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Zell Wants to End Web's Free Ride

Publication Date: 
April 07, 2007
Source: 
Washington Post
Author: 
Frank Ahrens and Karl Vick

The Washington Post reports on Sam Zell's comments about Tribune Co.--and the tension between old and new media--made during a Rock Center for Corporate Governance event at the law school on April 9:

"In conversations before and after a speech Zell delivered Thursday night at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, Calif., the billionaire said newspapers could not economically sustain the practice of allowing their articles, photos and other content to be used free by other Internet news aggregators.

"'If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?' Zell said during the question period after his speech. 'Not very.'

..."Zell was asked whether he regarded the news business as carrying a level of public trust not necessarily found in rail cars or container leasing, prior business ventures of Zell's. He nodded emphatically in agreement.

"'It's a trade-off,' he said. 'Total freedom for the newsroom and total discipline everywhere else in the company.'"