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]