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Could Newspapers Charge For Linking To Their Stories?

The National Newspapers of Ireland group believes that content should require licenses when it is used for commercial purposes.

Emma Hutchings
Emma Hutchings on January 7, 2013.

More and more newspapers are turning to paywalls to help with falling revenue, but what about charging for linking to content? The National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) group wants to charge licensing fees when it’s content is linked to. This raises questions about who owns content on the web and what ‘original’ content is if it’s circulated by numerous publications.

The NNI, which represents 16 national daily, Sunday and weekly newspapers and 25 local and regional newspapers, has stated it’s view that “the display and transmission of links does constitute an infringement of copyright.” It doesn’t object to newspaper content being used by others for personal use but believes a license is required when it is used by another party for commercial purposes.

Is Linking To A Newspaper Copyright Infringement?

Hugh Linehan, online editor of NNI member The Irish Times, has responded by saying that he encourages linking:

We recognise that linking is the lifeblood of the online world and we encourage our digital community to share links as widely as possible. Therefore, The Irish Times does not see links as copyrightable and will not attempt to impose any restrictions on the posting elsewhere on the Internet of mere URLs that refer to its content. We have no problem at all with anybody linking directly to our articles. However, The Irish Times takes issue with automated ‘scraping’, summarisation, and aggregation, of its content.

NNI

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