29 news organizations have teamed up to change the face of online news - or at least to attempt to get paid more for their work. Basically, they’re hoping aggregators will put up the money for content if they make it easier to do things their way.
The problem, as it’s always been, however, is that there’s a lot of gray area between these organizations' demands, historically, and the reality of how online news actually works. For example, remember the AP’s attempts to outlaw search engine links? Linking, which last I checked is largely how news aggregation works, is not something a lot of sites are going to be willing to pay to do. Links are kind of what make the web a web.
This collaboration is called NewsRight, and it’s being led by former ABC News President David Westin, who has assumed the CEO role.
The 29 organizations include: the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The McClatchy Company, Hearst Newspapers (see the entire list at the end of this article). Combined, the organizations account for 841 websites representing newspapers accounting for a combined circulation of over 147 million Americans, and 170 million web readers.
“More news is available more ways than ever in history. But if reliable information is to continue to flourish, the companies investing in creating content need efficient ways to license it as broadly as possible,” says Westin. “NewsRight’s mission is to make sure consumers continue to benefit from the all the original news reporting they want while ensuring those who republish content do so with integrity. ”
“Working with NewsRight benefits digital innovators because they can license news content in their applications quickly and easily; news organizations that provide the content for those applications benefit because they can more efficiently license their content to a broader range of uses; and consumers benefit because they will have assured access to a robust supply of credible news and information in new and exciting ways,” he says.
On the licensing front, in short, NewsRight aims to make it easy for third-parties to obtain legal clearance to use content from the participating publishers. By paying, obviously.
The question is, will they pay? Will things really change? I guess we'll see. Another question is really, who all do they expect to pay? If a site is running their content in its entirety, then yes, payment makes sense. But what about a blog or other news site pulling a quote for a story? What about the same in a Google+ post?
NewsRight reportedly intends to encode its stories with data that will let the organization know where it’s being used, as well as who is reading it. It's unclear how much of the content has to be used to trigger this.
NewsRight’s initial investors include: Advance Publications, The Associated Press, Axel Springer Group, A.H.Belo Management Services, Belo Management Services, Business Wire, Community Newspaper Holdings, El Dia, Galveston Newspapers, Gatehouse Media, The Gazette Company, Hearst Newspapers, Journal Communications, Landmark Media Enterprises, The McClatchy Company, Media General, MediaNews Group, Morris Communications, Morris Multimedia, NPG Newspapers, The New York Times Company, Ogden Newspapers, Pioneer Newspapers, Schurz Communications, The E.W. Scripps Company, Stephens Media, Swift Communications, Times Publishing Co. and The Washington Post Company.
We’ll be following this story in the future. NewsRight deems itself “the right path for news on the web.” Do you agree?