We’ve been running a two-part interview with Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) top business and editorial execs, Les Hinton and Robert Thomson, including an emphasis on repurposing content to increase the financial return. The following exchange between Shafqat Islam, CEO of NewsCred.com, and a Dow Jones Europe biz dev exec would have been a jawdropper at any time; reading it in that light, even more so.
When a client expressed an interest in including Dow Jones content on its private site, Islam contacted Dow Jones about licensing fees. The terse reply: “We would not allow our content to be used in this form. Please do not archive, spider, link or otherwise mention or use any content from any Dow Jones International publications on your website. We herby confirm that we do not allow the use of our IP on your site.”
I’m not suggesting Dow Jones had to license the content. It’s the manner of the reply — the instant rejection and the almost-hostile use of legalese. A simple “you’re too small” or “that’s not our policy” or whatever the reason is would have been a good start. Even better would have been a note acknowledging there could be an opportunity here even if this particular instance is not the right fit.
Islam provided the e-mail chain at my request after I saw his tweets about the situation; read the whole thread (identifying info removed) below.
Update: I asked Dow Jones for a comment. Here’s their statement: “Private Equity News, a specialist premium content site created primarily for the UK market, does not license its content to third party Web sites. To be clear, Dow Jones allows and encourages linking to headlines and story summaries on our sites, including Private Equity News, as an introductory gateway to those interested in our valuable and unique content. We are reaching out to the customer directly to clarify.”