Suggestions for changes to copyright law posted on the Business Insider by a US university professor and lawyer have come under fire after proposing that the direct reposting of news content from a weekly title online should be banned for a week following publication.
The article suggests that declines within the newspaper industry could be improved if intellectual property rights were to undergo “rethinking”.
Using aggregators like Google and others, I can access essentially in real time the lead paragraphs of almost any story from the New York Times, the Washington Post, or indeed any other major news service. Not surprisingly, traditional print media publications are dying, and not surprisingly their owners’ online dotcom alternatives are generating far too little revenue to pick up the slack; why pay for any content when the essence of everything is available immediately, and free, elsewhere.
The writers Eric Clemons and Nehal Madhani add that one solution could be to apply a waiting time on articles before they can be reposted online by external aggregators, unless it is only in commentary on the work.
A first suggestion would be to provide newspaper and other journalistic content special protection, so that no part of any story from any daily periodical could be reposted in an online aggregator, or used online for any use other than commentary on the article, for 24 hours; similarly, no part of any story from any weekly publication could be reposted in an online aggregator or for any use purpose other than commentary, for one week.
But these proposals have been strongly opposed by online news sites such as Techdirt.com, who said the issues facing newspapers is not the fault of news aggregators.
Revenue from those publications has been in decline for many years — well before Google and the internet existed. The biggest problem many of the bigger publications faced was taking on ridiculous debt loads. On top of that, most of them failed to provide value to their community, as competitors stepped in to serve those communities. That’s not about aggregators.