News Corp. chief alleges copyright theft

Rupert Murdoch has ratcheted up the war of words between News Corp. and the BBC, hinting that he would sue the pubcaster for allegedly “stealing” material from his newspapers.

Interviewed on Sky News Australia about how he would be able to make his plan work to charge for all News Corp.-owned news websites when pubcasters like the BBC and ABC provided free news content on their own sites, the News Corp. chairman said, “We are better. And anyway, if you look at them, most of their stuff is stolen from the newspapers now, and we’ll be suing them for copyright.”

He also suggested he would use the law to prevent Google and other search-engine news aggregators from using News Corp. material.

In a far-reaching interview in which he defended the reporting standards of Fox News and said the presidency of Barack Obama was “going badly,” he described the BBC’s conduct as “a scandal.”

“Everybody with a TV set (in the U.K.) is compelled to pay approximately £150 ($252) a year. (The BBC has) $4.6 billion in revenue and will go into any commercial enterprise where they see an opening.

“I think public service broadcasting should be of the highest quality, providing programs and services where commercial broadcasting can’t afford to, where there is a hole.

“I think that’s fine. I don’t mind some taxpayer support for that.”

In August, James Murdoch, CEO of News Corp. in Europe and Asia, launched a withering attack on the BBC at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

He accused the pubcaster of a “chilling” expansion and said its news website activities should be scaled back.

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