Press Fights New Battle Against Internet “Parasites”

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Press organizations are circling their wagons against news aggregators and other websites that rely on their content.

On Monday, the Associated Press said it would crack down on websites that copy-and-paste its stories without paying for them and would lower fees for the 1,500 newspapers that pay for AP services.

"We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under some very misguided, unfounded legal theories," AP chairman Dean Singleton told his board at their annual meeting in San Diego.

He said that the AP is still working out how it plans to track content that is illegally distributed, but that the organization was "mad as hell, and we are not going to take it any more."

The Wall Street Journal's top editor, Robert Thomson, also lashed out Monday at news aggregators like Google and at readers who he said had come to expect free content.  

"There is no doubt that certain websites are best described as parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet," he said in an interview with The Australian

Thomson added that content providers would soon fight back, a threat that prompted Michael Wolff, editor of aggregator, to fire back on his site that Thomson's "old media backlash was a day late and a dollar short."   

Wolff -- the author of a biography of News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch -- went on to taunt the company for overpaying for the Journal.

"That deal cost Murdoch $5.6 billion in cash and another $30 billion in share price value, making it the most expensive blunder of Murdoch's career," he wrote. "So Thompson is full of sour grapes. He clawed his way to the top of the financial news pyramid, only to find it ready to turn to dust." 

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