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Newspapers force Google limit

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Google News, the leading online provider of free news, will soon limit the amount of material users can access after fierce criticism from publishers.

Following heated campaigns by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media group and fellow institutions, Google has been forced to reign in its free news services or risk copyright breaches.

The opposition’s argument is that, while Google no doubt brings more consumers to their websites for free, news articles are taken without permission and readers need not offer money to view copyrighted works.

Murdoch has threatened to block Google, and fellow news aggregators such as Newsnow.co.uk, from accessing any of his sites unless they change their practices. His main annoyance is that advertisements, running along side free news articles, generate revenue solely for Google whilst publishers or creators are never reimbursed for their efforts.

“Good Journalism is an expensive commodity” Murdoch said last month. “Some critics say people won’t pay for news. I believe they will.”

Google News readers, who generate 4bn clicks each month, will now be limited to five free daily visits to newspaper websites. Once they have used their quota, they will be redirected to subscription and registration pages requesting money for any further views.

“Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free,” said Google’s Senior Business Product Manager, Josh Cohen. “Now, we’ve updated the programme so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing.”

As the newspaper industry struggles to regain revenues lost to the internet’ impact, this week’s announcement may signal the end of free high-end news for consumers.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

December 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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