It was only a matter of time before the newspaper industry, in a last ditch effort for survival, turned to the courts — it’s the sort of Faustian pact that other old media behemoths have submitted to in their dying moments.
Will suing the bejeezus out of outfits like the Huffington Post save the newspaper industry? Sadly, no — at this point, it’s only likely to accelerate bankruptcy for those groups bold enough to try it, as the paltry ad banner revenue would hardly justify the legal expenses.
If the industry had Oracular foresight — or any foresight at all — it might have been able to lay greater claim to the traffic fueled business of excerpting and linking — rather than insulating themselves against any outside content, as once was the case. Now, the industry’s best bet would be to play nice and work more closely with the big aggregators — HuffPo, Drudge, etc — so that traffic flows are more regularized and predictable. In turn, newspapers could focus more on how best to monetize the original work, by way of restructuring articles so more specified information is accessible only via pay wall (or subscription) and augmenting the core offering with multimedia and information curated from the broader web. This approach of ‘bridging’ more and less substantive versions of the same content offers a value proposition to users for following links and, possibly, even paying for what they find at the end.