By Charlotte Tobit, PressGazette, July 27

The number of cloned and ripped-off news articles successfully taken down from “pretty sophisticated fake sites” on behalf of UK publishers more than doubled in 2021 compared to the year before.

Content licensing organisation NLA Media Access got more than 50,000 articles removed from 1,000 fake or illegitimate news sites in 2021.

That was up from about 20,000 articles from more than 700 sources the year before.

Matt Aspinall, head of publisher services at NLA, told Press Gazette: “That could be anyone from a blogger that’s just a bit naive and doesn’t really understand that you can’t just rip news content.

“It could be someone that knows exactly what they’re doing. And it could be a URL or something. It could be something like London… trying to create a fake news site. All the way to these kinds of cloned businesses.”

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