Rupert Murdoch vows to take all of Newscorp's websites out of Google, abolish fair use, tear heads off of adorable baby animals

For months (years?) Rupert Murdoch has been waving his jowls around and shouting that Google is stealing from him by not paying to index his material. And all along, we've been saying, "Pffft, right. If you don't like it, just add a robots.txt file that tells Google not to index you. Until you do, stop whining and put it back in your pants."

Now Rupert has promised to do exactly that. He claims that he's going to take all of News Corp's websites pay-only and have them removed from Google when he does.

You know what? He's lying. But I think it'd be entertaining if every reporter who interviewed him, for the rest of his life, said, "Hey, Rupert, when are you going to take all your company's websites out of Google?" It'd also be hilarious to get the CEOs of the various pieces of Rupert's empire to comment on whether they want all their company's materials invisible to search engines.

Rupert also thinks that fair use is illegal and that the right court case would result in it being "barred altogether." Again, another hilarious interview question for the rest of his career: "Hey, Rupert, when are you going to abolish fair use? How's that plan coming, pal?"

The revelation came early in the interview, after Murdoch claimed that Google and others are stealing News Corp content in response to a question about who he was talking about when he talked about plagiarists. "The people who simply pick up everything to run with, and steal our stories...they just take them..without payment. That's Google, Microsoft, whole lot of people."

Murdoch claimed that readers who visit News Corp sites via search offer little value to advertisers, and that News Corp would rather have fewer people coming to their websites, but paying. Asked why News hasn't made its sites invisible to Google, Murdoch replied: "I think we will....but that's when we start charging."

Murdoch also claims that News Corp believes that the doctrine of Fair Use can be challenged in court and "barred altogether."

Epic Win: News Corp Likely To Remove Content From Google (Thanks, Dustin!)

Update: So here's what I think it going on. Murdoch has no intention of shutting down search-engine traffic to his sites, but he's still having lurid fantasies inspired by the momentary insanity that caused Google to pay him for the exclusive right to index MySpace (thus momentarily rendering MySpace a visionary business-move instead of a ten-minutes-behind-the-curve cash-dump).

So what he's hoping is that a second-tier search engine like Bing or Ask (or, better yet, some search tool you've never heard of that just got $50MM in venture capital) will give him half a year's operating budget in exchange for a competitive advantage over Google.

He may, in fact, get a taker. And it will be a disaster. A search engine whose sole competitive advantage is "We have Rupert Murdoch's pages!" will not attract any substantial traffic. The search engine will either go bust or fail to renew the deal.

On this fair use question, my guess is that some evil Richelieu in the legal department has been passing torrid whispers to Rupert about how the Berne Convention's "Three Step Test" for exceptions to copyright is overstepped by US fair use and by many countries' fair dealing rules. So Rupert thinks that he can take a case to the WTO (membership in the WTO is contingent on compliance with the Berne Convention) and get all these rules struck down.

Of course, Rupert's own media products make frequent and copious fair use of other copyrights -- you can't create without fair use. But the mustache-twirling lawyer at Newscorp probably didn't mention this to Rupert Palpatine (the lawyer probably thinks it'd be OK if every single one of those fair uses was replaced by a process in which lots of lawyers negotiated the terms of every use, probably all reporting to him).

They're wrong, of course. The WTO's rules -- and Berne -- are necessarily subservient to realpolitik, viz., the US gets $1 trillion of economic activity out of fair use, and it's not going to get rid of it because it makes some UN agency sad (if the UN mattered to the US, the US'd be paying the billions in back-fees it owes). And if the WTO imposes trade sanctions on the US, they'll just be ignored, because the world's factory-states (China, with also-rans such as India and Vietnam) can't afford to stop sending shipping containers full of Happy Meal toys to America. And if the WTO tries to embargo China, it'll quickly discover that the rest of the world isn't prepared to live without plastic tchotchkes and junkware either.

So good luck with that, Rupert. have a delightful, Howard-Hughesian dotage, acting out a crazed, Moby-Dick dumbshow against the Internet, hoping that the world's politics and economies will reform themselves to suit your fevered imaginings. This is how history will remember you.


    1. Not only is the title editorialized, but the whole thing reeks of sensationalism. I realize you can get away with a little more of that than some of the people below you on the masthead, but wow. Take a deep breath and take a step back there. This could have been a great entry/story, but it reeks of hyperventilating rant.

  1. Oh noes, Uncle Murdoch! Pleeeze don’t make it harder for the sheeples to get access to your glorious yellow rag! BTW how is your Spruce Goose coming along?

  2. Never ceases to amaze me how traditional media types STILL don’t understand that pay-for newspaper models don’t work. They never will. Just because it’s not indexed on Google doesn’t mean we still can’t find it for free elsewhere.

  3. you know what would be totally awesome? if google de-indexed his sites. the entertainment value of rupert begging to be added back would be hi-larious :)

  4. Good. You do that, Mr. Murdoch. You take your papers and put them behind a pay wall. See how well that works for you. Go on. Do it.

    I have the perfect 4chan image macro involving Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, but it’d violate BB’s commentary guidelines.

  5. Please Mr. Murdoch remove all of your content. Now there will be room for actual NEWS and less variety/side show noise. Yes News Corp. please remove your self from all search engines.

  6. Fox news might block Google, and lock all it’s content behind a pay wall? Yes please!

    But, sorry Fox, we’re going to need to keep fair use. Otherwise, how would we keep laughing at you?

  7. be careful what you wish for… you sound a bit like Queen Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” You are underestimating the numbers fall that traditional media has taken (a trajectory they are still on) …if Murdoch has any tick up in profits …even for just a quarter…every other big news service is going to be pressured into following suit by their corporate boards… and jounalism will have the standards of twitter and social media…which is very bad… AND on top of that Fox would look smart and a leader in journalism..

    or you could be right. But gloating and saying he won’t do it shows exactly that you don’t understand their numbers… or how much signatory contracts and future financial obligations are weighing on their future changing…or how much new media relies on traditional media to get their news in reality

  8. The removal of Murdoch’s crap from my search results would be an advantage. Maybe google could charge for the service.

  9. The pay for it model may not work, but clearly the free model isn’t working for him either. He wouldn’t be off on this lark if he was rolling in cash generated by Google referrals.

  10. Got any shares in Newscorp? Now’s the time to sell…they ain’t going to be worth much soon.

    Rupe, paywalling your media empire _and_ making yourself invisible to the world’s most popular seach engine — one of those moves would be boneheaded, but both at once is a death-wish.

  11. Personally, Im looking forward to not being able to find any of Murdoch’s silly content… I’ll be able to find the respectable news sources more easily. Especially that article about a formerly smart media mogul who jumped the shark… what was his name?

  12. Dennis Potter named the cancer that killed him “Rupert”, after Murdock. You have to be a pretty solid assh*le to make someone hate you like that, and I never got the impression that Dennis Potter was a hothead.
    Rupert Murdock is a blight on society and should be shunned as a public enemy. I would consider petitioning Google to remove his material asap, since he has expressed his will quite clearly. Lets see news corp try to wring money out of their trailer-park-dwelling fans for web content.

  13. And Brits! This is the man to whom Cameron intends to hand the keys to the UK news castle, starting with the dissolution of the BBC.
    Careful with those protest votes, proles, be sure you don’t jump from the lying pan to the liar!

  14. I was thinking about this today and if his media companies have somewhat peaked in popularity in that they are relying more and more on core participants and less on drawing people in then it might not be such a bad move. I don’t know about Myspace but if he could get his core audience for all the conservative media sites to pony up a fee then one could see a model develop for pay-for-web deals where you just surf the packages of sites you pay for… why stray and check out all the web sites, you’re paying for your “conservative news plus package”?… thus re-enforcing the echo chamber effect. Double Plus Good!

  15. Well, I think this is great. 20th century history benefits greatly from the antics of Howard Hughes, and Murdoch is colouring himself in as a bright and entertaining historical figure for the enjoyment of our children and our children’s children.

  16. On the other hand, I’m having fun imagining Murdoch spinning out his last days shup in a room, long-haired, long-fingernailed and draped in Kleenex, while Wendy’s family stage endless puppetshows of content within the walled garden of NewsCorp.

    Carve it on his tombstone.

  17. By all means, Rupert, please retreat to whatever haven you care for.

    There is a quite active movement calling for Google to boycott Fox/News LTD “content”.

    Give me a few days and I will put together a Hosts file/AdBlock list to eliminate every trace of this old creep and his Media Medicine Show from the web.

  18. He is posturing, exactly like he was posturing when he said all his news websites would go behind the paywall. Apparently, the dates for that have slipped and they will probably “slip” even further in 2010…

    He’s trying to scare web operations into submission. As long as the googlers keep their cool, he will fail, and the world will be a better place for it. Unfortunately, as the history of filesharing shows, the “new media” world is made up by wimps and political lightweights, so the conclusion is not a given.

  19. Never stop openly editorialising those headlines — that’s what sites like Boing Boing are for. If I want thinly veiled editorialised headlines that attempt to maintain a hopeless fiction of impartiality, I’ll read a newspaper.

    1. Laroquod really hits the nail on the head. There is no impartial news source and never has been. There are only sources who admit their leanings and those who pretend to have none.

  20. It’s so good when you walk into a room or click a link, and you find yourself suddenly surrounded by others who seethe at the very idea of someone so repulsive as Rupert Murdoch. Almost as much as I do. It’s early, but it’s already a good day.

    Thank you one and all.

  21. In other news, cranky old man wants to charge phonebook for listing his business number, yells at kids to get off his virtual lawn. Hilarity ensues.

  22. I love the fact that we can watch this video because it has been uploaded by Murdoch’s News Corporation’s Sky News to Google’s YouTube. I say “can” because I’m not going to watch a News Corporation “journalist” interview his boss. I suspect that, no matter your opinion of Murdoch, we can all agree that isn’t going to be particularly unbiased.

    1. Thanks! For my fellow clueless Americans: Sky News is owned by British Sky Broadcasting, and News Corporation owns around 40% of BSkyB’s shares. James Murdoch (the son of Rupert Murdoch) sits as the chairman of BSkyB.

  23. Considering the great expense of the dead-tree distribution, I’m surprised that advertising only revenue isn’t enough to support traditional newspapers. I wonder whether the legacy costs of a printing and distribution infrastructure sized for a much greater hard copy circulation is the killer.

  24. Tell me again, how did Rupert Murdock become a bazillionaire? Verily, the stupid is strong in this one. As print media becomes more and more irrelevant, how does boycotting the new media grow ones business?

  25. Why are we charged for music or movies? If the artist says their trying to send a message through song or film, it should be part of “fair use” I felt it was a scam that the music industry went after “napster” and the other one with the “K” in it. But I fail to see the difference in the news/media or the film/music industry.

  26. Go ahead Rupert, take the cork off the fork and find out what happens. We all know you won’t do it, you’re a typical selfish neocon you haven’t the guts to actually do what you threaten because you know you would be the loser in that scenario. And I love how you want the courts to be activists when it comes to the things you care about, but lordy try gettin some justice for the little people and suddenly the court system is all Marxist. File this one under empty threat and nobody cares what this scraggly old bag of dirt thinks anyway.

  27. Just thinking out loud: If newspapers and other media outlets are losing money at breakneck paces, why don’t they just set the advertising rates higher? I know that the typical advertiser wants high click through rates and all that, but companies that advertise on TV don’t expect the same results. It’s all about getting people to view your products and brands, so why pay to have that visibility. Everyone knows who Miller Lite is, everyone knows who McDonald’s is. Everyone knows big brand names, because that’s all they care about, they shouldn’t have to care about click through rates.

    I think maybe newspapers made a very bad decision years ago to not charge the same rates as they would with their paper counterparts. I don’t know. I just know a pay wall will never work on the Internet.

  28. It could only be an improvement if Murdoch sites weren’t indexed. Google’s newspage often is polluted by Fox’s garbage and debunked misinformation.

  29. Murdoch needs Google far more than Google needs Murdoch, and Google knows this quite well. Does sorry old Rupert?

  30. Thank god that means my google news page wont have links to fox news anymore. previously I had to be very careful in not opening a fox news site(it only pollutes your mind)

  31. Please, Google, just stop displaying newscorpse sites for say a week just to let them know how effective it would be. Call it an experiment in how things would be if they got their wish.

  32. Wow, I’m really surprised by this magnanimous Murdoch gesture to help clean up the internet by removing Newscorp crap from Google! Less noise, more signal FTW!

  33. Reminds me of an old-school recording industry mini-mogul I know who thought that because people were selling used copies of albums on ebay, that he owned the rights to (or even listing them on discogs) that meant somebody on the internet was stealing from him.

    “How DARE they list my books in a library card catalog!!”

  34. Rupert also thinks that fair use is illegal and that the right court case would result in it being “barred altogether.” umm…no. Although originaly a creation of the courts, fair use has been (fairly poorly) codified since 1976, so it can’t be illegal. Since the power to create copyright law is expressly granted to the congress by the constitution, congress’s legal authority to legislate what IS and IS NOT covered is really subject only to later ammendments, which seem to have little impact. (except possibly for the 11th ammendment)

  35. I just read where the NY Post is losing $70meg a year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone start a pool on when M is dead, bankrupt, or both.

  36. Dear concerned hackers: please (unobtrusively!) hack Murdoch’s websites, but quietly change only their robots.txt to exclude all search engines.

    The online world thanks you!

  37. Remember: Newspapers are going out of business *not* because they lack readers. Thanks to unwisely giving away their product for free, they probably have more readers than any other time in history. They’re going out of business because they don’t have the advertising.

    Google makes money selling advertising, and so do newspapers. And we’re surprised to discover they’re in competition?

  38. Dear Rup,

    Please start hiding malware of viruses in dummy links on google to teach a lesson or something like that. It would do wonders for the news industry as it did for music.

  39. A day at Boing Boing just wouldn’t be complete without users bitching about editorializing and sensationalism.

    Well, duh. Boing Boing isn’t McClatchy/NYTimes/the BBC. I can’t believe how long it’s taking them to figure that out.

  40. Can someone please tell me why quality news should be free?

    Or why news should be solely financed by advertising?

    Murdoch is certainly no champion of independent journalism but has a valid point in trying to protect the use of his online content.

    Somebody at some point has to pay for editors, sub-editors, copy editors, journalists, researchers, ect… The free news model [dependant on citizen journalism and ads] is complete bullshit and simply doesn’t work.

    If you need proof, read a free daily paper and see how much quality news you get in comparison with a descent broadsheet.

    1. ” Or why news should be solely financed by advertising? ”

      I’ll take a stab at this one. You’re right, there’s no reason news to be solely financed by advertising. There are alreay examples:

      — BBC is funded by the British government via a “TV tax.”
      — The Christian Science Monitor is funded by a church (Church of Christ Scientist). So is The Washington Times (Unification Church).
      — ProPublica, a new investigative shop, is funded by a billionaire’s charity.

      These business models have their own problems. (Do you want your news coming from a church? From your government? etc) In addition, these business models aren’t widely repeatable. Not every church has enough money to fund a newsroom, I would surmise.

      Bottom line: For decades if not centuries, “quality” news generally has been financed by advertising. To date, no equally efficient replacement business model has emerged.

      Some Google prosletyzers like to loudly chant “Google can save the news business!” While that may, or may not, be true — only time will tell — it’s certainly not a business model.

  41. If every newspaper in the world put it’s content behind a paywall, that would leave a vacuum online for news. That vacuum would be filled by bloggers. Other parts are already being filled, cf. Orac at Respectful Insolence and Ben Goldacre. They stand to correct the incompetent science reporting.

    Don’t forget, these outfits have tried the paywall before. It didn’t work then, it won’t work now.

  42. OMG please please do this.. I would be nice not to have tainted news. And please triple what you charge for fox news to the cable companies….

  43. If search engines and big content providers do as Calacanis suggests, wouldn’t it more likely kill robots.txt than Google?

  44. Dear Mr Murduck, you are a knob. Your newspapers aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, they’re biased, misinformative, unreliable pap. The BBC kicks your sorry butt every time.

    Please please please withdraw your crap from the web and go bankrupt a.s.a.p. Please also fall slowly into one of your printing presses

    have a really crap ‘rest of your (hopefully short) life’

    no-one will miss you or your toilet-papers when your gone

  45. I’m with Calacanis. And, please: Murdoch may not be a nice man, but he ain’t just Fox. He’s also The Times, etc., etc., etc. – and if others followed, this could actually work. I want to read the original article. The source. If the big news sites would no longer be indexed on google, i’d switch to whatever search engine for news. simple as that.

  46. Chris – If News Corp wants anything but their breaking news to be findable, they should want to be indexed in Google.

    Old media Google-phobia kinda puzzles me. Everyone else is desperate to improve their rankings in Google. Things like local search probably hurt local papers, but that has nothing to do with being indexed in the regular Google search engine or Google News.

  47. Sweet! Could he make Faux Snooze pay-per-view while he’s at it? He could get that deeply snide baritone “I’m lying” wingnut voisstaluntjob for the ads on MSNBC and CNN.

  48. Well, it may not be as easy as the Digital Triumphalists above make it sound; if Rupe and the other Media Moguls do band together and cut off the news feed, there will be a sudden emptiness on the web. Now, that doesn’t mean that the bloggers can’t & won’t do the old CTR+C/CTRL+V dance to populate their pages … but the News Corp/Disney/Time-Warner/Comcast-NBC legal departments will start firing off the DMCA notices. And then you get the pressure on ad networks to yank their money out of places like Federated Media (which supports this place, BTW), otherwise their brands don’t get on TeeVee to reach all the American Idol millions. Result: You’ll start to see a lot of bloggers and indie media going belly-up.

    Now, eventually, this would result in a reader revolt; nobody likes to feel cornered; then again, what effect has that had on the major cellphone carriers to treat their paying customers decently, eh? If the entire news/entertainment industry colludes to put the vise on independent news voices & threatens to target elected officials who object the way Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh target dissenting GOP politicians, I think we could see a much more difficult struggle than many of you think.

    The old dinosaurs still have a lot of muscle on the bone. Less fat than before, but that’s just made them hungrier … and more dangerous.

  49. Are there Google Adsense ads on his content pages? If not, why not? That’s a simple way of getting Google to pay him.

    On another tack, he would be doing the world a favor if his faux news is only accessible to the brain dead who want to pay for it.

  50. I don’t know why Google would want to include Fox in its newsfeed as news, when what they publish is barely news to begin with. In fact, shouldn’t Google sue Fox for supplying false information?

    The sooner Newcorp’s entire organization is locked away behind paywalls, and off of my screens, the better. (Except for Family Guy and The Simpsons, obviously.)

  51. As much as I agree with Murdoch being a douche and all, could you please research the (non-)relationship between the UN and the WTO a little more before making abstruse statements like this:

    “The WTO’s rules — and Berne — are necessarily subservient to realpolitik, viz., the US gets $1 trillion of economic activity out of fair use, and it’s not going to get rid of it because it makes some UN agency sad (if the UN mattered to the US, the US’d be paying the billions in back-fees it owes).”

    You are getting this fundamentally wrong – and it seems you have missed much of the international debate about the WTO since 1995 as THE means of the US to control international trade. And how you manage to add the UN to this, is unclear, being that the UN does not make any international trade rules at all.

  52. Oh Rupert, Rupert. What would you do without fair use? You wouldn’t be able to run any news! Silly man. Oh and by the way, fair use is flourishing, and it’s standing between copyright and unconstitutionality. (See, we don’t want to give people like you, or anybody really, the absolute right to censor the rest of us with your ownership rights.) Check out what creators are doing with fair use at

  53. National Lampoon once did a biography of Murdoch, based on the premise that on one man could be that evil. Seems there were really seven Ruperts, identical septuplets, numbered Rupert One through Seven. Their father approached them with seven little lumps of chicken shit, and asked them what they saw. “Seven pieces of chicken shit.” “All right, boys,” he said. “Watch this.” He rolled the seven little lumps of shit together into an enormous ball, threw them at the housekeeper’s head, and knocked her down. “There, you see! Individually, like those seven little lumps of shit, you aren’t good for anything. But working together, as one giant ball of shit, nothing will be beyond you.”

  54. What can you say about Rupert Murdoch? He wants to take his dollies and run home because no one actually wants to pay to listen to tabloid news? You might read the headlines on the Enquirer to see if you can read the story about the alien baby found in a cornfield in Iowa, but you won’t pay for that ad rag. The same is true of ALL of Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda networks. If anyone asks him directly he wil admit this. This is the guy who has been avoiding paying his income tax for 57 years and really made out good during the Bush tax Cuts for the wealthy because someone for president that buys a company, bankupts it and leaves is able to be manipulated. Especially if you offer to tell the world any nonsense that he wants them to believe. The scandals that are going to come out as soon as this guy dies are like an avalanche waiting for a warm spell. Now doing business in the United States for the last 57 years is not exactly an enormous feat. Doing without ever paying your fair share of income tax is the feat. He picks pressidents who are corrupt and will allow him to continue to exploit the American public and makes a negotiation. He then launches a propaganda campaign that would make Joseph Goebbels envious and even in awe of Murdoch. He was a success from the beginning. When Rupert was 22, his father died, prompting his return from Oxford to take charge of the family business; becoming managing director of News Limited in 1953. He has been producing limited news since then. His idea of news is entertainment that influences you without the need for honesty, ethics, or integrity. This is the guy who says someone owes him more money or he will leave. We could only hope. I have been waiting for the day that something got rid of him, and I am hoping we finally found it. If you don’t pay the old felon he will leave. I wish to thank whoever figured that out.

  55. Gee, all this huffing and puffing from a man who came into the Twin Cities, bought two local tv stations and then outsourced jobs to another state a few years later. All is fair in raping, pillaging and corporate business. As an aside, didn’t Ronald Reagan say or at least imply that corporations could take better care of workers than “big” government? Surprise! They don’t, they can’t and they won’t.

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