by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
linking, payment

news corp., newsnow

Will Rupert Murdoch Pay Me For Making Money Off Links To Techdirt?

from the I'm-sending-an-invoice dept

You may recall that over in the UK there has been a bit of a battle between online news aggregator NewsNow (which, again, in my experience is one of the best aggregators out there) and various newspapers who are demanding payment from the company. The issue is not NewsNow's "free" aggregator, but the fact that NewsNow makes most of its money from offering businesses custom, private aggregation of links. NewsNow isn't providing full content at all -- just links and headlines. But the complaint from newspapers is that NewsNow is selling this service to companies and making money from it -- and thus, they deserve a cut.

Now, as the battle has escalated, it appears that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has taken the next step and blocked links coming from NewsNow. It's not clear what happens to NewsNow users who click on News Corp. stories, but apparently they don't get the story. The link above goes through all of the many, many reasons that it is absolutely a bad idea, and extremely "anti-internet" to block links from anywhere, but this whole thing got me thinking.

Based on Murdoch and News Corp's reasoning here, I believe Murdoch owes me money.

After all, News Corp. is most certainly a commercial enterprise. And, as we all know, the Wall Street Journal charges many people money in the form of subscription fees (just like NewsNow does) for access to the information it provides. Now, over the past couple of years, the Wall Street Journal online has linked to Techdirt more than a couple of times. A quick search of their archives shows at least nine stories over the past two years. So, if Murdoch is saying that NewsNow can't charge a subscription and link to him, why is it okay for him to charge a subscription and link to me?

Clearly, the answer is that Rupert Murdoch owes me money. Consider my invoice on the way... Of course, the alternative answer is that Murdoch doesn't owe me a dime... and NewsNow doesn't owe Murdoch either. But how can that be? It isn't like we've seen Rupert Murdoch suggest that rules that apply to others don't apply to him. Oh wait....

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  1. identicon
    McBeese, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:14am


    Unfortunately, if you sent News Corp a bill, they would likely not pay it and simply state a position something like "You are within your rights to request that we pay you for aggregating your content and you are also within your rights to block links to your site from News Corp as we have done with NewsNow, should we decide not to pay." This would help bolster their case.

    News Corp views themselves as the dog and sees everything else as a tail. In reality, News Corp is the region directly south of the tail.

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