FTC Backpedals on Newspaper Rescue Plan

It looks like the folks at the top of the Federal Trade Commission are distancing themselves from the fairly controversial proposal to save the newspaper industry – if the Wall Street Journal is to be believed. The “working paper on reinventing the media” was released on May 24 and widely criticized by most everyone as ludicrous. The report looked at ways to save the newspaper industry by charging fees to news aggregator sites that source newspapers, and taxes on electronics like iPads, laptops and Kindles. Money collected from these and other methods would then be redistributed to traditional media outlets.

So how is the FTC distancing itself from the plan? From the top down. No doubt after seeing a Rasmussen poll that showed a majority of Americans loathed such a plan, the FTC’s top man has backpedaled as if he had nothing to do with it at all. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Wednesday, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz called the plan to tax devices “a terrible idea.” But tax aside, it seem that the FTCV has not abandoned the idea altogether.

This method is was what lawmakers call a “trial balloon,” where a government agency that does not answer to voters does the dirty work, pushing forward ideas that everyone knows will be controversial.

Leibowitz has an interesting past which may explain his feelings on news aggregators: he’s a former vice president of the Motion Picture Association of America. His views about this part of the bill are public knowledge – late last year at a workshop he noted that online news readers get a “free ride instead of paying the full value – or in fact paying anything – for what they’re consuming.”

Source: WSJ

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  1. 0
    thesillyoldbear says:

     Everyone here is correct to a degree, it really comes down to where the news is sourced from. If an online news site gets their news from a wire service, they pay a subscription, we then view ads which pays for that subscription, therefore we have paid for the news.

    It’s when the news comes from papers or other news sources that it gets less clear. If a blogger sees a news item on a major news source’s website, quotes that article, adds their own opinion and links back to the the original source, have they ‘stolen’ that article? Some/most bloggers would argue no, as the source was attributed and linked, most publications or networks would argue yes, as the blogger used that article to generate revenue at no cost to themselves.

    That being said one could argue that a great amount of material from major news publications or networks supplemental sections is actually sourced from online consumer media, eg the majority of a papers tech supplemental will come from either media releases or from investigation undertaken from online consumer media sources such as Wired, Engadget or Gizmodo.

    Essentially what it comes down to is that both sides need to work at being more transparent about where their information comes from and appropriately crediting their sources.

  2. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I’m not making a comparison.  I’m giving examples that disprove the assertion that we pay nothing for the news we consume online.


    Andrew Eisen

  3. 0
    King of Fiji says:

    "Advertisers are counting on your feeble meat brain from being unable to ignore an ad you saw for a microsecond."

    If my feeble meat brain can’t take the time to do research before buying a product because I saw an ad then my feeble meat brain deserves the Ted Kennedy experience because that is total idiotcy.

     Plus if the ad is truely annoying then its a good thing I took the time to watch it as I won’t buy anything from that company at all.  (Looking at you Tag Body Spray)

  4. 0
    King of Fiji says:

    "Not reading an ad =/= not seeing the ad at all."

    Oh no my feeble human brain is too weak to simply ignore a ad even if it only sees the ad for a microsecond.  Whatever shall I do?  

    And don’t get me wrong I get most of my news online its just personaly I find online ads and naming rights to sport and concert venues ten times more annoying than newspaper ads.  

  5. 0
    King of Fiji says:

    "Yeah, but unlike with newspapers, we can easily block them. Though of course newspaper ads don’t have the potential to damage your property."

    Silly rabbit we can also block out ads in newspapers.  Its called not reading the ads. 

  6. 0

    Yeah, but unlike with newspapers, we can easily block them. Though of course newspaper ads don’t have the potential to damage your property.

  7. 0
    Spartan says:

    No one from the RIAA or the MPAA or other similar organizations has any business in government in my not so humble opinion. This is especially so in arms that that have control or influence over the area they came from.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  8. 0
    Monte says:

     I don’t think that comparison holds… like you said the money you pay for internet service does not go to the news, furthermore you pay for your internet for many other reasons than just newspaper… as for Ads, newspapers aswell have plenty of ads so that’s nothing new at all… the only thing that holds up are supscricption websites, but only very few sites that source newspapers actually do that. 

    frankly i think i could agree with the part of the FTC’s plan that thinks that news sites should pay more to the newspapers they source… afterall the newspapers are the ones doing all the leg work to get those stories and at the very least deserve compensation for that. The part that i didn’t like was the tax of irrelevant devices… 

  9. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "…late last year at a workshop he noted that online news readers get a "free ride instead of paying the full value – or in fact paying anything – for what they’re consuming."

    Not true.  We pay for our internet service (granted, that money doesn’t go to the websites we visit).  We put up with ads.  We pay subscriptions for the sites that require it (like the Wall Street Journal).


    Andrew Eisen

  10. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Wow, could this article be anymore loaded with emotional bias? Where do those journalists come from, seriously? It’s an editorial presented as an article. Worst is, while I still agree with the emotions conveyed, I still feel aggressed by them. Oh Dennis, where are thou…

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