The heads of two of the worlds largest news outlets, Tom Curley from The Associated Press and Rupert Murdoch from News Corp, each spoke at a conference of 300 media representatives in Beijing this week stating that news portals like Google have earned fortunes from their articles and media without offering fair compensation to those creating the content.
In his speech, Curley told the conference that "crowd-sourcing web services such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Facebook have become preferred customer destinations for breaking news, displacing websites of traditional news publishers. We content creators must quickly and decisively act to take back control of our content".
Curley also told the room that it's time news creators no longer tolerate the disconnect between themselves and those businesses who "profit from it without supporting it".
Murdoch took the argument one step further by saying that content producers will be demanding to be paid. Murdoch continued, "The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators...who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph".
While these statements might be signaling a sign of things to come, Newsweek journalist Weston Kosova thinks Curley and Murdoch are all bark, no bite. Kosova reports that in the case of Google News, searchers are presented with headlines and brief summaries, together with a link to the full article at the source news website; no hosting of external news articles takes place within Google itself.
Kosova believes Murdoch and Curley know how Google News works and suggests that both can delink their sites from Google's search engine quite simply. But in doing so, their news would no longer show up in Google searches.
In one final dig at the two media moguls, Kosova argues that in delinking their media from Google, "...they know that their traffic would dry up overnight. They'd rather blame someone else for their failure to compete in a changing market place..." and suggests that Murdoch and Curley, "...go right ahead...Stop the thievery. Pull the plug on Google right now. I double-dog dare you."
What this means for consumers accessing online news content, time will tell.