Saturday, August 08, 2009

Gordon in the morning: Enjoy him while he's free

Announcing his plans to charge people for The Sun, Murdoch conceded that he'd have to use heavyweight legal frighteners to stop 'his' stories appearing elsewhere. Has he even read his own papers in the last couple of years?

Sure, Gordon and his team are great at securing stories nobody else has - interviews with Kasabian, set-up stories with minor celebs (which will stop happening when the audience isn't there any more and Uncle Rupert threatens to sue anybody who repeats word of the publicity stunt). But much of Gordon's content relies on recycling other people's exclusives.

Sometimes the recycling is explicit, in the case of this morning's topless Sharon Stone photos, bought-in from Paris Match (Gordon now apparently completely over that outrage that celebrities might remove their clothes for attention, then).

More often, it's not - like the other day when Smart lifted a chunk of City Life's interview with Ian Brown without mentioning its source. This more humdrum role of Bizarre - an aggregator of other people's news - led to this in this week's Holy Moly mailout:

Bit off-topic, but quite pertinent.

Rupert Murdoch has announced that he is going to start charging for his stable's online news services (Sun, News of the World, Times etc) and has accepted that there "could be a need for furious litigation to prevent stories and photographs being copied elsewhere". This will undoubtedly be a success, and will see others follow suit (the Daily Mail would salivate at the thought of being able to charge for its annoyingly good showbiz section).

This is all well and good (I make no bones about the fact that I usually take Gordon Smart's lead on the biggest story of the day and run it on HM), but let's hope the respect of copyright and content ownership is reciprocal. Will these papers return the favour and put an end to ripping stories from UK and US celebrity blogs and running them as their own without the merest hint of a link or credit back to the originators?

It works both ways, Rupert - and you have the deepest pockets in the world. x

It does raise a fascinating question - if Gordon's bulging archive goes behind a turnstile, will The Sun have to spend a fortune weeding out the - ahem - borrowed material?

Still, kudos to Rupert - he really did manage to distract everyone's attention from that pesky £2billion loss, didn't he?