News Corp vs. Google: Another day, another bombshell

News Corporation’s offensive against Google keeps growing in scale and intensity. Already, the aggro feels much more significant than anything Murdoch has doled out to the BBC in the past.

This week, the sabre-rattling reached new heights, with Murdoch himself, Les Hinton and Robert Thomson all participating in assaults.

So far, News Corporation executives have delivered coruscating anti-Google diatribes in the UK, the US, China, India and Australia. This is a global effort.

In an accompanying post, I try to work out some of implications. For now, here’s a quick summary of how News Corporation’s campaign has developed:

1 December: Rupert Murdoch in Washington D.C.:

There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production.” More here.

1 December: Les Hinton in Hyderabad:

“We are allowing our journalism – billions of dollars worth of it every year – to leak onto the internet. We are surrendering our hard-earned rights to the search engines and aggregators, and the out and out thieves of the digital age.” More here.

1 December: Robert Thomson in Washington D.C.:

According to Paid Content, Thomson describes Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google as the man who put the ‘dis’into ‘disintermediation”. (The problem, it seems, is Schmidt’s alleged criticism of media executives.) More here.

18 November: James Harding, editor of the Times, in London:

“We are going to confront those people who we think represent a serious threat to the future of independent journalism. This means having a conversation with the likes of Google, which extracts far more value from content sites than they give in return.” More here.

9 November: Rupert Murdoch, interviewed by Sky News Australia:

“The people who just simply pick up everything and run with it – steal our stories … without payment.” More here.

1 November: Robert Thomson in San Francisco:

Marissa unintentionally encourages promiscuity. . . The whole Google model is based on digital disloyalty. It’s about disloyalty to creators.” More here.

12th October: Rupert Murdoch in Beijing:

“The Philistine phase of the digital age is almost over. The aggregators and the plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content.” More here.

24 June 2009: Les Hinton in New York

‘There is a charitable view of the history of Google. [It] didn’t actually begin life in a cave as a digital vampire per se. The charitable view of Google is that the news business itself fed Google’s taste for this kind of blood.” More here.

6 April 2009: Robert Thomson, interviewed by The Australian

“Google argues they drive traffic to sites, but the whole Google sensibility is inimical to traditional brand loyalty.

“Google encourages promiscuity – and shamelessly so – and therefore a significant proportion of their users don’t necessarily associate that content with the creator.

“There is no doubt that certain websites are best described as parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet.” More here.

12 February 2009: Robert Thomson in New York:

“Google — I mean, the harsh way of just defining it, Google devalues everything it touches. Google is great for Google, but it’s terrible for content providers, because it divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively.” More here.

Where is all of this leading? What does News Corporation want? How can Google stop the pain? In an accompanying post, I try to tease out the implications.

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