One of the challenges facing staff at News Corp.’s just-launched The Daily is how to enjoy the marketing advantages of sharing news over the web, without entirely embracing that free-sharing spirit. To achieve that balance, they’ve set up a website that allows for content in the publication to be found on search engines, and be shared on social media sites-but makes it very inconvenient to just browse the content online. That’s because they want people to pay to access the content on the iPad. But Andy Baio, a Los Angeles-based journalist and programmer, has already created an unauthorized online index of The Daily‘s content, just a day after its launch, saying he’s “very curious about the legal implications” of such a project.
Baio’s program simply crawls the site and organizes the available content so that it can be accessed via a table of contents.
Baio isn’t looking for a fight, and says he’ll halt his project if someone from The Daily asks him to. But he did write: “My understanding is that linking to public news articles is unquestionably legal, and I believe that right should never be discouraged.” So far, no one has asked Baio to remove his index, according to a report in the NYT.
It’s clear that Murdoch and The Daily team were envisioning a publication without an easy-to-use web interface. But if they’re confident about their new product-and it sounds like they are-the publishing of Baio’s index is a perfect chance for them to not overreact by calling the lawyers.