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.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: newsnow

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UK Aggregator NewsNow Dumps Newspapers After They Demand Payment To Link To Stories”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Pjerky (profile) says:

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.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Yeebok (profile) says:

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.

David Gerard (profile) says:

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*)

Edd (profile) says:

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 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 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?

vastrightwing (profile) says:

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?

Andrew Hughes (user link) says:

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 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

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: 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 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?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...