Murdoch calls for newspapers to 'stand up' to Google

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Rupert Murdoch launched a renewed attack on Google, calling on rival newspaper publishers to "stand up" to the internet search giant and block it from showing their content online for free.

The statement is the latest salvo in a long-running battle between Mr Murdoch's News Corporation and the California-based technology group. Senior executives at News Corp have in the past referred to Google as a "tech tapeworm" and an "internet vampire".

Mr Murdoch defended his decision to introduce online "paywalls" at some of his newspaper titles, telling the National Press Club in Washington: "We are going to stop people like Google or Microsoft or whoever from taking stories for nothing." The media tycoon said internet search advertising had brought Google "a river of gold, but those words are being taken mostly from the newspapers".

He added: "I think they ought to stop it... the newspapers ought to stand up and let them do their own reporting."

His complaint centres on news aggregators' strategy of providing links to newspaper content and advertising against it on their search results pages. In future, he wants aggregators to show just a headline, a few lines and a subscription form for the relevant newspaper.

In the UK, News Corp is to put The Times and The Sunday Times behind a paywall from June, with charges set at £1 per day or £2 a week. "I think most newspapers in [America] are going to be putting up a paywall for online content," Mr Murdoch added.

On a more positive note, he hailed the launch of the iPad, calling Apple's latest creation a "wonderful tool". "It may well be the saving of the newspaper industry," he predicted. The benefit of the device will be to slash the costs of paper and ink as well as distribution.

"If you have less newspapers and more of these [e-readers], that's okay," he said. "It doesn't destroy the traditional newspaper, it just comes in a different form."

He said the iPad was likely to have eight or nine competitors within a year.

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