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News International steps up blocking of aggregators

January 12th, 2010Posted by in Online Journalism

Last week Journalism.co.uk reported that Times Online had blocked news aggregator NewsNow from crawling its website.

And now News International has followed suit with its other UK sites, News of the World and The Sun (hat tip to Malcolm Coles for alerting us to this development). Both are now blocking NewsNow’s crawlers.

Last month NewsNow dropped links to the sites of 18 newspapers publishers from its subscription service ahead of the introduction of new charges by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) for aggregators and media monitoring services using newspaper website links in their paid-for services. Links to the Times’ site were not dropped however.

The aggregator also claimed it was facing legal pressure from newspaper groups to remove links.

Last week Struan Bartlett, managing director of NewsNow, made his feelings on NI’s decision clear:

NewsNow and other aggregation businesses will ride the wave, but I am concerned that key freedoms people enjoy, to access publicly available information on the internet using an independent search engine of their choice, are being eroded

But in a statement given to Journalism.co.uk, News International’s reasons for blocking the aggregator hinge on the use of links to its websites within NewsNow’s paid-for service:

NewsNow has been using Times Online content as part of its paid-for, commercial as well as free services. They have continued to do so despite our direct requests for them to stop. As a result, we have taken the decision to disallow their indexing of our content. News International makes a significant investment in journalism and we believe that it is entirely appropriate for us to ask that our rights are respected. NewsNow has acknowledged that they require our permission to use our content and, in the absence of our permission, has ceased to do so.

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