Global media mogul Rupert Murdoch has accused Google of stealing from his News Corp. empire, and warned he may block the search engine from accessing its content.
"People who simply just pick up everything and run with it, steal our stories -- we say they steal our stories, they just take them without payment," Murdoch told Sky News in a weekend interview here.
"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."
Speaking specifically about Google, the chairman and chief executive of News Corp. said he was considering banning the search engine from listing his company's content "when we start charging".
News Corp, which owns an enormous number of newspapers around the world including The Australian, the New York Post and The Times of London, is planning to soon charge all its online readers.
The user-pays model is already in place at News Corp's Wall Street Journal, where readers can only access full content as a paying subscriber.
"It costs us a lot of money to put together good newspapers and good content," Murdoch said as he defended the planned move.
Nevertheless, Murdoch said last week that his goal of erecting pay walls around his vast newspaper empire by June could be delayed.
"It's a work in progress and there's a huge amount of work going on not just with our sites but with other people," Murdoch told reporters in the United States.
Asked what was causing the delay, he said: "Everything."
"We are working all very, very hard at this but I wouldn't promise that we're going to meet that date," he said, in reference to his initial June deadline.
In his interview with Sky News, Murdoch also flagged a legal challenge to the "fair use" doctrine, which search engines use as justification for the reproduction of news stories.
However he indicated this challenge would not happen soon, saying: "we'll take that slowly".
(c) 2009 AFP
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