UK Newspaper Agency Wants To Regulate, Charge For Linking Privileges

from the hello,-let-me-explain-to-you-the-web dept

Every time you think that we'd reach that point in our internet evolution that people knew better than to think they could "regulate" or charge people for the privilege of linking to them, you find out otherwise. Jeff Jarvis points us to the rather amusing news that the Newspaper Licensing Agency in the UK, which currently licenses things like clippings and reprints of newspaper articles, has now declared that it also controls the right to link to newspaper sources, if done for commercial purposes. So, for example, PR services that used to send out clippings, but now just send out links to online sources will soon have to pay up, according to the agency. This is quite an interesting interpretation of how the web works, to claim some sort of extended right to how one can use a link to your site. It's basically saying "to hell with the way the web works -- and has always worked from its earliest days -- we want to pretend that things are the same as they used to be." It is, in so many ways, the equivalent of demanding that all automobiles only be driven with men waving red flags walking slowly in front of them. Good luck, Newspaper Licensing Agency, in convincing the world to pretend the web doesn't work the way it has always worked.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    A change of heart.

    The Discovery channel aired a show about canal boats in Great Britain, and how they're gaining popularity. Some residents now call them home.

    I had once thought to myself, "Wow, that's nice. Maybe I'll retire there."

    Forget that. By the time I'm ready to retire, the UK will have no doubt passed more ridiculous laws, requires all its citizens to wear mobile cameras, and the internet will be non-existent.

    Guess I'll look elsewhere to retire.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Hayden Frost, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    http://tapthehive.com

    This is up there with the labels/studios who bitch when Google yanks stuff from youtube instead of paying ridiculous royalty demands.

    The code to prevent unlicensed sites from linking to your content is something any drunk CS sophomore in college could write in a few hours. Anyone who hasn't paid for the privilege to link in would send their visitors to a paywall or the front page of the site. But everyone knows that forwarding users to a paywall or even just the front page is suicide. File these demands under "Hot Air."

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Man, what's in the air over there in Britain? Is everyone over there as backwards-assed as people in the South over here in the States?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    UK Newspaper Agency: "I'll stop you from linking to me!"
    Random Website: "...ok kinda confusing but ok."
    UK Newspaper Agency: "pay me money so you can link to me!"
    Random Website: "errr... no I can go link to someone else."
    UK Newspaper Agency: "but you need me!"
    Random Website: "uhh... not at all..."
    UK Newspaper Agency: "...give me money!"
    Random Website: "I'm hanging up the phone now..."

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    There is only one reliable way to prevent people from linking to your content without consent.

    Do not post it online.

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Lets watch as Free Beats Paid ....

    "(The CIPR states that this will apply to "almost all newspaper websites excluding News International titles and the Financial Times".)"

    Take Gun Shoot Foot..... Watch paying clients leave

     

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  7.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    Phone numbers

    Will they also charge for phone numbers and addresses?

     

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  8.  
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    JackSombra (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

    Well what do you expect from a group that is owned and controled by the newspaper groups?

    They are basicly the UK version of the newspaper industry's RIAA, but with a more narrow focus, selling useage rights to clippings of articles.

    Considering how much revenue (or more case how little, 20 million divided between 1400 members is chicken feed) they generate they are probably getting worried that newspapers will dump them so they are trying to improve their bottom line.

    But immaterial anyway, if ever went to court they would most likely lose, especially as they are a private org (just like the RIAA), not a Gov. one that can actually make real laws and regulations

    Just because i say anyone who links to me must pay me $10 does not actually make it law...though if you want to i will be quite happy to accept the money

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    The UK has a license for to:
    listen to a radio in public
    listen to a radio on private
    own a tv
    watch a tv
    own a computer
    use a computer
    et.

    Why should any one be surprised that there is a license fee for web links.

     

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  10.  
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    Dan, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Good way to destroy your search ranking. Complete opposite of SEO.

     

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  11.  
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    Simon (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    So...

    ...you supply a link to a URL shortening service instead and let them worry about it?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    Not really - you let google in, let it index, and then block everyone else with EXCEPTIONS for referal from certain sites. It won't be 100% secure, but you can route all that referal traffic to the front page instead and make money there.

    It's not an unusual move, just presented by Mike in a manner that makes it sound odd. HTACCESS isn't really a mystery.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    Err...I guess you don't come from here!

    Nope, we don't have licences for
    Listening to a radio in either public or private places, though sometimes certain organisations like to think we should
    There is one licence to own & watch a TV
    And god, although I wish there was one (since it'd keep all the jackasses offline), there is no licence to own or use a computer!

     

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  14.  
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    zcat (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    Re: http://tapthehive.com

    "any drunk CS sophomore in college could write in a few hours."

    He'd have to be practically paralytic to take two hours; its a three-line entry in .htaccess.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Uh, Google's algorithms rely heavily on linking to rank sites, namely that having a good number of "highly ranked" sites linking to yours boosts your credibility and relevance to a search subject.

    By killing off links to your site you're basically killing off your ranking in Google searches.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not really - look at how good Mike does self-linking like crazy.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    DoH, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That does not work.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It does to a certain extent. It is especially effective when you posts are syndicated elsewhere, or pick up by other websites with the links intact. Plenty of extra links, plus you can guide the bots to some extent with it - plus of course it re-enforces certain keywords and phrases. It's one of the reasons techdirt scores so well on phrases like torrents and RIAA.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It does to a certain extent. It is especially effective when you posts are syndicated elsewhere, or pick up by other websites with the links intact. Plenty of extra links, plus you can guide the bots to some extent with it - plus of course it re-enforces certain keywords and phrases.

    You just love to look for conspiracies everywhere, don't you? Is your life really so boring?

    The reason we link back to ourselves -- as has been pointed out to you in the past though you love to ignore it -- is so that we don't necessarily have to provide all the backstory all over again, and can keep most posts relatively short. Also, if we link back to ourselves, we know those links will remain good.

    Most people appreciate that. Trolls, apparently, do not.

    Either way, the point is wrong. Claiming that because the content is syndicated it helps us on search engines is actually incorrect. First, we don't officially syndicate it anywhere. Most of the sites that repeat our content are spam/scraper sites (like yours!) which have dreadful page rank. In fact, we've been told by SEO people that such sites will often *drag down* the page rank of the originator site, though I have no clue if that's true.

    It's one of the reasons techdirt scores so well on phrases like torrents and RIAA.

    Hmm. Fascinating. I never checked to see how well we "scored" on either. Torrents... I just went through the first 300 results in Google and... nothing. RIAA? Looks like we're currently the 38th result. That's 4 pages down.

    If this is some sort of SEO trick, we're doing a pretty shitty job.

    Dude, here's a hint: if you're going to make ridiculously laughably wrong accusations against us, you should avoid ones that are easily checked.

    It truly amazes me sometimes that you have nothing better to do than show up here each day and make up stuff that makes you look like a complete fool. No wonder you stopped posting under your "assumed name." Someone might actually figure out who you are.

     

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  20.  
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    Pete Austin, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 5:37am

    Simon is correct: Use a URL shortening service instead. Problem solved.

     

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  21.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hola, Senior Harold.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Uh, Google's algorithms rely heavily on linking to rank sites, namely that having a good number of "highly ranked" sites linking to yours boosts your credibility and relevance to a search subject.

    By killing off links to your site you're basically killing off your ranking in Google searches."

    Well, according to some people, Google is just a vampire anyway, so good for them. They obviously don't want to be ranked highly. So do it. Kill off your ranking. Dooo it. Dooooo iiiiiiit.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    baig, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 12:38am

    WHAT NEXT

    www.captomerzebshaheed.com

    WHAT AFTER CAPT. OMERZEB SHAHEED’S BLOOD
    WHAT ARE OUR SOLDIERS DYING FOR
    Capt Omerzeb Afzal Baig met shahadet on 21st May 2009 in area Lower Dir during the Army operation Rah-e-Rast. He laid down his prime youth for the greater cause of his motherland. With him are many more brave sons of the soil who one after the other are following the cause – to thwart the evil design of our enemies both from within and in the garb of our friends who are against the very existence of our country. The nation, more so the media is projecting their supreme sacrifices by showing their state burials, interviews of mourning parents and relatives and their youth emanating photographs.
    But, is this all ? The blood of these shaheeds is asking the nation, the leaders, the intelligentsia, the decision makers “ WHAT NEXT TO OUR BLOOD”. Will their shining blood get mixed with the matti and be so, OR their blood will prove manure to the thirsty land looking for selfless and mother like sincere leaders. Will their blood bring life to this sleeping nation to stand up all together against the seen and unseen enemies who are bent upon disintegrating the nation which our Quaid and his comrades got us after innumerable sacrifices? They need to be answered by those who matter, by those who are showing their oral love for this country day in and day out on media, by those who are mere rhetoric and going at tangent to the current strategy of the government.
    Let us not make Rah-e-Rast another episode of a great drama, which the nation runs every few years, the last being Kargil. Who remembers the Kargil Shaheeds ? How many were they? What cause did they shed their blood? What has come out of their sacrifices? Let this one be not another such venture. Let us not forget that if blood of these shaheeds also goes past our realizations, there will no chest forward in future to blunt the onslaught of our enemies whether within or external. Let us stand to the realism and not be fast asleep saying all is well. Let us unite all and sundry, evolve long term strategy cognizing short term goals in the best interest of our dearest homeland, since if it is there, we have our recognition both individual and collective otherwise India has much more Muslims than our total population. Let the honor and dignity of our country be much above our egos. Let we be more united and pragmatic rather than oratorical. Let us be thinking of oneness of our country rather than our communities, sects and districts because all this is dovetailed to Pakistan. Let justice and merit prevail in its true sense.
    The young leaders like Capt Omerzeb shaheed and many have taken the lead, have shown us the way – the path, it is now the leaders at decision making hierarchy to give their bid and show vision, sincerity, strength of character and commitment towards their motherland, and if they do so, I assure you the national virtuosity will be an automatic fall out.

    Long Live Pakistan

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    tim, Jun 28th, 2009 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    oh snap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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