News Corp Begins Blocking Links

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Rupert Murdoch’s stance against news aggregators has kicked up a notch with news that his own company, News Corp, is now actively blocking links from UK-based aggregator NewsNow.

Seems like a dodgy idea to us Rupert...

Strange as it might seem, the Guardian is reporting that News Corp is now refusing traffic from the popular news aggregator. It’s curious stuff, though Murdoch’s own, oft-stated view that news aggregators steal traffic from content producers seems to be the reason behind the new block on links. Perhaps most interesting isn’t just that all of this is happening, but that the aggregator in question, NewsNow, has decided not to take things lying down.

Instead, NewsNow has decided to fight back, putting together a campaign supporting the right to link on the web, named, aptly enough, right2link.org (we’ve exercised our right to link there, as long as that’s alright with everyone). The page itself boasts the very simple explanatory text,

“Whether you are a consumer, an NGO, a blogger, an independent researcher, a concerned citizen or a business, your right to link needs protection.”

Certainly, its easy to take the point of view that it’s all very convenient that the first to launch a “right to link” campaign be those whose business model is based on linking to other people’s content, but the fact is that, in many cases, they make a very compelling argument.

The big question will be just how far News Corp goes in its attempts to block links from those it feels are “stealing” its content for news aggregation services. The fact is that those services do provide a fairly hefty amount of traffic for news pages, and we’d be genuinely surprised if News Corp didn’t encounter some fairly hefty falls in readership once it moves to have itself de-listed… until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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