News Corp may hide sites from search engines after paywall is erected

LONDON - Rupert Murdoch has said that once News Corp starts charging for access to its online newspapers, it will block search engines such as Google from adding its content to their search results.

Murdoch made the comments in an interview given to Sky News Australia, which is partly owned by News Corporation, which also owns The Sun, The Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The interviewer asked Murdoch if he viewed Google as stealing content, why the company didn't simply block access to the search engine. Murdoch replied: "I think we will. But that's when we start charging."

Earlier he had questioned the value of visitors to websites delivered by search engines, saying that they did not become loyal readers by clicking on one of their headlines in a news headline aggregator.

He said: "There's not enough ad revenue in the world to make all the websites profitable. We'd rather have fewer people coming to our websites but paying."

Many argue that Murdoch's determination to make people pay for content will simply mean that people will look elsewhere for news, but he hinted in the interview that News Corp could challenge the doctrine of fair use, which allows copyrighted material to be reproduced without permission under certain circumstances, saying it "could be challenged in the courts".

Last week Murdoch said that there would likely be a delay in News Corp switching over to the paid-for model.

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