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Murdoch To Explore Blocking Google Searches 549

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the why-is-no-one-calling-for-his-head dept.
In another move sure to continue the certain doom looming over classic publications, Rupert Murdoch has elaborated on the direction he would take in an effort to monetize the content that his websites deliver by attempting to block much of Google's ability to scan and index his news sites. "Murdoch believes that search engines cannot legally use headlines and paragraphs of news stories as search results. 'There's a doctrine called "fair use," which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether,' Mr Murdoch told the TV channel. 'But we'll take that slowly.'"
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Murdoch To Explore Blocking Google Searches

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  • Robots.txt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:09PM (#30039770)
    Am I genius?
    • Re:Robots.txt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by al0ha (1262684) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:18PM (#30039862) Journal
      The problem with techies, they need to learn to think like a businessman. We control the information, get it together techies!

      Maybe the answer is robots.txt; but that is not what you tell a billionaire if he asks you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I wonder if Google could argue that by not using robots.txt, Murdoch had essentially given permission to have his sites searched and indexed. Or, more likely, his sites probably do use a robots.txt file, but only forbid searching certain sections (ie, archives where nothing changes, therefore no reason to waste bandwidth), in which case the appearance that permission was granted would be much more compelling.
      • Re:Robots.txt (Score:5, Informative)

        by Crayola (250908) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:39PM (#30040134) Homepage

        From fox.com/robots.txt:

        User-agent: *
        Allow: /
        Disallow: /*?exid=

        • Re:Robots.txt (Score:5, Interesting)

          by thelamecamel (561865) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:04PM (#30040444)
          And murdoch's news.com.au's robots.txt file even directs bots to the sitemap!

          User-agent: *
          Disallow: /*comments/*
          Disallow: /*print/*
          Disallow: /*email/*
          Disallow: /*SIT*
          Disallow: /*.swf
          Disallow: /printpage/
          Disallow: */404*
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/sitemap.xml
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow-sitemap.xml
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail-sitemap.xml
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph-sitemap.xml
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun-sitemap.xml
          Sitemap: http://www.news.com.au/perthnow-sitemap.xml
          • Re:Robots.txt (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:12PM (#30041076)

            Well obviously Murdoch wants his web pages crawled, otherwise nobody will visit them.

            Frankly, what he is demanding is non-sensical; he wants Google to index his news sites, but does NOT want Google to display headlines or partial text when returning results. How the hell is a searcher supposed to know that the link in question has any relevance at all to what they are looking for?

            He also seems to have a pretty screwed up view of what fair use is. Fair use is not the exception to copyright, copyright is the exception to fair use. That's why copyright had to be enumerated in the first place. The fair use statutes are there to help clarify what copyright does -not- extend to, but it is intentionally left somewhat vague to make it difficult for copyright to over-step its bounds.

            All of this comes from the stated goal of copyright in the copyright goal, which is to enhance the proliferation of creative arts for the betterment of society at large. It's goal is NOT to make content owners rich, that is simply the vehicle to increase the amount of creative art produced for public consumption.

            So, when he says he believes fair use doctrine is on its way out, it shows that he has absolutely no understanding of what copyright is for, and that he is also one greedy som'bitch. If he is right in any way, it means our law has really been turned on its head.

      • Re:Robots.txt (Score:5, Interesting)

        by John Hasler (414242) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:29PM (#30040690) Homepage

        > I wonder if Google could argue that by not using robots.txt, Murdoch had
        > essentially given permission to have his sites searched and indexed.

        I believe that in the US case law has established that Murdoch has given permission to have his sites searched and indexed by making them public. Obeying robots.txt is just a courtesy, but the fact that he has not used it to block Google totally destroys any feeble case he might have had.

  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:10PM (#30039774)

    The faster Rupert puts himself out of business, the better off everyone will be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wowsers (1151731)

      In the early 1990's The Times and The Sunday Times had archive (over a week old articles), which you had to pay to access, there was even a CD-ROM of the updated archive every couple of months, which you had to pay for of course. It was SUCH a great success that the newspaper decided to go for free on the internet, because nobody wanted to pay up for what they could get elsewhere. So now Rupert is going full circle.

      • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:43PM (#30040196) Homepage Journal

        If my local paper [theage.com.au] offered a good online subscription I would sign up. What I want to see is:

        • No adverts
        • Access to all archives
        • Good searching (like with a google appliance)
        • Revision history
        • Access to raw source material
        • Access to comment pages on all stories

        In fact, pretty much what I can get from /. right now. All of that should be easy to implement. They just need to open their eyes and look around.

        • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by citizenr (871508) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:01PM (#30041000) Homepage

          Access to all archives

          Good searching (like with a google appliance)

          Revision history

          Access to raw source material

          Access to comment pages on all stories

          In fact, pretty much what I can get from /. right now.

          The thing is _they dont have it_, even internally if a reporter wants something old he usually has to go to the archive (read basement) and digg for hours. Obviously its better at big newspapers, but not by a mile (they got dedicated people that do the digging, archives are in photo form, there might even be and index). What they find is usually just a copy of old newspaper, no revision history, no raw sources. Its not like in those cop shows where someone jumps out with big fat file full of pictures and hand written notes for 30 year old case.
          Newspapers are SCARED of google, not because google knows how to archive this stuff, but because google is able to monetize it.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:45PM (#30040218)

      What else do you expect from a man in charge of a company that nearly sued itself [guardian.co.uk] over the one show that singlehandedly kept the network from dying an early death?

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:10PM (#30039776) Journal

    He wants to make more money by making his headlines not available to the top search engine?

    • by Knara (9377) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:12PM (#30039794)
      It's almost like he doesn't know what he's talking about, isn't it.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:59PM (#30040384)

        In other news:

        Rupert Murdoch has purchased a sig sauer 9mm handgun for personal protection.

        "If I ever get attacked, all I have to do is hold this end to my forehead and pull the trigger!" exclaimed an exited Rupert. "That'll show them!"

    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:24PM (#30039952) Homepage Journal

      I think they are trying to separate themselves to state that if you want the news, come to us and do it properly.

      Have you ever searched for some information, and Google gave a hit where the surrounding text of the query already answers your question? And then not clicked the website?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by un1xl0ser (575642)

        I think they are trying to separate themselves to state that if you want the news, come to us and do it properly.

        Riiighhht. When I want news done properly, I'll PAY FoxNews to do it properly. Just think about that for a second. The only reason anyone should be remotely concerned about this is because he now controls the WSJ.

        Have you ever searched for some information, and Google gave a hit where the surrounding text of the query already answers your question? And then not clicked the website?

        No, not for news. Try searching for "2009 election results" or "apple earnings 2009" and see if you can make sense of it (although "who beat rihanna" actually kind of worked). Nobody can use that crap. Even Google News doesn't provide usable news in their largest digest. FoxNews.com charging would

      • by kingbilly (993754) on Monday November 09, 2009 @10:30PM (#30041604)

        If it was such an easy answer in the first place that it could occur just in the description of the link, of course!

        This is like the cheap way local news stations get you to watch the whole 11pm news.

        7pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Find out tonight at 11!
        8pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Find out tonight at 11!
        9pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Find out tonight at 11!
        10pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Find out tonight at 11!
        11pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Find out on this show!
        11:08pm: And coming up soon, There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. But first weather.
        11:30pm: Coming up after the break, 8pm: There's a food that might kill you already sitting in your fridge. Stick around.
        11:59pm: And, if you eat spoiled food at the same time your murdered, you might die!
        Roll Credits

        You better believe if i can find the information before news outlets decided when I am allowed by all means I will.
        Even on a page of search results, the answer to a question found in a link preview STILL is more readable that some of the junk clogged websites many news organizations have.

      • by Urza9814 (883915) on Monday November 09, 2009 @11:01PM (#30041792)

        Usually, no. Not unless I'm looking for a physics formula or something. Otherwise I want to know the _context_ of the statement. I want to know where the information is coming from. For example, there's this really good quote from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) stating that before the Harrison Anti-drug act, 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. Before the War on Drugs, 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. And today, 1.3% of the population is addicted to drugs. I've been looking for the real source of that for days, still with no luck, and I refuse to use it until I find one. Not because I don't trust LEAP, but simply because they're hardly an unbiased source. I've finally decided to try to contact them about it, and am awaiting a reply. But seriously, I know a _lot_ of people will use facts without bothering to check out anything about it, but personally I refuse to state something as a fact until I know exactly where it's coming from and in what context. Otherwise you're just spreading rumors - and from the small blurb that Google gives you, that's all you can really do. Until google is able to trace the source of whatever it's telling you, those blurbs are only useful for determining which link to click - as they are intended.

        Plus, have you ever really searched something with 4 or 5 terms? Google tries to show you the context of as many terms as possible in that 2 or 3 line blurb, so you end up getting 4 or 5 words around each one. Pretty much useless.

    • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:39PM (#30040144) Journal

      I don't see why google just doesn't stop indexing their stuff for a while, and waiting for them to scream about how they're no longer in the serch results.

      Then tell Murdoch "How much are you going to pay to be back in?"

      Then, no matter how much he offers, say, "Not enough."

      When he says "Well, how much would it cost?" reply "In your dreams, fatboy!"

      • Wouldn't work. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:41PM (#30040816) Journal

        Murdoch would sue. More likely, Fox would sue, whining that Google is discriminating against a conservative viewpoint.

        No, what would make more sense is, with each of these articles, publicly respond -- in particular, contact whatever organization published the Murdoch rant. Make two offers:

        First, offer to that news organization that a representative will be available for comment every time Murdoch does this. This isn't a big deal, as it'll pretty much be cut and paste.

        Second, in this response and in all further comments, make the public offer to do exactly what he is asking for -- stop indexing his stuff. If he says "no", end of story. If he doesn't respond, he's going to look very stupid in future articles like this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jaysyn (203771)

          Murdoch would sue. More likely, Fox would sue, whining that Google is discriminating against a conservative viewpoint.

          Is that illegal now?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      He wants to make more money by making his headlines not available to the top search engine?

      Of all the news corporations, Fox News might be able to succesfully pull off a pay-wall.
      Their readers/viewers are really loyal.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:10PM (#30039778)

    It has to be political.. there has to be something going on behind the scenes here.

    He's not that stupid a person.. and there's no way that someone hasn't explained to him what a robots.txt file is by now..

    How has this not happened? Even mainstream media tends to at least try to get a statement from both sides.

    I'm sure if the BBC had contacted google.. they would have gotten lots of information on the subject. Or at least a quote they could include.. something along the lines of "google engineer x would like to remind Newscorp that they can _completely_ "block" us (and many others) from "stealing" their content by putting a simple text file on their site.

    • by absurdist (758409) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:16PM (#30039838)
      From the Summary: "'There's a doctrine called "fair use," which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether,' Mr Murdoch told the TV channel. 'But we'll take that slowly.'" Fair use is the target here. They don't want anyone to ever be able to use any current culture without payment and approval.
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:19PM (#30039878) Homepage
      Google have mentioned "robots.txt" pretty much every time Murdoch has spoken about this idea or anyone has cared to ask them for a comment. They've done so that many times in fact that I expect they've resorted to sending sample "robots.txt" files over to News Corp. just to get them to shut up and leave them alone and have possibly even considered proactively bypassing News Corp's sites. Personally, I think the endless rhetoric from Murdoch and complete lack of action on behalf of News Corp. is because either this boils down to a serious difference of opinion between Murdoch and a good chunk of his senior staff or they have their doubts and don't want to go it alone just in case.
      • by Romancer (19668) <romancer@deathsd ... 5926com minus pi> on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:31PM (#30040040) Journal

        Easy solution for Google.

        1. Block any and all direct links to Newscorp owned sites in the search results.

        2. Downrank any sites that link to Newscorp owned sites as irrelevant linking. (They have this for counteracting googlebombing.)

        3. Systematically provide alternative sources for any search results that would have linked to Newscorp owned sites.
        .

        So eventually even a search for "Newscorp" brings up every one of their competitors websites bashing them for being stupid, old, ignorant and irrelevant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Those are easy solutions to what problem? Google doesn't have a problem they need solving. Fox hasn't done anything except state they want out of the internet business. That doesn't mean Google needs to help them. In fact, Google probably benefits by not helping them.

          When someone points a gun at their foot, you don't need to help them point the trigger. You can try to talk them out of it, or ignore it, but if they're someone who makes you money, at worst, you refrain from egging them on with "shoot it! s

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pharmboy (216950)

          1. Block any and all direct links to Newscorp owned sites in the search results.

          And Fox would sue because they are being singled out because they are "conservative" or similar (I have already commented on this last time this topic was brought up on /.) In order for Google to be fair and unbiased, they have to consider all news sources. They point out on the news page that a machine picks the stories, not a human. Until they have a better reason to block News Corp., they would be inviting scrutiny and a p

      • by dbIII (701233) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:35PM (#30040094)
        He wants the money that google is getting, that is what this is about. I suspect he heard about "robots.txt" before slashdot existed but quietly blocking things doesn't help him - he wants to make a lot of noise and then get governments to pass laws to restrict the internet so he can make more money from it.
        It's not a lack of action. The action in progress is to make a lot of noise and blow this thing out of proportion. I suspect it will get to the major headline stage for a while before this goes away.
      • it's human readable-you won't believe this shit....
        http://www.foxnews.com/robots.txt [foxnews.com]

        "User-agent: *
        Disallow: /printer_friendly_story
        Disallow: /projects/livestream
        #
        User-agent: gsa-crawler
        Allow: /printer_friendly_story
        Allow: /google_search_index.xml
        Allow: /google_news_index.xml
        Allow: /*.xml.gz
        #
        Sitemap: http://www.foxnews.com/google_search_index.xml [foxnews.com]
        Sitemap: http://www.foxnews.com/google_news_index.xml [foxnews.com]"

        explicit allows.....

        I often find disallows to be the neatest part of some websites.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:20PM (#30039888)

      It has to be political.. there has to be something going on behind the scenes here. He's not that stupid a person.. and there's no way that someone hasn't explained to him what a robots.txt file is by now..

      Of course. Merdoch (or his minons) know this. There are probably two things going on: A lame attempt to convince the public that he is being ripped off, and also he is almost certainly in discussions with Google about having Google pay for the content that Google clearly profits from. Neither will work out. And until web content of these "publications" provide a lot more value to the consumer, pay-for-access is a dead idea as well.
      Of course there are certain publications, like the WSJ that can pull it off, but most can not, and certainly not local newspapers.

    • by rsborg (111459)
      This is all a ploy to negotiate with Google some more beneficial (to Murdoch) terms. I can only see it working if he also manages to get a critical mass of other publications' owners to do the same thing.
      They don't have to move in lockstep if he does have a coalition going. He can block WSJ.com, claim some victory, show it as a case model, and hope others buy his idea (WSJ does not need Google, but the example would probably not work for many other not-as-self-sustaining sites).

      It's not politics, it's p

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Actually I think absurdist's post had it, this is all just him repeating the lie enough times that he can get his followers to back him up and then challenge fair use entirely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Actually I think absurdist's post had it, this is all just him repeating the lie enough times that he can get his followers to back him up and then challenge fair use entirely.

          Similar tactics of repeating lies until people believe them worked with the "liberal media conspiracy" and the "fox news is fair and balanced" lines, at least in some circles.

      • by causality (777677) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:15PM (#30040556)

        This is all a ploy to negotiate with Google some more beneficial (to Murdoch) terms. I can only see it working if he also manages to get a critical mass of other publications' owners to do the same thing. They don't have to move in lockstep if he does have a coalition going. He can block WSJ.com, claim some victory, show it as a case model, and hope others buy his idea (WSJ does not need Google, but the example would probably not work for many other not-as-self-sustaining sites).

        It's not politics, it's purely (an attempt to save a failed) business (model). If Rupert doesn't have a coalition going, there's only so much posturing he can do before actually cutting off his nose to spite his face [wikipedia.org].

        Here's what I don't understand about people like Murdoch. He's 78 years old. I don't like him one bit, but I don't wish him ill either (for that would reflect badly on me while saying nothing about him). I hope he lives well into old age (and uses that time to reconsider his priorities -- more on that later). But realistically, he is a mortal being just like me and everyone else.

        I'll speak only for myself here. If I were 78 years old, how much time would I have left on the planet? Two or three years? Five? Ten? Wouldn't I be lucky to have that much, since all of those figures exceed the average life expectancy of a male in the USA? If I am that old and already have enough money to guarantee not only my financial security but also that of any children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, what would be the point of continuing to try to build and maintain a media empire with increasingly aggressive tactics? Every minute I spent doing that would be time I wouldn't get to spend with my family, my friends, appreciating nature and the world around me, and maybe even trying to use my vast resources to make the world a slightly better place. It would be time that I would never get back once it has come and gone.

        I really wonder what drives people like this. I want to know what they think they are accomplishing that's so important to them. It's not even a religious cause or a humanitarian effort or anything like that where this kind of devotion is not so unusual. It's just business and he has already acquired a vast personal fortune that is the dream of businessmen everywhere. He has already succeeded many times over yet he continues to play the game. Something here just doesn't add up. How do you explain this kind of dedication? Because as far as I can tell, it's quite pathological though even that doesn't really explain it.

        • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:19PM (#30041126) Journal

          I work for someone who is wealthy enough to just plain stop, right now, and live happily ever after. He easily works 60 hours a week at the office, and probably more if he takes anything home with him. We've talked about the quandary you just presented.

          His answer as to why he continues to build and expand: "Because I really enjoy it." And I don't think there's much more to be said about it, except that some folks like playing football, or billiards. Some folks paint pictures for fun. And some folks build empires. It's like playing Risk, but with real assets.

          • by causality (777677) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:31PM (#30041220)

            I work for someone who is wealthy enough to just plain stop, right now, and live happily ever after. He easily works 60 hours a week at the office, and probably more if he takes anything home with him. We've talked about the quandary you just presented.

            His answer as to why he continues to build and expand: "Because I really enjoy it." And I don't think there's much more to be said about it, except that some folks like playing football, or billiards. Some folks paint pictures for fun. And some folks build empires. It's like playing Risk, but with real assets.

            Is this person generally a good or at least decent man? Or is he a despotic, ruthless, Machiavellian type like (in my opinion) Murdoch is? I believe that makes a significant difference. I don't imagine Murdoch truly rejoicing in much of anything to tell you the truth. He probably views his personal enjoyment as something he had to sacrifice to a) get where he is today and b) demonstrate his single-minded dedication. If you have ever encountered the type before, then you know what I mean.

          • by causality (777677) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:51PM (#30041334)

            I work for someone who is wealthy enough to just plain stop, right now, and live happily ever after. He easily works 60 hours a week at the office, and probably more if he takes anything home with him. We've talked about the quandary you just presented.

            His answer as to why he continues to build and expand: "Because I really enjoy it." And I don't think there's much more to be said about it, except that some folks like playing football, or billiards. Some folks paint pictures for fun. And some folks build empires. It's like playing Risk, but with real assets.

            I know I'm replying to you a second time, but I wanted to add something.

            I guess I am one of those "oddballs" (at least in this society it would seem so) because I value quality time with people I love and care about much more than any game of Risk that I don't actually need to play. What follows is a rhetorical question. If your boss has a family, how often does he say "I just don't have the time" to his wife and children in order to put in those 60+ hours a week, or if he doesn't have his own family, how many people hear that from him who still care about him very much?

            To me this is not about whether working a job that you enjoy has merit. Certainly it does. It's about priorities and whether you have any that mean more to you. It's about the fact that there are only so many hours in one day and only so many days in one lifetime.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jaysyn (203771)

          One word: sociopath.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:23PM (#30039938)

      Apparently you're unfamiliar with Mr. Murdoch's favored style of "journalism". You simply state what you think *should* be true, and then cite it repeatedly as "some say X", possibly with a side of tits. USians are most familiar with this from Faux News, but it's apparently practiced throughout the media empire.

    • by icebike (68054) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:23PM (#30039946)

      He knows about robots.txt.

      See this story (On one of his own sites): http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573329,00.html [foxnews.com] where it is mentioned.

      Paid subscriptions is his plan.

      He has to eliminate search engines because he wants to move news to a subscription basis. But he knows he can never be successful at that as long as anyone else provides advertiser supported free access.

      So its all talk. He knows it would be suicidal to make this move alone, and is trying to drum up support among all the big news providers.

      But even THAT would not work when local newspapers and TV stations put news on line, because Google would simply index those remaining free providers, which often provide a more complete story anyway.

      The world has changed, and Rupert still thinks he's selling newspapers on the corner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smclean (521851)

        I agree with your take on this, but what I don't get is how Murdoch is able to continue in this campaign.

        It seems to me that he is damaging his reputation and the reputation of his companies with all the press this idea is generating. Does he not have advisors that he consults with before making these press releases? ...I wonder if he just fires anyone who attempts to talk him out of it? The whole thing seems starkly suicidal. Who would invest in such an idea? Are there actually people who believe it can

      • by jeek (37349) <jeek AT jeek DOT net> on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:47PM (#30040240) Homepage

        http://www.foxnews.com/google_news_index.xml [foxnews.com]

        Murdoch is so intent on blocking Google News that his site automatically generates the feed necessary for the import.

        Wait.. I think I missed something.

    • by ErkDemon (1202789) on Monday November 09, 2009 @10:39PM (#30041664) Homepage

      I just looked at the Fox News site main page and visited all their top news stories accessable from the front page.

      • #1, "Iran Accuses 3 Detained American Hikers of Spying" Footnote: "The Associated Press contributed to this report".
      • #2 "China Executes 9 Uighurs Over Ethnic Riots" "Associated Press" logo at the top of the article, based on a Chinese state news report, with additional info presumably added by AP.
      • #3 , Chavez ... AP article, photo credited to AP/Miraflores Press Office
      • #4 Obama/Netanyahu ... AP. Photo credited to AP
      • #5 Abortion doctor story. Associated Press logo, AP credit on photograph.
      • #6 PC virus story. AP logo, AP photo credit
      • #7 Gov Rell. short factual account, AP on story header (but as text this time, not as a logo).
      • #8 Legendary lost Persian army found in Sahara. Short version of an original Discovery News story (linked). According to Wikipedia, DN don't seem to be a Murdoch company.
      • #9 Hurricane Ida. AP logo on story header, but graphic credited to MyFoxHurricane.com . Finally, some original Murdoch organisation content! Hooray!
      • #10 Woman shot to death. Associated Press.

      So out of their top ten stories, nine are either pure AP stories or edited from AP stories, and one comes from the Discovery News website.

      Total identifiable original Murdoch content: one hurricane graphic from a Fox organisation hurricane-tracking site (which Fox News forgot to link to).

      No identifiable "Murdoch press" journalistic content.

      Completing the list:

      #11 was AP, #12 was credited to FoxBusiness.com (a Murdoch journalism hit! Wahey!), #13 was AP, #14 was AP, #15, finally, was a Fox News piece on the Mclaren buggy recall, with a bold FOXNEWS logo and a photo provided by Mclaren. #16 was AP.

      So from their "most read" list, Fox News only have one story out of the sixteen that they actually wrote themselves.

      Associated Press are a news syndication company (like Reuters), who supply news content to media outlets. This lets news companies supplement the content produced by their own journalists with ready-made stories that they can just slot into place as padding.

      Given that the clear majority of FoxNews' top stories on this page (nearly 90%) were actually bought in from AP, and that Google News also subscribe to AP as a content provider to buy stories, it's not surprising that when both sites rank their content by popularity, if Murdoch looks at the Sky News page and compares it to the Google News page, he's going to see a lot of the same top-ranking stories on both sites.

      But this doesn't necessarily mean that Google News are stealing stories from Fox News Journalists, or stealing the selection. Both sites are buying content from AP, and the site viewers are dictating the popularities, not the editors.

      I don't know whether this means that FoxNews.com don't actually do much journalism themselves, and mainly act as aggregators (like Google News) ... or whether it means that they /do/ do a fair bit of journalism, but that their readership simply prefers the AP material that can be gotten from Google News anyway.

      Either way, I can see why RM is concerned. Shouting that Google is stealing their stories kinda stops people noticing that, for Fox News, their own site statistics say that most of their most popular stories aren't actually theirs anyway. One out of sixteen?

  • Freeze him out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:12PM (#30039792)

    If I were Google, I'd just cut all his sites off for a month and let them see how far their click-revenue falls off.

    No google news, No search results, nothing.

    The guy asked for it, so give it to him.

  • Good luck, Murdoch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:15PM (#30039824)
    Yes, I am sure that barring searching engines from listing your headlines will do wonders for your revenue. It's not like your competitors are allowing those results or anything like that! Everyone knows that your customers will go to your websites without any help from search engines!

    As for fair use? Yeah, it's not like news websites ever make use of that doctrine.
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:22PM (#30039932) Journal

      Everyone knows that your customers will go to your websites without any help from search engines!

      Considering who actually consumes Murdoch's media, it wouldn't surprise me if they instinctively seek out his biased media by name. Kind of like how most Slashdotters probably don't google stories from Slashdot; they just click the bookmark and read the site.

  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:16PM (#30039836) Homepage

    Worth reading Lauren Weinstein's blog post take on this - trenchantly dead-on, as usual:

    Murdoch's Folly: Block Google & Kill Fair Use -- Plus a Nasty Truth
    http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000633.html [vortex.com]

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:18PM (#30039870) Homepage

    There's a department store. It probably carries a lot of merchandise. But the store owner wants everybody to pay him a fee to walk through the front door. And he wants the local papers to not say what he carries, or what he's got on sale this week. He feels that he should be the only one getting paid for anything that mentions his merchandise.

    Would you bother going to his store? Or would you go to the Target or Wal-Mart that's happy to have a flyer in the paper listing everything they've got on sale this week.

    Yeah, thought so.

    It's your right to be stupid and wrong-headed, Mr. Murdoch. Everyone has that gods-given right. But don't come whining to us when your plan fails to go the way you want it to go. We, after all, never signed any agreement saying we'd only behave the way you want.

    • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:58PM (#30040378)

      Cute analogy - except, it's not even his stuff.

      Murdoch does not "create" anything (propaganda aside). He's only "reporting" things that happen. Guess what... other people can do that too. "News" reporting is a dying art and rightly so. Back in the day, no one knew what was happening in Zimbabwe. You had to pay a professional team to fly there (or take a boat, a couple centuries ago). They would "report" the current events and either mail, telegraph, telex or eventually send the "story" in through radio or a satellite TV link. All of this cost money, and news companies had to sell a lot of advertising to cover costs.

      But guess what? Times have changed. Now anyone with a cell phone and internet access can provide "breaking news". How often do I see CNN or other "news" channels showing the EXACT same video that was on LiveLeak. Except of course they "blur out" the LiveLeak logo (yeah, you try and do that to THEIR content and see how many lawyers you get on your ass). Frankly there's no value in "syndicated" news anymore. Firstly, they're almost always behind the internet, secondly, their reporting is always biased, and thirdly - I really don't want to watch the damned ads.

  • by teknomage1 (854522) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:18PM (#30039872) Homepage
    This is awesome! Now I don't have to sort through all the FoxNews crap in search results.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      FoxNews seems to dominate my personalized headlines at news.google.com, even when the story is highly irrelevant or a tangent to the topic on hand.

      I'd love to be able to block Fox News. I'd also like to block all the Sports news that keeps creeping into my newsfeeds, despite my attempts to prevent it. I'm not interested in Sports news.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:22PM (#30039916) Homepage

    He's asking Google to pay him to index his site.

    Parse it out...

    1) They're stealing his headlines
    2) Google may or may not have the right to search
    3) We'll attack their right to search
    4) So if they know what's good for them, pay us to be included in google searches

  • challenged (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Monday November 09, 2009 @07:32PM (#30040054)

    "Murdoch believes that search engines cannot legally use headlines and paragraphs of news stories as search results.

    Indeed, they can't, without Murdoch's permission. Lucky for Google that Murdoch grants them permission in their robots.txt.

    'There's a doctrine called "fair use," which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether,'

    "We"? As in the "royal we"? Challenged by who? On what grounds?

    The only thing that seems to be "challenged" here is Murdoch's intellect and ethics. Well, actually, it's beyond "challenged", it's just rotten.

  • by lyinhart (1352173) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:01PM (#30040400)
    It looks like News Corporation is already starting to "freeze" Google out. I have a newsfeed for the New York Post, a Murdoch property on my iGoogle page and the article summaries are replaced by text that reads "Information is temporarily unavailable." It's too bad, because the summaries make me more likely to click the link to the full article. As for the talk of providing News Corp. content via a subscription model - forget it. The average Joe figures he pays for his Internet access, so he expects to be able to access any content he wants. If one content provider charges a fee, dozens of other ones will line up to provide the same (or better) content for free.
  • by zekt (252634) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:30PM (#30040706)

    I had the pleasure of cycling for about 4 hours with on of the editors from a large Murdoch owned newspaper back in 2000.

    He asked me where the internet was heading, and how they could leverage it to provide content, and get the readers involved. I also highlighted problems like the sourcing of press releases as articles and the conflicting information they will find in other sources. Opportunities also would present themselves like geolocated and profiled advertising. To their credit, they have persued much of this. The problem is that Google is their competition. I can find anything I want, for free, quicker, crowdsourced, discussed in forums and critiqued. The only service newspapers now offer is a stream of aggregation - and that puts them in direct competition with search engines.

    This has been a perfect storm for Murdoch. He has concernrated media, driving variety out of the the market, and opening doors for players of new technology to enter into a niche and then expand to take his business.

    His papers will evaporate. Unfortunately, with it will go the newsagencies, delivery routes and old paper advertising industry that went with it. The biggest danger Rupert faces is Apple Tablet - if you can read on that, and it works well - newpapers are in for a world of pain.

  • In an exclusive interview with one of his employees, Rupert Murdoch announced that it was time to draw a line in the sand in his constant battle to frustrate freeloading consumers by scheduling extensive rhinoplasty [today.com].

    As the logical extension of his intent to improve monetization of his global media empire, an aggressive research team, led by his own grubby, questing index finger (itself a semi-autonomous publicly traded subsidiary of ArmCorp) had discovered a hitherto unprofitable branch of Mr Murdoch's own face and immediately set to analysing the potential in the "streaming content" market.

    "Thanks to the pervasive and anarchic medium of light and an endemic, unscrupulous approach to photon-consumption," said Mr Murdoch to a camera he owned, "the public have been stealing — we believe it is theft — visible spectra which carry a representation of my nose. When I consent to an interview, a TV appearance or a personal meeting with an individual, we are entering into a contract in which I am licensing access to me, Rupert Murdoch, a highly lucrative and profitable range of properties and services.

    "For too long, people have been content to pay only for access to my thoughts, speech or round-the-clock footage of the contents of my bowels — via the Times, Sky and Fox News respectively — while stealing valuable images of my nose, its nostrils and their contents, then rebroadcasting and shamelessly profiteering.

    "When a reporter negotiates an interview with me, as well as broadcasting the material he has licensed legitimately, he frequently steals additional content without permission. Telling another reporter down the pub 'I just interviewed that arsehole Murdoch, what a leathery-faced, jowly, big-nosed, offensive wanker he is' is time-shifting and re-disseminating unlicensed intellectual property. Commentary based upon my opinions is legitimate as paid output from the premium outlet of my mouth. Any entertainment derived from the rest of my face is theft, pure and simple. There is no such thing as fair use."

    The interview itself took place on Sky Channel 149, a pioneering venture to broadcast 24-hour footage of the view from Mr Murdoch's bathroom cabinet. In line with Mr Murdoch's policy of preferring fewer paying customers and no freeloaders, Sky 149 has precisely one subcriber, with Mr Murdoch himself paying himself hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for access, for the purpose of shaving.

    Having successfully franchised out his forehead, jowls and cheeks to a conglomerate representing elephants born without ball-bags, and following a failed attempt to charge a subscription fee to customers prepared to pay to punch Murdoch square in the nose, the decision was eventually made to excise the entire section of the business, rather than allow further illicit exploitation, piracy and copyright terrorism.

    When questioned as to what purpose the resulting gap in his cranial portfolio might be turned, Murdoch suggested that he was tentatively considering offers from the adult entertainment market to employ his skull cavity as a giant fucking cunt.

  • Just a guess (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:50PM (#30040890) Homepage

    But I'd hazard that he knows just how many eyes google directs to his sites.

    Instead, I'd suggest he doesn't like how efficient google's algorithm is. I generally get what I'm after with google. I'm guessing he wants to be able to directly control what a search on his sites turn up, relevant or not.

  • by epine (68316) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:53PM (#30040916)

    I was thinking about power law distributions the other night, and ended up reading through some old material on Clay Shirky's blog, where I encountered the term "solidarity good": a good that primarily has value because all your peers also know about it. This is one of the factors which drives power law distributions. I mean, we all know who's the world's wealthiest self-produced amateur porn star, which is only important because we all know it.

    I'm interested in another class of good which I might term "ubiquity good": something that has value primarily because you know it's pervasive and easily accessible. In software, we're trained not to succumb to the NIH factor. If you position a line of code as a scarcity good, you'll end up rewriting it every time you change jobs. In order to drive down labour cost, the powers that be have voted in favour of churn.

    In our economy, most people function as wage slaves: your income is primarily determined by how many hours you have to sell. Only the ascendant sliver of the power law distribution profits from accrued capital. So you have 10% of the population controlling 90% of the wealth who are intensely invested in scarcity goods, and 90% of the population controlling 10% of the wealth who see a lot more upside in ubiquity goods. Which prevails?

    Without laws to the contrary (and big government to enforce them) the answer is obvious. I wonder about this sometimes when I use Google Scholar to add a cite to a woeful Wikipedia article. I dive in, poach someone else's hard won fact/authority, jigger the wording, adjust the context, and make if free for all: a billion termites chewing away on scarcity culture, bite by bite. By comparison, the "analog gap" is a pretty small fish.

    In theory, we all aspire to make the leap from the wage slave majority to the leveraged minority. The power law says most of us aren't going to make it: the number of seats at the high table seems to shrinking lately, rather than growing.

    The argument boils down to one of two cases: A) we should all support scarcity culture, because we all aspire to ascend the economic ladder to the scarcity-enabled rungs of privilege, or B) we should all invest in ubiquity culture, because few of us will succeed in making the jump (as is the nature of a power law).

    Power laws have a fractal structure, but scarcity doesn't seem to: for whatever reason, gated communities tend not to work; a quanta of IP tends to either be scarce or universal. Frequently the market manages to exploit aspiration over reality, but I don't see how that's going to play out in Murdoch's favour in this case. There isn't enough middle ground.

    The one example of middle ground that comes to mind is stock market price data where scarcity is a function of timeliness. For the big fish, I think the goal these days is to trade on adverse information in under 4ms. The price information runs a cascade of tiers before emerging 15m later as a universal. Each tier wants to conceal the new information from the next tier down until their own trades complete, and so it goes.

    Somehow Disney wants to fire the inverse-bullet-time hog-trough at this and slow the process down to the scale of human lifetimes without tipping greater society toward ubiquity goods. I can only say, good luck with that. Murdoch in the middle isn't going to fare much better.

  • by CaroKann (795685) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:23PM (#30041150)
    Here is another article [sky.com] that goes into a little more detail.

    The crux of the matter seems to be the fact "readers who randomly reach a page via an internet search hold little value to advertisers." Apparently advertisers want to know some demographic details about the people who read the articles, details that are available with paying subscribers. "Who knows who they are or where they are. They don't suddenly become loyal readers of our content." states Mr. Murdoch of Google news click-throughs.

    Mr. Murdoch also claims that there is simply not enough advertising money in the world to make all news websites profitable. He realises that the number of visitors will decrease, but states that he would prefer to have fewer readers who pay to many readers who don't.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:29PM (#30041208) Journal
    should join Google and DROP ALL OF MURDOCH'S COMPANIES. Let him know what a day without Search Engines would be like.
  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Monday November 09, 2009 @10:58PM (#30041780) Homepage

    "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."

    That's pretty much the definition of FUD. "We can and will destroy you, but we choose not to for now." A.k.a. "bullshit".

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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