from the contrarian-journalism dept
We’ve pointed out a few times that The Guardian newspaper in the UK is not just a believer in the value of keeping its content free online, but is also doing a lot of very interesting experiments. As we hear daily about newspapers and organizations like the Associated Press threatening to sue blogs that repost some of their content (even for commentary purposes), The Guardian is going in the completely opposite direction. As part of its Open Platform program, it has created a tool that lets any WordPress-based blog repost any Guardian article for free. Yes, this is the complete opposite of what most publications are doing. Rather than whining about “freeloaders” and “copycats” and “aggregators,” The Guardian has decided to embrace them and take advantage of the situation.
The only conditions are that you have to republish the full article in the exact format provided (including “text, links and images”). That’s because The Guardian is also embedding ads with those syndicated stories. Assuming the ads are not particularly intrusive or annoying, then I would imagine that many blogs find this to be a perfectly reasonable deal. And, yes, if you were wondering, the site doing the syndication is free to include their own ads elsewhere on the page. However, according to The Guardian’s explanation of this offering, you can add your own commentary — it just needs to go above The Guardian’s content.
Basically, the Guardian seems to be realizing what so many other newspapers have failed to grasp: that people republishing your stuff are helping to promote your work and spread your work in useful ways. Rather than breaking out the lawyers and the nastygrams, why not figure out a way to make everyone better off?