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Newspapers will die out by 2040, says UN expert

Newspapers will disappear and be replaced by digital versions by 2040, the head of the United Nations’ intellectual property agency has told a Swiss newspaper.

Francis Gurry, who heads the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo), told La Tribune de Genève that “in a few years, there will no longer be printed newspapers as we know them today”.

“It’s an evolution – it’s neither good nor bad – there are studies showing that [newspapers] will disappear by 2040. In the United States by 2017,” he said.

Gurry noted that in the US there were already more digital copies sold than paper copies of newspapers. In cities, there were also fewer bookshops.

A key problem is the revenue system, he said.

“How can editors find revenues to pay those who write these articles?” Gurry asked, noting that “the copyright system must be safeguarded as a mechanism to pay these writers”.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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