A month-long study on the reuse and monetization of U.S. newspaper content, conducted by Attributor, a content tracking business, found that stories from major U.S. newspapers are being copied without permission on the Internet at a disturbing rate.
The research of how 101,000 articles published by 157 newspapers proliferated around the internet found that more than 75,000 different web sites reprinted 112,000 almost exact copies without permission. A further 520,000 articles were reprinted in part.
The practice is obviously siphoning valuable audience and significant revenue away from the original site.
According to the FT, the release of the research coincides with Federal Trade Commission meetings starting on Tuesday in Washington which will explore how the Internet has affected journalism.
An earlier study that Attributor conducted with 25 of the largest US publishers in January estimated that they were missing out on a possible $250 million in revenue. With print journalism continuing to be regarded as a dying profession, these findings will most likely form a critical part of upcoming negotiations between the news industry and online ad networks, which publishers want to use to claw back the advertising revenues being made by unauthorized redistributors.
The findings, notes FT, indicate that publishers are likely to hold search giant Google Inc. (GOOG) and Web Portal Yahoo! (YHOO) responsible for clamping down on the unauthorised use of their content.