75,000 Copycats A Month: Study Reveals Extensive Copying of U.S. Newspaper Content

By: Mark Fitzgerald

In one month, more than 75,000 unlicensed Web sites are re-using content from U.S. newspapers — including 112,000 near-exact copies of articles, a research report released Tuesday claims.

The report from the Fair Syndication Consortium, which includes more than 1,500 publishers, looked at how articles published by 157 U.S. newspapers were re-used on the Internet. The study, conducted by the content tracker Attributor, found that 75,195 Web sites re-used at least one U.S. newspaper article without a license.

In addition to running 112,000 “near-exact” unlicensed copies of articles — defined as publishing more than 80% of the original article and more than 125 words re-used — an additional 163,173 excerpts of articles were found on the sites.

The report also looked at ad placement on Web pages where unlicensed content re-use was present and concluded that Google and Yahoo together account for nearly three-quarters of total unlicensed newspaper content monetization.

“Google represents 53% of the total monetization with Yahoo accounting for 19%,” the report said.

Microsoft, Audience Science, AOL and several other ad networks accounted for the remaining ad placement on the so-called “reusing sites,” the report said.

“The findings of the Fair Syndication Consortium research brief are significant as they prove that there is a large amount of unauthorized U.S. newspaper content reused online, and that reuse is monetized by major ad networks,” said Randy Bennett, the senior of business development for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). “At the NAA, we’re supporting new models for content monetization as we strongly believe that quality content produced by top journalists and news organizations should be compensated.”

The report looked at a 30-day period between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15 of this year.

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