Mega-publisher Rupert Murdoch says he will pull stories from Google's news index to encourage people to pay for online content.
In an interview with Sky News Australia - owned by one R. Murdoch, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, London Times and Fox News amongst several dozen others - the billionaire said that all papers in his publishing empire would be blocking Google News and other aggregation sites once News International's plans for online content charging had been put in place.
Murdoch has it in for online news aggregators, almost certainly because he doesn't own one. As reported by us last month, UK news aggregator NewsNow has already started a campaign against publishers demanding payment for linking to their stories.
Now News International execs are accusing Google of 'kleptomania' and 'acting as a parasite'. In his Sky interview, which can be seen here, Murdoch was asked why he didn't simply pull his papers' stories from Google News and replied:
"I think we will, but that's when we start charging [for online content]. We have it [charging] 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 added that the idea that news aggregation sites and search engines fell under fair use rules was wrong:
"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.
"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," he added.
"That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's Ask.com, a whole lot of people. They shouldn't have it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep."
Struan Bartlett, managing director of NewsNow, told TG Daily:
"It's not clear whether Murdoch understands the difference between stealing and linking, or how he thinks blocking link aggregators would help him. If he stops Google or NewsNow from linking to his websites, people won't all simply start going to them directly instead.
"When Murdoch starts charging, he's going to need sites like Google and NewsNow to drive custom to his websites."