like charging people for recommending your company to others? The absurdity of it. And news organizations wonder why they are dying? This is just another sign of the oncoming epic failure and collapse of the mainstream media. But if they are really this stupid then I say let them fail. THEY are not too big to fail. Maybe we can get rid of most of these idiotic talking heads we see on TV and the plagiarism in the newspapers and get back to real reporting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    zenith (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:13am

    NewsNow

    NewsNow is a fantastic site - as follower of sport, it's superb for tracking the news stories of my favourite team.

    I'm glad that they've not bowed to pressure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Griff (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 2:49am

    I note from the Guardian that

    "Most British news monitoring agencies have already signed the terms, including Digital Media Services, Durrants, MediaGen, Precise Media, Press Data, PressIndex and the WPP-owned TNS Media Intelligence."

    So if you subscribe to any of these, they have handed your details over to the NLA, presumably ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:45am

    NLA does have one thing right: Without their news, newsnow (which creates none of it's own content) is an empty shell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Yeebok (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    It is rather odd ..

    That the terms include personal details, very odd indeed. If the whole thing is so bad it's strange to have several companies already signing up, but of course there's the potential for some bias there for all I know. Is the Guardian owned by one of those agencies ?
    They're all relevant questions I guess, but really, the way things were going, a line was bound to get drawn in the sand some time and some where soon. This may even tip Murdoch's hand or make him reconsider .. who knows ? Not I.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Dont Need No Stinkin Name, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:27am

    Re:

    Way to miss the point, as they did also. Must be some common affliction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Griff's ugly Gecko, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Why would you hand over your personal information? What basis do you think that is happening under?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    dataGuy (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re: NewsNow

    I agree - NewsNow UK is a very handy site. Check it out if you have never used it: http://www.newsnow.co.uk/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    Good point. Now that NLA is no longer aggregated in NewsNow, the users will get their news from the tens of thousands of other sources that NewsNow has, and NLA will lose the free advertising, which will go to their competitors.

    Good thing there's a ton of other goodies filling that "empty shell" other than NLA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jaws4theRevenge, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: NewsNow

    I just checked the site out and without NLA content, there's just nothing of interest. /sarcasm

    Seriously though, that's a very useful site that I have never heard of. Thanks for attracting my attention to it, NLA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    David Gerard (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    They tried it on Wikipedia

    They emailed a price list to the Wikimedia UK press email claiming they should get a fee for links on the encyclopedia! Price list and all!

    Maurice Jarre was unavailable for comment ...

    (I told 'em that WMUK is just a local chapter and the servers are run by Wikimedia Foundation in the US, and to try their luck there. *cough*)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re:

    You make the (false) assumption that they wanted advertising to start with. You make the (false) assumption that they are willing to trade part of the stories in return for it.

    Most important, you have the horrible assumption that NewsNow has the right to make that choice for them. They do not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Edd, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Never pay for News. Out west the most western part of the USA here. News Papers are killing themselves. The print is too small only News being reported is bad things happening. The glossy picture ad’s do not work well for toilet paper or fire starting .99% of the news is copy past reprints. The modern times of electronic News, TV, Computer age. Myself I enjoy Techdirt.com articles where the truth is told. Was a day when every household and outhouse had newspapers with changing times it is very difficult to find quality paper? News Papers should be paying Techdirt.com for placing links for them in the advertising industry people pay for advertisement space. Don’t open that door NEVER PAY to help anyone. The privacy part of my information not a problem I use a very good spam blocker Office Outlook and out West is a different set of rules. One day the Newspaper will be rule damaging to the public worldwide people abuse their children and pets with the news papers. You never hear of anyone swatting others with a computer?
    cc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: NewsNow

    Thanks that just went into my google links :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Rupert M is that you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh I forgot .... robots.txt .... google it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You make the horrible assumption that Google has the right to decide whether some page is indexed in their search engine!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    vastrightwing, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    News has no monetary value

    Sorry about that. It’s true. No one pays for news. People pay for tangible value like paper, books, devices, labor. News has no monetary value because it’s not tangible and it’s ubiquitous. Air has no monetary value either, that is until it’s packaged inside a compressed container and has a regulator on it. Again, no one is paying for the air. They’re paying for the convenience of being able to breathe underwater using a device, which contains air. But no one will pay for the air. Again, news has zero monetary value. It has value, just not in currency. Take the news and package it in a tangible form that makes people want to pay for the tangible form, then yes, people will pay. Just don’t expect people to pay money to download news or information that is ubiquitous. HELLO!!!!!! Is this concept that hard to understand?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    njoy, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Hi

    Hi,Im having few coupons for you to enjoy for this weekend. why dont you try it. Check this site njoy take care

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    GrokSurf (profile), Dec 17th, 2009 @ 3:01am

    Disappointing decision

    If they're only making the headline a link, it's nothing more than a citation, plain and simple. The licensing agency is clueless and would have the same standing if they went after a book author who cited their stories. NewsNow sets a bad precedent by caving to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Andrew Hughes, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:20am

    Check your facts and sources team;- this is the NLA talking. NLA is telling NewsNow and others who sell our content for cash (and NewsNow are sitting on £1.4m cash made from this business see http://www.newsnow.co.uk/services/) that they have to share that cash with the content creators. NewsNow's free site is unaffected and still serves free links. This is about commercial exploitation by businesses (the right to get stinking rich), not the right to link. And NewsNows traffic from paid services is trivial
    See www.nla-web.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 3:58am

    Re:

    NLA is telling NewsNow and others who sell our content for cash (and NewsNow are sitting on £1.4m cash made from this business see http://www.newsnow.co.uk/services/) that they have to share that cash with the content creators.

    Andrew, NewsNow isn't selling "your content" for cash. They're linking to your content. What they're selling is a service, providing people "directions" to your content. Do store owners also demand money from map makers for helping people find them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This