Students, researchers, educators, and others soon could find it harder to get free access to news online, if the desires of a national newspaper association come to fruition: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Google — a company some newspapers blame for helping dig their financial hole — were among the technology companies that have responded to a request by the Newspaper Association of America for proposals on ways to easily charge for news on the web, reports the Associated Press. Randy Bennett, senior vice president of business development for the association, said his group initiated the process after a meeting of publishers in May. Bennett said the trade group wanted to give its members options and will not recommend any single proposal. Google’s proposal might be the most eyebrow raising, if only because the company–which aggregates thousands of articles from media outlets on its news pages–is so closely associated with the freewheeling ethos of an open internet. "Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers," the company writes in its proposal. "However, ‘open’ need not mean free…"

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