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Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

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Friday, October 9th, 2009

AP’s Curley v Curley and News Corp’s Rupert v Rupert

Posted by Kevin Anderson

The newspaper industry has woken from its slumber, and they have realised the enemy is not the internet. The enemy is actually you and me, those of us who use the internet. According to the CEO of the Associated Press Tom Curley, “third parties are exploiting AP content without input and permission”, and:

Crowd-sourcing Web services such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Facebook have become preferred customer destinations for breaking news, displacing Web sites of traditional news publishers.

I’m linking to this on one of these third parties sites, Google News, which has a commercial hosting agreement with the AP. Those bloody paying parasites!

Curley was speaking at the World Media Summit in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Does Curley know who added those links to Wikipedia, shared those stories on Facebook or uploaded those videos to YouTube? Internet users, you, me and millions of others around the world. For Mr Curley, the internet is a “den of thieves“, says Jeff Jarvis.

Jeff offers his argument against this view of the world. However, I’d like to stage another bit of a debate, one possible through the virtual time travel of the internet. Let’s get ready to rumble! In this corner, we have the Curley of 2009, who argues:

We content creators must quickly and decisively act to take back control of our content.

With that jab, a slightly younger, slightly more optimistic Curley of 2004 lands a right hook: “The future of news is online, and traditional media outlets must learn to tailor their products for consumers who demand instant, personalized information.” The Curley of 2004 instead sees this future from his own past:

the content comes to you; you don’t have to come to the content so, get ready for everything to be ‘Googled,’ ‘deep-linked’ or ‘Tivo-ized’.

Ouch Tom 2009, that looks like it hurts. Next up in our virtual cage match is a spry 78-year-old, Rupert Murdoch! Let’s start with the Rupert of 2009:

The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid content, it will be the content creators — the people in this hall — who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph.

Fighting back is the fighting fit Rupert “The Digital Immigrant” Murdoch of 2005:

Scarcely a day goes by without some claim that new technologies are fast writing newsprint’s obituary. Yet, as an industry, many of us have been remarkably, unaccountably complacent. Certainly, I didn’t do as much as I should have after all the excitement of the late 1990’s. I suspect many of you in this room did the same, quietly hoping that this thing called the digital revolution would just limp along.

It’s a shame to see this come to blows. These guys should really talk to each other. With Rupert 2009 on the ropes, Rupert 2005 delivers this shot:

What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel.

Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them.

They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.

Ouch. Can’t you guys make up your mind? Has the Great Recession changed consumer internet behaviour and media consumption trends? Or did the industry’s complacency finally catch up with it?

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3 Responses to “AP’s Curley v Curley and News Corp’s Rupert v Rupert”

  1. You Can Ignore The AP’s Bluster. It Is Just A Negotiating Bluff. Says:

    [...] funny. Both Curley and Murdoch were singing different tunes just a few years ago. But they have different agendas [...]

  2. richard hart Says:

    I am amazed that in all these discussions about how to pay for the journalism (good and bad) that a century of monopoly and near-monopoly newspapers created (thanks to a unique, lucky and dying set of printing-advertising-transportation circumstances), no one has pointed out one key fact: I pay about $100 a year for a newspaper subscription, and around $400 a year for the privilege of reading a few newspapers and blogs for free on the Internets. It is a rule of thumb in the newspaper business that the cost of a subscription is only about enough to pay for printing and distribution. On the Web, those costs are vastly reduced–but distribution is the only thing we’re paying for, and we’re paying more, at that. As a result, the ISPs are able to make huge amounts of money on the backs of free content. Why shouldn’t they be paying the content providers who make their services so attractive? Given the advanced (and advancing) state of data collected about Web users, how hard would it be to either set a fixed rate or calculate a rate for them to pay back to content providers (even bloggers!) based on usage to pay for maintaining the Baghdad bureau or sending someone to a City Council meeting? (I remember reading a Brookings posting suggesting this a while back, but now can’t find it.) Maybe it raises ISP costs by $5 a month. Or $10. Maybe nothing. I don’t know. But I’m baffled why micropayments, not payments from ISPs to content providers, have become the central part of the discussion. How have the giant telecoms managed to keep themselves out of this conversation? Maybe there’s an obvious reason this isn’t being considered, but I can’t think of it

  3. Suw Charman-Anderson Says:

    Richard, that’s the same argument that the music industry has been using, saying that ISPs should charge a levy and then give that money back to the artists (a process that the industry would look after, natch). The argument doesn’t hold water for them, and it doesn’t hold water for the news industry either.

    ISPs are basically a dumb (ish) service - they provide access to the internet and have no real interest what goes on after that, so long as you don’t pound their bandwidth or do anything naughty. (That’s where the ‘ish’ comes from - they have to have some idea of type of traffic so they can ensure that the connections work even if someone’s abusing them.) They are not responsible for what websites you go to, so there’s no case to answer that they are somehow responsible for the fact that you choose to read some free content produced by the news industry.

    It’s also not the case that ISPs are making “huge amounts of money”. Certainly the ISPs that I’ve spoken to regarding the music industry’s version of this idea have laughed at the concept that they have such a cushy deal going on. But even if they were, the content industries have no right to ask for a slice of the pie.

    ISPs provide access to a lot more than just content created by formal businesses, such as the news, music or film industries. They also provide access to Wikipedia, this blog, and a gazillion other websites created by individuals, businesses and charities. If the ISPs “owe” the news industry, then they also owe the music and film industries, and they also owe me and Wikipedia and everyone else who has put content on the internet.

    Furthermore, if the idea that the news industries should get a cut of the ISPs’ income because the ISPs allow access to content, then it also follows that the ISPs should get a cut of the news industry’s income, because after all, news sites are providing content like video that is bandwidth-heavy and shouldn’t they pay up for clogging the pipes?

    I’m afraid that’s a nonsense.

    Now, there are a whole raft of other practical arguments why such a levy would not work, but to argue those would be to presuppose that there is some logic to the idea in the first place.