And I Thought Rupert Murdoch Thought Copying Stories From Other Publications Was 'Stealing'
from the tsk-tsk dept
"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content."Of course, around that time, we highlighted the fact that Murdoch, himself, owned a whole bunch of aggregators, many of which acted much worse than the sites -- such as Google -- that Murdoch was complaining about.
However, over the weekend there was a nice example of how one of Murdoch's publications clearly copied a story from another publication and did not give any credit for it whatsoever. We noted earlier how Broadband Reports broke the story of AT&T deciding to put in place metered billing. Broadband Reports got a tip with a leaked email showing the new rules, and got confirmation from AT&T. Nearly every other report on the story credited Broadband Reports with breaking the story. However, when the WSJ (via Dow Jones Newswire) wrote the story, by reporter Roger Cheng, there is no mention whatsoever of Broadband Reports breaking the story.
Now, a few quick points, I don't think that every publication should necessarily have to credit who breaks a story. It's often the neighborly thing to do, and I think that many people appreciate it when it's done. But news is news, and if it's factual, then there's no proprietary nature to it. So, my complaint isn't simply that Dow Jones/WSJ didn't credit BBR. What I take issue with is when a company comes out and states, repeatedly, that it is going to crack down on other sites that copy its work -- who often do it while providing credits and links back -- and then chooses to publish without credit, that seems hypocritical. Don't say one thing and do another.
Of course, some others will (correctly) point out that Cheng appears to have contacted AT&T himself, and added a few tidbits to the story (even if it's been pointed out that he seemed to unquestionably accept AT&T's claim of congestion). So, defenders will claim this is "okay" because he did "additional independent reporting." And, again, it's great that Cheng did additional reporting. But it doesn't change that it appears BBR had the original report, and got the info out there. Even with the additional reporting, it appears that the WSJ was able to create a news report off of a lead from BBR. And this goes right back to the claims of Bill Keller last week in which he seemed to be saying when the NY Times builds off someone else's work, that's journalism. When new media sites do it, it's piracy. It's too bad that these newspapers claim that they're so against such things, but have no problem doing it themselves. Again, most of the actual actions that they do are fine... by themselves. But doing those things after claiming to be against them in others... that's hypocrisy.