As you may recall, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch began talking about blocking search engines and news aggregators a couple months ago. This escalated discussions that have essentially been going on for over a decade about the online news industry and fair use.
At the FTC's Journalism and Internet Workshop in December, Murdoch said, "There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production. Some rewrite, at times without attribution, the news stories of expensive and distinguished journalists who invested days, weeks or even months in their stories—all under the tattered veil of 'fair use.'"
It appears as though Murdoch's words are finally starting to come to fruition. MediaPost's Laurie Sullivan has learned that UK search engine/news aggregator NewsNow.co.uk has been blocked by Times Online, a publication from News International, a subsidiary of News Corp.
Sullivan quotes NewsNow Managing Director and Chairman Stuart Bartlett: "We think NewsNow performs a public service by linking to news from a wide variety of different providers...It lets people compare and contrast reported views in the press. This makes NewsNow a kind of 'meta-newspaper.'"
Bartlett feels that it is unfair that his site has been blocked by Times Online, while Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. are not blocked. Sullivan notes that NewsNow offers a paid service, and that could very well count as a major strike against it. This would seemingly fall in line with other comments made by Murdoch about making money off of News corp. content.
It is no surprise that a News Corp. publication would block a site like NewsNow, and this could just be the beginning of a long string of similar moves from News Corp. and other like-minded publishers. The real question is still will they follow through with the blocking of major search engines (namely Google)? That would be a much bolder move.