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2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web

category national | arts and media | other press author Thursday January 03, 2013 20:44author by anon Report this post to the editors

Irish newspaper industry trying to copyright web-links

There is a currently a very interesting and frightening case being fought by a Solicitor firm in Dublin against agents for the Irish newspaper industry. Basically the newspaper industry is trying to charge for websites and blogs and all the rest for posting links to any of their articles in their newspapers. They have already done the groundwork in their submission to the Copyright Review Committee in July 2012 those 15 newspapers asserted baldly

“It is the view of NNI that a link to copyright material does constitute infringement of copyright”. (Section 7 National Newspapers of Ireland Further Submission to the Copyright Review Committee)


The attitudes on display here by the newspaper industry to the rest of us are a reminder of the boldness and hubris of the developers and bankers have to the functioning of this country. There is an extraordinary case being taken by McGarr solicitors to defend Womens Aid against the newspaper industry in Ireland who are demanding payment for links made from the Womens Aid website to articles in the newspaper.

But this has not just come out of the blue because these guys have already being doing the groundwork and have been busy lobbying the Copyright Review Committee. Presumably they have looked across the water to the USA where it is now the norm for corporations to dictate and set policy in all manner of "regulations" from copyright to patents to drug and food safety and so on.

Here's some choice parts from the article posted on McGarrs solicitor website.

This year the Irish newspaper industry asserted, first tentatively and then without any equivocation, that links -just bare links like this one- belonged to them. They said that they had the right to be paid to be linked to. They said they had the right to set the rates for those links, as they had set rates in the past for other forms of licensing of their intellectual property. And then they started a campaign to lobby for unauthorised linking to be outlawed.

These assertions were not merely academic positions. The Newspaper Industry (all these newspapers) had its agent write out demanding money. They wrote to Women’s Aid, (amongst others) who became our clients when they received letters, emails and phone calls asserting that they needed to buy a licence because they had linked to articles in newspapers carrying positive stories about their fundraising efforts.
These are the prices for linking they were supplied with:

1 – 5 €300.00
6 – 10 €500.00
11 – 15 €700.00
16 – 25 €950.00
26 – 50 €1,350.00
50 + Negotiable

They were quite clear in their demands. They told Women’s Aid “a licence is required to link directly to an online article even without uploading any of the content directly onto your own website.”

Recap: The Newspapers’ agent demanded an annual payment from a women’s domestic violence charity because they said they owned copyright in a link to the newspapers’ public website.

Women’s Aid received their demand from Newspaper Licensing Ireland Ltd (NLI), a collection agent for the Newspaper publishers. Here’s what that agent has to say about the status of links to newspaper websites:

“It is the view of NLI that a link to copyright material does constitute infringement of copyright”
(Page 5, Newspaper Licensing Ireland Ltd Further Submission to the Copyright Review Committee)

See also:
“It is the view of NNI that a link to copyright material does constitute infringement of copyright”.
Section 7 National Newspapers of Ireland Further Submission to the Copyright Review Committee

“It is the view of NLI that a link to copyright material does constitute infringement of copyright”
(Page 5, Newspaper Licensing Ireland Ltd Further Submission to the Copyright Review Committee)

It is worth noting that The National Newspapers of Ireland is the representative body for Irish Newspaper Publishers. The 15 member titles in the NNI are

Irish Independent
Irish Examiner
The Irish Times
Irish Daily Star
Evening Herald
The Sunday Independent
Sunday World
The Sunday Business Post
Irish Mail on Sunday
Irish Farmers Journal
Irish Daily Mail
Irish Daily Mirror
Irish Sun
Irish Sunday Mirror
The Sunday Times
Irish Sun Sunday

Full text at the link below

Related Link: http://www.mcgarrsolicitors.ie/2012/12/30/2012-the-year...-web/
author by Tpublication date Thu Jan 03, 2013 22:18Report this post to the editors

In the article above there is a link to a submission made by National Newspapers Ireland to the Copyright Review Commission -in order words they are trying to change the law and will probably succeed because big companies always have their way over the people.

Anyhow in the wording they refer to a success in the UK where the govt there is totally in the pocket of big business.

The wording from Section 7 is:

It is the view of NNI that a link to copyright material does constitute infringement of copyright, and would be so found by the Courts. In particular the Committee should have regard to the recent decision of the UK Court of Appeal (Civil Division) in the case of the Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited and Others v Meltwater Holding BV and Others wherein it upheld the findings of the High Court which findings included:

- that headlines are capable of being independent literary works and so copying just a headline can infringe copyright:
- that text extracts (headline plus opening sentence plus “hit” sentence) can be substantial enough to benefit from copyright protection;

author by Tpublication date Fri Jan 11, 2013 21:22Report this post to the editors

Just found this link from Electronic Frontier Foundation where they have picked up on the above story and they have been doing their work as it turns out that German newspapers have been trying to change the law there since 2009 and have restarted the efforts last year.

And back in 2006 Belgian newspapers tried to sue Google News for carrying links to their newspapers as did French newspapers try the same in Sept 2012.

Here is how the EFF describe it in their report:

Expanding copyright to allow rent seeking for linking would break the fabric of the Internet. Links and citations to articles do not infringe copyright, as links do not copy, distribute, or perform any copyrighted work. Despite some desperate assertions of the contrary, copyright protection of links is not enshrined in law. Newspapers, however, are pushing for legislation to support this dangerous claim, regardless of the implications it would have for free speech.

The Internet has changed the face of journalism by lowering barriers to mass publication and opening avenues for sharing and distributing news. But despite the new opportunities of a democratized media and citizen driven journalism, established journalistic institutions are struggling to adapt to the changing landscape of the news industry. While papers around the world are working to find new ways to make money and compete in the digital world, many experiments with varying subscription models have been so far unsuccessful. Staring down the barrel of vanishing revenues, some newspaper organizations have, for many years, resorted to aggressive enforcement of copyright ownership claims....

See also from 2002: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20020725/1241234.shtml
Linking May Be Illegal In Europe

From 2006:
How Dare Google Send Belgian News Sites Traffic! Court Orders Them To Stop

(From Sept) http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/tech-industry/3379467/f...cles/
French publishers want to charge Google for republishing articles

(From 2006)
Google Ordered To Remove Belgian News

Full text at link below.

Related Link: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/01/european-newspape...ntent
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