French Politicians Pushing To Ban Linking To Any Website Without Permission
from the you-fail-at-the-internet dept
Apparently two French Parliament Members are on a mission to ban linking to websites, unless you first have permission. In short, they’re looking to undermine one of the key features of the internet itself.
The idea was proposed but rejected by the Legislative Commission, but it is brought back again. Socialist Karine Berger and Valérie Rabault once again tabled their Amendment #843 to Axelle Lemaire?s Bill for a Digital Republic, which would actually prohibit by default a large quantity of hyperlinks in France.
This device aims at amending the Law for Confidence in the Digital Economy and hold ISP and hosts criminally responsible as soon as they ?allow public access to works or objects protected by the copyright code, including through automated means.?
The amendment states ?users are required to obtain authorization from concerned rights holders?. The two MPs demand that ?such authorization covers actions by users of such services when transmitting to the said users the protected works or objects, in order to allow use as stated in the fist paragraph inasmuch as such users are not acting on professional purposes?.
Now, it’s fairly obvious that you’re dealing with two politicians who think they’re somehow proposing a solution to “piracy” on the internet. But it’s really yet another attempt at punishing Google. Similar to efforts in Germany, Spain and even the European Parliament, very, very shortsighted Google haters think that a way to “punish” Google is to make it pay money to sites that it links to (mainly when it comes to news aggregation). The two French politicians admit flat out that they’re trying to help copyright maximalists:
The amendment is intended to ?protect the creation of authors and define the scope of their rights on hyperlinks?, according to the two MPS? rationale. ?The amendment aims at reinstating protection on these hyperlinks, in favour of the authors and rights holders of the links? target content.?
But linking isn’t and should never be infringement. It’s a reference and it takes you to the original content, which is beneficial. And yet, of course, it all comes back to politicians thinking that just because Google is successful while linking to others’ content, Google must be somehow bad.
?Just look at Google?s referencing procedures: they are based on hyperlinks, and links that lead to copyright-protected works on their publishing site are precisely what allows Google to create any added value whatsoever?, said MP Karine Berger in her plea for the amendment.
?In other words, some commercial Internet operators benefit from the value of some copyright-protected cultural goods and services without ever paying for using them. The amendment, by raising the question as to whom is responsible for collecting value through hyperlinks, aims at overturning jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It is a paramount legal and economic issue.?
Yes, Google creates value for itself in linking to websites. It also creates value for users. And for the websites it links to. That’s why there’s a massive search engine optimization business in which sites purposely try to get ranked better on Google, because sites that are linked from Google get tremendous benefit out of it.
I have a hard time understanding any kind of logic wherein you have a setup in which everyone basically benefits… and a politician still wants to come in and complain because one of the parties in the setup is doing well.