Microsoft: Not all information can be free

In a speech in London, Microsoft's top intellectual property strategy counsel argues for the need of a model in which content creators are better compensated.

A top Microsoft lawyer made the case on Thursday that sites like Google News are making money while the folks creating that digital content aren't able to make a living.

Google News, said Thomas C. Rubin, makes $100 million a year, while the newspapers that power its content are having to cut staff in record numbers.

"Clearly this can't be the future for publishing," Rubin said, according to his prepared remarks delivered to the UK Association of Online Publishers. Rubin is Microsoft's chief counsel for intellectual property strategy.

It's somewhat curious though, since Microsoft essentially uses the same model with its MSNBC Newsbot. It just wasn't anywhere near as successful.

I'm all for a model that better compensates journalists and their employers for their work. I actually thought Microsoft was working on just such a model some time ago. But the longer I wait, the more journalism jobs get lost (not to mention the pain for other content creators, including musicians).

If Microsoft plans to save the publishing industry with a better business model online, it had better hurry.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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