The Associated Press and 28 other news organizations have launched a project to collect fees from aggregators who are reposting their content around the Web.

The project, knowns as NewsRight, will be a separate business that will license original news from the media companies, and collect royalties from aggregators, according to Poynter. The project was formerly known as the News Registry and News Licensing Group, and has been in the pipeline for several years now.

There are other companies doing this already, including the non-profit Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), which represents a large list of content providers including newspapers, books, blogs, and journals. There was also the ill-fated company Righthaven, which put copyright trolls on the map by leveraging lawsuits and threats of lawsuits to collect fees from bloggers and other websites.

NewsRight is just about news organizations though, and it’s already very, very large. It currently has 28 co-investors, 30 additional companies taking part, and 800 news websites. Among its 28 partner organizations are big names including New York Times Co. and Washington Post Co., as well as “most mid-sized newspaper chains, public and private,” states Poynter.

Some of the few big names it is currently missing are in the pipeline: Gannett, Tribune, Cox and News Corp. Poynter spoke with CEO David Westin, who told them they are currently negotiating with all four to bring them on as either participants or investors.

“With Associated Press stories and content from a Who’s Who of newspapers, it will represent a significant one-stop shopping opportunity for aggregators willing to pay,” states Poynter.

NewsRight will target companies that “make heavy (and commercial) use of content originated elsewhere. They are being asked to become payers rather than free riders,” states Poynter.

The exact method isn’t clear yet. Whether this will be a massive copyright trolling campaign, or a way of news organizations to sell news online while giving something valuable, has yet to be seen.

Poynter gives mixed data on NewsRight’s use of lawsuits. It says lawsuits likely won’t be used at first, but “lawsuits and threats of lawsuits will eventually be part of the NewsRight playbook,” Poynter states. It adds, however, that lawsuits will not be the main focus. Rather, it will be “much more diplomatic and technology-driven.”

NewsRight will mainly work in a similar manner to the CCC, which depends on voluntary compliance (but this may refer to voluntary under threat of lawsuits, or being labelled as operating unethically).

The first salesperson for NewsRight will start this week, according to Poynter. The company and its 11 employees are based in the AP headquarters in New York City.


[box_light]The lead image is an illustration of Alfred Smedberg’s The boy who never was afraid in the childrens’ anthology Among pixies and trolls, 1912. It is in the public domain.[/box_light]

About The Author

Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

8 Responses

  1. j

    if these “news groups” wouldn’t use digital cameras
    then Kodak wouldn’t be going broke….the internet
    has bypassed these “groups”, and this is the only
    plan they have left.

  2. Anozimmer

    Expect to be hemorrhaging news groups no one will read your sites. All a money grab. Those that are willing to pay are few and far between. You should be happy that anyone would want to share your any of your content. Greedy pigs. Time for slaughter.

  3. Jeff A. Taylor

    I must’ve missed the checks local newspapers and TV stations sent to me after flat stealing content from my blog without credit, attribution, or let alone a link. I’m sure they are on their way right now.

  4. Poster

    You start the story from a blatantly baised viewpoint, showing a picture of a troll. Copyright and Patent Trolls are generally regarded as those that expect to collect a toll on users without providing any value.

    However, in this case, there is value being provided – the news stories. If others want to copy their content for non-fair use purposes, they should be prepared to pay for it.

    The real question is whether the proposed rates for the content is reasonable – pennies per hundred views, as opposed to something more onerous. So far there is no indication of whether the rates being charged are reasonable – other than their vague assurance that their focus will not be on lawsuits.

  5. Ryfte X

    If you’re gaining access to the entire article / publication with this subscription or fee model then I see no issue. If, on the other hand, you’re merely getting the header blurb or standard fair use chunk and pointing your links back to the originating site then this is seriously broken. If it is in fact the latter case then they are attempting to force sites to pay for advertising their own material and for bringing them traffic. If anything it should in fact be reversed; they should pay the aggregators that are bringing them more hits / traffic.

    If this does in fact get established I would expect aggregators to stop using those sources. Effectively eliminating those links to the original articles / publications. The internet is supposed to keep things connected and make information easier to find and cheaper. All the recent changes have done is alter that focus and the more changes being proposed, such as this one, the less functional the internet will become.

  6. Anonymous

    I’ll be reading a lot less news if this happens. To many sources to look at each one, and nobody can afford all those subscriptions.


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