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 Murdochs news websites in its free Google News service. According to the Guardian, when Murdoch was questioned why they hadnt simply opted to remove their websites from Googles search indexes, he said it is on the cards.
"I think we will, but thats when we start charging," he said. "We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but its not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story - but if youre 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.
"Theres a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether... but well 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. Thats Google, thats Microsoft, thats Ask.com, a whole lot of people... they shouldnt have had it free all the time, and I think weve 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 wouldnt promise that were going to meet that date."