back to article Google pockets half of 'unlicensed' news dollars, says study

Google pockets more than half of the online revenues generated from "unlicensed" newspaper content, according to a new study. With a report (PDF) released today, the Fair Syndication Consortium says that over a 30-day period in October and November, more than 75,000 websites "reused" at least one newspaper article without …


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  1. DrXym

    News sites should be grateful for aggregators

    I must read hundreds of different news sources thanks to Google News and similar. Hundreds if not thousands of page & ad impressions per year that these folks absolutely would not have gotten from me otherwise. The same for countless millions of other people.

    So what if Google takes it's share? The reality is that news sites are gaining far more hits with aggregators than they ever would without.

    If Murdoch pulled his sites from Google, do you know how much people would care? Not one jot. Their content will just fall into a black hole and links that would have gone to news corp will go somewhere else instead.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      @DrXym Huh?

      RIF (Reading is Fundamental)

      The point is that Google is making money off the lifted news which should have been licensed.

      This isn't an issue of a blogger quoting 'extensively' of an article (125 words is extensive?) but rather people reposting news articles mostly intact.

      The sad reality is that without these funds, newspapers, which are losing money, will not be able to afford investigative journalism.

      If you follow the argument, Google is making money for nothing. They don't originate the content and enabling the offending sites to steal something which is not theirs.

      The phrase 'content is king' is true. But without compensation, you can expect that the majority of quality content will no longer be 'free' to be stolen.

      Murdoch may be an a$$hole, but IMHO, he's got a valid gripe.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Half of nothing is nothing

    Dear Fair Syndication Consortium

    1. Half of all unlicensed dollars is half of nothing. These spam robots sites that copy articles have no traffic because Google filters them as it find them.

    2. If there are sites with traffic that copy your text, then file a takedown notice against them and they will be gone.

    3. Stop pretending that Google is profiting from your text, you can use robot.txt to exclude Google at any time.

    4. Stop pretending that you should have a cut of revenue from sites who quote and discuss your articles. You publishers quote and discuss other web sites and they do not demand the same from you. You are not special.

  3. Blain Hamon
    Thumb Down

    Words words words

    So if blogs are less than 10%, what's the 90%?

    If 56% of the sites have less than 125 words in common, what's the minimum words needed to be considered relevant? If I have a news article titled just, 'War!', can I claim that any site that talks about wars be copying my title?

    How many of these articles are from a common unlicensed source? IE, company makes press release, newscritter finds release, copypastes it as article. Is the original counted in this survey as an 'unlicensed copy'?

    Does anyone else appreciate the irony that FairSyndication's findings are very information-light, full of sound bytes, but little else?

  4. DZ-Jay

    Re: News sites should be blah blah blah


    The truth is rather more nuanced than that. The sad part is that if Murdoch pulled his sites from Google, their content would still be made available through the aggregator by all those other sites ripping them off, but they wouldn't see a penny of it.

    So in essence, as you point out, you nor anybody who should care would notice, but the original content producers, who fail to make money.

    Tell me this, if most of the content available to you and others in the Internet is accessed through aggregating services such as Google News, and is basically collected from external sources such as newspapers and magazines; what would happen to the aggregators when the original sources that feed them fail at their expense?


    1. Unlimited

      At whose expense?

      >the original content producers, who fail to make money

      Care to explain how driving masses of traffic to the content producers website is losing them money? If anything, more traffic should equal more money.

      Every other website is extremely happy when google links to them with a small excerpt. They often spend a lot of time and money to get their link with excerpt on the first page of googles search results.

      News sites seem to be the only ones unable to monetise their traffic.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Murdoch is already gone from Google

      "if Murdoch pulled his sites from Google, their content would still be made available through the aggregator by all those other sites ripping them off, but they wouldn't see a penny of it."

      Nah, lets see. From the Sun today, Sabrina Washington 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!' ..Sabrina out of the jungle

      Read more:

      The search [Sabrina I'm a celebrity] returns.

      1. Daily mail


      3. Betfair betting

      etc etc.

      Two things, first of all, NONE OF THE RESULTS IN THE FRONT PAGE IS AN AGGREGATOR OR SCRAPER SITE. NONE! Second, I notice that Murdochs news sites are gone too.

      Just to repeat that, MURDOCH HAS GONE FROM GOOGLE.

      Well at least on major search terms. Good riddance.

  5. Adrian Midgley 1
    Thumb Down

    If anyone, they have a claim on the republishers

    And they can go after them.

    I don't want to see multiple copies of things (much of Murdoch, I think one copy is excessive) and I doubt Google feels the world's data is better organised by many many copies being spread about under different labels.

  6. criscros


    The "problem" everybody seems to have with news aggregators is that they spread out the advertising revenue, so more money goes to wherever the best content is.

    This means, small-time news sites with high quality content get a chance, and big news empires like Murdoch's lose their stranglehold and don't get to keep everything for themselves.

    Even if Murdoch got 100% of Google news' revenues, he'd still be in the red. News corp is not sustainable as it is because it's gotten too big!

  7. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Eat this Rupert, U2 Google

    < meta


    content="" />

    See ? Now everything has a license and you two can go back to being friends ...

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      It's worse than that, Jim...


      "...How many of these articles are from a common unlicensed source? IE, company makes press release, newscritter finds release, copypastes it as article. Is the original counted in this survey as an 'unlicensed copy'?.."

      How many of these press articles have many words in common with a web site because the newspaper copied the article FROM the web site?

      More and more, I find that newspaper stories are hashed up re-servings of things I read first on the Register, or some other site which specialises in the news that interests me. I really can't see how they can hope to keep going - they are providing nothing that a customer wants anymore....

      1. James R Grinter

        ironic, really

        The Register is frequently rewriting PRs and other sites news stories too - but we love it and we all read it because it's easier to follow one aggregator that's picking out what's worth knowing about.

        (I'd love it more if the RSS feed included the author's name so that I'd know when they're going to be rants or search engine link bait fodder... I could prioritise better, then! Thanks!)

  8. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Welcome to modern news...

    The fact of the matter now is that a lot of modern "news reporting" consists of stories grubbed off the AP/ Reuters wires or similar without any attempt to actually research them.

    Try searching for a popular news story and you'll find fifty or more virtually identical versions, some with edits in, others copied verbatim.

    The only ones that aren't like this are the "breaking news" stories that often contain wildly inaccurate speculation or "facts" which later turn out to be nonsense as a result of the "24 hour news cycle" that results in the "publish or broadcast first and worry about the details later" attitude.

  9. Goat Jam
    Thumb Up

    Rupert vs Reality

    Looks like this might be the must see epic fail of 2010!

    Well, that and the Microsoft Retail Adventure anyway.

    Bring it on!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way news works...

    In the old days if one newspaper broke a story the other papers would be carrying the story in their next edition. Editors would have the early editions of every other paper as soon as they hit the streets.

    When broadcast news came along the process became quicker, as soon as one station broadcast a new story the other stations would be all over it in a matter of minutes.

    All each title or station would do is quickly source a few quotes from people who hadn't yet been interviewed.

    It has always been understood by news organisations that this is how news works. There are of course issues of copyright, nobody would just reprint somebody else's story verbatim. There are also "gentlemen's agreements" involved. It does happen, however, that sometimes the "rules" of the system are broken. In order to get to press quickly no new information is added. Or sometimes a news organisation may splash "EXCLUSIVE" all over a story they have picked up from somebody else. One particular organisation is particularly guilty of this.

    So while I sympathise somewhat that Google are getting their news for free it should be noted that an awful lot of the news you get from the big news providers was, in effect, sourced without expense as well.

  11. Nomen Publicus

    Whinging Rupert

    Just take your awful papers behind a paywall and stop complaining. If you like, I'll explain robots.txt to you for only $10,000 an hour.

  12. lukewarmdog

    monetize this

    QQ Google takes our revenue from ads.

    Yeah.. the last time I clicked on an ad was never.

    The last time I bought something from an online ad.. also never.

    Who cares where I read your news, if I don't read it on your site I'll just read it on another.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Murdoch = FAILWHALE

    Let's have the news...

    You have a news website...

    You failed to set up your own news aggregator...

    FAIL...or as the kids say....luser

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