Murdoch could remove his sites from Google's index

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has said in an interview with Sky News Australia that newspapers within his empire - including the Sun, Times and Wall Street Journal - could block Google searches entirely once they had enacted plans to charge people for reading their stories on the web.

In the last few months, Murdoch has begun a war of words with Google, accusing the search giant of "kleptomania" and being a "parasite" for including bits of articles from Murdoch's news websites in its free Google News service. According to the Guardian, when Murdoch was questioned why they hadn't simply opted to remove their websites from Google's search indexes, he said it is on the cards.

"I think we will, but that's when we start charging," he said. "We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it's not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story - but if you're not a paying subscriber to WSJ.com all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form."

Murdoch also added that he did not agree that search engines fell under "fair use" rules - something which many websites like Google News use as their legal justification for displaying excerpts of a story.

"There's a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether... but we'll take that slowly."

In the TV interview, the 78 year-old made his feelings known towards services such as Google News by naming a short list of companies he felt were overstepping the mark.

"The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it - steal our stories, we say they steal our stories - they just take them. That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's Ask.com, a whole lot of people... they shouldn't have had it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep."

During the summer, Murdoch announced plans to introduce website charges by next year, although it emerged last week that the plans had been delayed, with the media mogul saying, "I wouldn't promise that we're going to meet that date."

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58 Comments

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I think this will fail on an epic scale. There will always be people like me that until there is nothing free left in the world I will not be paying to read the news.

I think he's turning into an old codger. Needs some new blood.

"they also have that one video site" ... uh you mean YOUTUBE??

MERDEoch should remove News Crap from the face of the earth.
Thankfully, it looks like that is precisely what he intends to do with this latest naive initiative.

Dear Mr Murdoch,

Please adjust your robots.txt to block google's web crawler bots from indexing your asociated & owned websites. I for one would be happy as I'm sure many other internet dwellers would be also.

I'm sure that a few people will be able to support your paid news idea & wish you all the best for the future.

Signed,

Aergan
One of the humble internet folk.

Does Murdoch's online editions offer rss feeds? Murdoch isn't that dumb, if you don't want information spread all over the web then don't put it on the web to begin with.

Well if you own a news publishing empire and these guys like Google come along and copy news stories, that your company published, and are making money from it, then you would be ****sed too. This whole world is going to crap with Liberals and their Idealism. Just cause these papers are owned by Rupert Murdoch is why people are so ****ed at the idea. This is nothing differnet than musicians trying to protect their copyright.

Search engines are the heart of the internet... now Murdoch can go back to paper or stone for what I cares. All newspapers need a new business model but they were too lazy or greedy to find one in time. Blaming Google now is just another proof of how disconnected they are from today's business and internet development - and it's easier to blame others than to look into your own faults.

Signed a liberal... just because it seems to bother you.

Dear Mr. Murdoch,

Please remove your tabloid quality, propaganda driven content from the Internet.

Sincerely,
Citizens of the World.

Don't forget that we in the UK already pay for BBC news online through the license fee, probably another reason why Murdoch is gutted.

The subscription fee for online news will never work unless you get most of the content free, an example of this is autosport, where the general news you can read with adverts for free but for magazine style features you need a subscription.

I dont get the "we can't make money from adverts online" argument. Why is it that they do still seem to pay when they are on a printed medium, but not when they are on the newspapers website? Surely if your website can be seen by anyone in the world, at a higher volume of custom, the advertising space should be worth more to your company than an advert printed in a newspaper with a shrinking readership. Why are marketing companies paying less for adverts online? Is it because most people block them?

What an idiot.
He clearly has no idea on how to embrace such a large audience and the benefits from large amounts of traffic.
He should be working with google not against them.

The world is gearing towards open source information, not paid services.

While i usually disagree with Murdoch, i think he is right and sooner or later somebody must ignite the flame between content creator versus copy&paster (or even worst, a single indexer). I think the fair use is overused on the net, i don't think it is a problem to cite a source but when you work is to cite other sites, even when you are giving some credits about it, it is the same that parasite from the net.

In the future I foresee a whole new, news industry created by some tech savvy upstart, who knows how the new digital age works, and these old news sources will die a painful death.

BBC news will flourish with this. I don't really go to any of Sky's websites but even if ALL news websites were suddenly pay to view. I would just wait untill I got home and watch the News on the TV I pay to view.

What the hell?

How exactly is that good from a marketing perspective? :S

"Oh yeah, let's draw my sites into obscurity, THAT will help!"

Someone explain to him how the Internet and its users work. The point of search engines, and so on. :S

Also,

"The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it - steal our stories, we say they steal our stories - they just take them. That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's Ask.com, a whole lot of people... they shouldn't have had it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep."

No. They show news story EXCERPTS, stupid. They don't steal any news stories, you ignorant dinosaur. To read the actual article, one still need to actually visit the news site in question, which could be YOUR site. Hence, Google/MS/ect actually help draw traffic to your site. Well, and inform that your competitors also carry the news story. Maybe THAT is what he's afraid of.

Building bubbles of information one need to pay for online never, ever, worked. Interoperability and openness is where it's at. Because of competition.

I think the honeymoon is coming to an end for a lot of free internet services. Youtube put advertising and is still in the red, newspapers and magazines are struggling because advertising is down in both mediums and their print numbers are diminishing.

I picked up one of my favorite magazines recently and it almost felt like a catalogue, due to the sheer number of ads it had.

Whether we like it or not, unless something changes in the industry and brings advertisement revenues up we are heading for a Pay 2 Use model for a lot of the things we take for granted today.

I wouldn't hold it against Times or WSJ for being the first. I'd prefer them to continue operating than to close down due to lack of revenue. There's already more than enough bad free journalism on the internet.

Don't kid yourself. He understands all too well, but doesn't like it. So he is going to use his enormous resources to change the laws. In the US that's done by bribing lawmakers with campaign contributions and lawyering the opposition into bankruptcy.

The answer is public financed campaigns or permitting candidates to only receive contributions from those that can vote for said candidate.

He's just going to wind up shooting his empire in the foot and eventually profit will fall as readers find free alternatives. Good job, Murdoch.

The WSJ won't be affected much if they actually do that; most readers are willing to pay for it anyway. It's the traditional newspapers that will kill themselves with a fee-based model. News distributors have really been in a tough spot in the last 5-10 years. And when the baby-boomers are dead, very few people will be reading printed news.

It will be very interesting to see how much traffic actually comes from Google itself to any of his sites ! I think this may be one of the resons why he has not been blocking Google and some of the other sites..........

"There's a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether... but we'll take that slowly."
Everyone is talking about A-Wipe (No I dont care for the man), but I think everyone is over looking a major comment he made that should scare people. "Fair Use" "Challenged in the court" "Bar it all together", come on now, with DMCA and the new acta (or whatever its called) and major corporate powers already trying to take Fair use away, a megapower like Murdock (The man has enough business in enough countries) could drop some major money in an effort to undo (bar it in his words) fair use rules. That should scare people.

It shouldn't scare people that he can afford to do that, it should scare people into taking notice of how corrupt the politicians are. Lobbying should be made illegal.

TechGuyPA said,
"There's a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether... but we'll take that slowly."
Everyone is talking about A-Wipe (No I dont care for the man), but I think everyone is over looking a major comment he made that should scare people. "Fair Use" "Challenged in the court" "Bar it all together", come on now, with DMCA and the new acta (or whatever its called) and major corporate powers already trying to take Fair use away, a megapower like Murdock (The man has enough business in enough countries) could drop some major money in an effort to undo (bar it in his words) fair use rules. That should scare people.

He's not talking about barring fair use generally, he's talking about not having it apply in this situation.

There will be the few who will pay for the service just because they don't know or are too bored to search for the information but my general view is that yes, he will fall flat on his face. The better model to follow here is advertising and not subscription.

I would say that blocking out google would be like not having a sign on the main road of your shop and charging for news articles would be like having an entrance fee to see your main product (which is advertising).

This article's title is rather confusing. At first, it sounded as if Murdoch had to the power to block Google (much like how China block access to sites) for customers of its their broadband servics (like Sky Broadband).
Then I thought: no, maybe they'll block employees of those newspapers from accessing Google.
In actuality, am I right in thinking that he's just gonna start making use of robots.txt? And there's nothing else to it?

It'd be somewhat funny if Google took them off their listing first so that other outlets got the results instead.

Thats like walling up the main entrance to your store and only letting people come in through the secret back entrance. Most people will go to the main entrance (google) and if the way isnt clear, they will go to any of the bazillion other sources out there. Probably for the best though, all things considered.

It will defo fail here in the uk considering we have the bbc news website, which to me is one of the best if not the best news site there is, its up to date and pretty unbiased and covers pretty much everything

its a good site but not unbiased at all... There were a couple of times I found some really stupid articles.. anyways thats besides the point.. I still visit it and theres no way i will be paying to read the news on the net! CNN, BBC etc... and all the other big names are gonna screw the news corp.

There is absolutley no way that people will pay to view news websites. Not on a big scale anyway. The BBC site is amazing so as you say, people can get their news from there.

Murdoch's being a bit of an arse tbh, I understand that they want to be paid for their work but there are many ways of making money through a website without making people pay for the content. Especially a far as news is concerned.

Good luck to murdoch i have a feeling his doomed plan for charging for news on the internet is going to fall flat on it's face

Fubar said,
... i have a feeling his doomed plan for charging for news on the internet is going to fall flat on it's face


While I do not like Murdock or his companies/views, I do see the point that creators of content should feel entitled to profit from it. Standard TV uses advertisments (within the show and commercial breaks) and so can the web/print media. I believe that when micropayments finally come along we will see sites that can offer interesting or viable content for an acceptable price structure. (ie: 1 cent to 5 cents per article)

This will not stop people from sharing the content, it will simply allow those who feel that the content is of some value to pay a price for it. For example: the charge of $1 per song is simply too high as well as the musician is not being properly compesated for their work. There needs to be a site run with the musicians where they can post their work for an acceptable price and they reap at least half of the cost of the media.

The structure of media distribution has changed because of the internet as there is less of a need for many of the middle-men. Recording, movie and now print media are pushing back against this, but the change has happened and it will not go back.

The thing is, this content isn't something like film or TV, it's just facts (we hope) written down, and is available from many other sources.

And the internet isn't exactly low on people willing to give their opinion about a subject or story, so it's not like it's worth paying for.

Edit: While I'm fine with paying a reasonable fee for a song or a TV show episode, I'm not going to pay for a description of an event that happened, or somebody's opinion about it, I can get that for free from thousands of other places.

The_Decryptor said,
The thing is, this content isn't something like film or TV, it's just facts (we hope) written down, and is available from many other sources.


Fair point: *IF* news (CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NY Times, etc) were giving just pure facts (as News should) however I've been reading the newspapers for over 30 years (now only online, I'm not that old) and I cannot recall a time when The News was just pure facts.

Murdoch treats the news as for-profit entertainment. The news should be delivered by unbiased, non-profits because people like Murdoch are more interested in profit than providing an honest, accurate news source.