Posted by boghound on January 9th, 2013
Ireland Made Linking to News Illegal
From now on, publishing a link to a news article from Ireland might appear an expensive business for some. Recently, a group of Irish newspapers have taken a decision that the way to make money from the Internet is to charge anyone who links to their news stories.
According to the National Newspapers of Ireland group, they have adopted a new licensing scheme which requires the websites to pay if they want to link to one of its members. The group has already been sending out notices demanding payment and called everyone who legitimately linked to their news a pirate.
Thus far they have written to Women’s Aid, since the latter had linked to articles in newspapers having positive stories about their fundraising efforts. Now the current fine is €100 for a link, and the group of fifteen newspapers believes that mentioning an article online is copyright violation.
In other words, the plan is that Irish newspapers want to get paid for getting their member websites more traffic. However, there’s no case law to back this up, but there’s a lot of EU case law which proves that there needs to be legislation to get anything remotely like this.
As for publishers, they have so far been targeting Google for its use of news stories in search results. However, it looks like the National Newspapers of Ireland group isn’t interested in taking on Google, but rather interested in demanding money from blog owners.
In Belgium, after Google lost the court case, the company had to comply with the court order to delist the newspapers from the search results. And the newspapers’ sites lost much of traffic and money. Even after that, the Irish newspaper group doesn’t seem to realize that a link is free advertising for the company which runs a web page itself.