Copyright protected or free for all?

As magazines become more digital, ownership and use of their content get more controversial.

A new player has emerged in the tug-of-war between those who generate news and information content, and those who believe they should be free to access and use that content in any way they choose.

The Associated Press and 28 other news organizations have co-invested $30 million in NewsRight, a new venture created to license original news content, collect royalties and detect unauthorized commercial use of original content.  Two years in the making, the for-profit entity uses proprietary software developed by the AP, and it now stands as an independent business with a staff of 11.

NewsRight is designed to target heavy and commercial unauthorized use of copyrighted material.  Its primary mission is to work with digital entities that want to pay for and legally use content from member news organizations.  In addition, NewsRight will track content use not only to detect violations and collect royalties, but also to develop analytics that member news organizations can use in their business plans.

Advocates of digital democracy and a borderless internet may take a jaundiced view of the new venture.  Similar efforts have overreached, attempting to legally and financially browbeat small offenders who never saw any monetary gain.

Back in September, Wooden Horse brought you the story of Righthaven, a company employed by some news organizations to troll the internet in search of copyright infringement, then sue the offenders for monetary damages as a way of creating revenue for the newspapers.  Righthaven went after private individuals indiscriminately, often for small infractions, demanding egregious sums of money.  In the end, the courts ruled against the company and it went out of business.

But NewsRight is built on a more balanced approach, working to protect and monetize the content its news partners paid to create, rather than trying to make money off content through litigation.

Find more information on NewsRight at


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