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Murdoch could remove his sites from Google’s index

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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has said in an interview with Sky News Australia that newspapers within his empire – including the Sun, Times and Wall Street Journal – could block Google searches entirely once they had enacted plans to charge people for reading their stories on the web.

In the last few months, Murdoch has got into a war of words with Google, accusing the search giant of “kleptomania” and being a “parasite” for including bits of articles from Murdoch’s news websites in its free Google News service. According to the Guardian, when Murdoch was asked why they hadn’t simply opted to remove their websites from Google’s search indexes, he said it is on the cards.

“I think we will, but that’s when we start charging,” he said. “We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story – but if you’re not a paying subscriber to WSJ.com all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form.”

Murdoch also added that he did not agree that search engines fell under “fair use” rules – something which many websites like Google News use as their legal justification for displaying excerpts of a story.

“There’s a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether… but we’ll take that slowly.”

In the TV interview, the 78 year-old made his feelings towards services such as Google News by naming a short list of companies he felt were overstepping the mark.

“The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it – steal our stories, we say they steal our stories – they just take them. That’s Google, that’s Microsoft, that’s Ask.com, a whole lot of people… they shouldn’t have had it free all the time, and I think we’ve been asleep.”

During the summer, Murdoch announced plans to introduce website charge by next year, although it emerged last week that the plans had been delayed, with the media mogul saying, “I wouldn’t promise that we’re going to meet that date.”

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