Marburgers Repeat Nonsense, While We Look More Closely At Those Darn Parasites

from the what-harm? dept

The Marburger brothers, who first got some attention when a newspaper columnist in Cleveland misrepresented their “plan” to save newspapers, have been working hard to get their story straight. But a more detailed look at their plan shows that it’s quite lacking and nothing more than artificial protectionism for an obsolete business model. Furthermore, they seem to be fighting a phantom that isn’t there — claiming that piracy is some sort of problem when there’s no evidence that it’s a significant problem at all.

But they’re still at it — and it should come as no surprise that newspapers are more than willing to give them column space for it. The LA Times has allowed them to publish a condensed version of their plan as an op-ed, where they go on and on about free riders, but fail to show what the actual problem is. They name one (count ’em) actual “free rider” in the site Newser, which takes popular stories and shrinks them down to a summary and a link. The thing is, Newser doesn’t get a huge amount of traffic — and it appears to be dropping. And, let’s see… compared to just LATimes.com, Newser.com is a tiny blip, and they’re moving in opposite directions. LATimes is increasing in traffic, and Newser is decreasing.

You want to know why?

Because what Newser provides isn’t particular worthwhile. If a “free rider” destroys your business by summarizing your news article in two paragraphs, you don’t have much of a business. Fortunately, most news sites do provide at least some more value than a two paragraph summary, which is why Newser doesn’t get much traffic. So, again, we have to ask David and Daniel Marburger to explain to us where is the actual harm here? Why should we change copyright law to deal with a problem that doesn’t seem to exist?

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Comments on “Marburgers Repeat Nonsense, While We Look More Closely At Those Darn Parasites”

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12 Comments
pjhenry1216 (profile) says:

Want to know why?

They’re not trying to fight any problem. They’re just trying to strengthen copyrights so that the newspapers have to do less work for more money. They know that is the current situation. Right now, they assume its more economical to try and change the law as opposed to changing the business model though. However, they obviously can’t use that as their line of reasoning so they have to come up with something that’s not false, but sounds like a problem. Their answer to that dilemma is Newser.

Russ801 says:

follow the money!

I am convinced that all these internet protection schemes are based on one goal: Get Google to pay you.

If you examine Google News as a ‘free rider’ the plan becomes more plausible. No matter what the reasons stated, if it would enable suing Google for moneterizing your content, that is the perspecitve that it must be understood.

The fact that Google has no obligation to pay, moral or legal or even have a direct connection between the content and revenue annoys the hell out of people. It is a situation that cannot stand.

James says:

I see their point

I used to work at a Newspaper. I was in the IT department at a NY daily about 7 years ago and I saw the effects of “New Media” first hand. That paper is barely alive today. There are a bunch of reasons for this, including an outmoded business model, but one of the problems is the cost of generating content. If a traditional paper has the expense of producing the news and other sites can freely use that information then there truly is no way for news gathering organizations to compete. There are a lot of aggregators, including Slashdot and in its way techdirt, which benefit from traditional news sources. While some facts are obviously in the public domain others are do to the specific work of an organization or individual, investigative reporting for example. It is wrong to benefit from a reporter’s or paper’s work without compensation and it is ultimately bad for America if the News gathering apparatus goes away.

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

Re: I see their point

@James
News gathering will not go away. There will always be a market for it, but you just cannot expect to have the same revenue anymore or for growth with a dated strategy. It is pretty simple: the news organizations that cannot adapt go away, the ones how have adapted stay around. I would say there is more investigative reporting happening today than 10 years ago. Plus, it’s much more niche and easier to find.

Tim says:

Uh, Newser is great, y'all

So I hate the whole “save the newspapers” campaign because it seems pretty pathetic and outdated in my mind, so I get this article. Until the author bashes Newser, which is my favorite news site. Saying what “Newser provides isn’t particular worthwhile” is pure bs. Newser allows me to catch up on the news quickly because, frankly, I don’t have a lot of time to do that. Their summaries are incredibly helpful. I hope other people discover this site because I would hate for it to go away.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What an incredibly condescending headline

Is it? What they’re saying is nonsense and has been debunked. And yet a major American newspaper is giving them the space to repeat it over again.

all the more so when directed at persons who appear to have given serious thought to an issue and articlulate their views and why they hold those views.

Odd. How is it serious thought when it’s patently bogus and has been shown to be patently bogus by plenty of different folks within the industry?

I have no problem with serious thought, but the Marburgers plan is not serious thought. It’s based on a faulty premise, which they know is faulty and they are still pushing the same line. Thus, the conclusion is pretty clear: it’s nonsense and I have no problem calling it as such.

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