Time to pay up, Murdoch warns internet companies


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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation has warned that it is time for internet search engines and others who use news content for free to pay for it.

Murdoch's comments were echoed by the Associated Press' Tom Curley and comes againts a background of media industry struggles in the internet age.

Many news companies say that sites such as Google have reaped a fortune off their articles, photos and video without fairly compensating those producing the material.

"We content creators have been too slow to react to the free exploitation of news by third parties without input or permission," Mr Curley, The AP's chief executive, told a meeting of 300 media leaders in Beijing.

"Crowd sourcing, web services such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook, have become preferred customer destinations for breaking news, displacing websites of traditional news publishers, he said.

"We content creators must quickly and decisively act to take back control of our content."

He said the problem was especially serious because search engines and bloggers were directing huge amounts of revenue away from content creators.

Mr Murdoch also told the opening session of the World Media Summit that content providers would be demanding that they be paid.

"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators - the people in this hall - who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph," the News Corporation chief executive said.

AP already plans to introduce a system, called a news registry, that will track its content online and detect unlicensed uses in ways that could help boost revenue for the not-for-profit news co-operative, which was founded in 1846, and its member newspapers.

The system will be tested in six weeks by nine newspapers as well as a sports statistics provider run jointly by AP and News Corporation.

The AP and its member newspapers contend that unauthorised use of their material is costing them tens of millions in potential advertising revenue at a time when they can least afford it.

Mr Murdoch and Mr Curley were speaking to 300 representatives from more than 170 media outlets from 80 countries at a meeting that will look at the challenges and opportunities the media face from the internet, technology changes and the world economic crisis.