Yet Another Idea To Save Newspapers – This Time from Germany

Publishers everywhere are sure that a paid model for online news is in their future if we want to keep quality journalism alive.  Most do not have a very clear plan of how to go about it, though.  Not so for German publisher Axel Springer.  The idea, according to his head of public affairs, Christoph Keese, is for publishers and Internet companies to work together to form a joint marketplace for  online information.  This is what magazines are doing in setting up their communal kiosk, and really what the whole Ten Balloons project was about, too.  Could it mean the end of rugged individualism?  In any case, the thought is that Internet providers and search engines like Google would direct searchers to content in print or video from a number of outlets, much the way they do now, except that there would be a one-click pay portal for receiving the content.  Or, said Keese, they can subscribe to unlimited plans.  Springer, unlike Rupert Murdoch, feels that working with Google could only be to the benefit of the news organizations, since the search company already has expertise in monetizing content.  This would work for any “commoditized” news. The Times reports that  “to try to improve their leverage, German publishers have lobbied for a new kind of copyright preventing the secondary use of journalistic content online without express permission. The governing coalition headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to enact such a law, though the timing remains unclear.” Many feel that putting new laws into place is time consuming and that aggregation and collaboration is really the way the future is heading. Such a law would put a damper on aggregation, requiring bloggers etc. to purchase site licenses.

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