Should Sites Be Forced To Pay For Linking? Harvey Weinstein Thinks So.

    February 13, 2013
    Rich Ord
    Comments are off for this post.

Harvey Weinstein, an Oscar winning producer and prolific proponent of Obama, told Deadline that he is going to push for legislation that would force websites to pay for linking to news articles. This legislation would require news websites and blogs to pay a monitoring organization a fee for every link to an article written by a journalist.

Should news sites, bloggers and other sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google pay for the privilege of including snippets and links to news stories? Also, should YouTube or sites that include embedded videos of movie/TV clips pay every time somebody views them?

Give us your thoughts on this important topic that goes to the heart of the internet in the comments below.

Weinstein said, “Journalists don’t benefit when their stories are taken, and given a link. It would be like me launching a newspaper–call it Link—where I can have the greatest journalists in the world working for me without paying them. It’s inconceivable. If BMI and ASCAP can monitor the music business, we need a BMI and an ASCAP to monitor these businesses. This will be the one legislation for our industry that I’ll press.”

This would be part of a broader law that where a monitoring organization would also monitor the web for video clips and require websites like YouTube to pay this organization a fee for each view of a clip of a movie or television show.

As the publisher of WebProNews and a longtime advocate of the right to link, in my opinion Weinstein’s idea would destroy the internet as we know it today. The internet is based on the idea of linking, that’s why it was originally referred to as the World Wide Web! If you make publications, blogs, Google, Twitter and Facebook pay for linking to a news story, how many of them would still do it. The answer is none.

Weinstein may think he’s only talking about making news linking giants like Google News pay, but laws against free linking could not just apply to them. His proposed legislation would also have to apply to Reddit, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter and news publishers and bloggers who routinely republish snippets of news articles with links to the original. Many of these sites also inbed video clips as well.

Weinstein challenges the assertion by publishers that linking and taking small snippets of articles is not stealing content but is actually promoting the content. Weinstein equates linking and publishing as one and the same. Weinstein also told Deadline, “When it comes to journalists and journalism, I’m with you. It is important they get paid for good work, and wrong that others just take it, with a link.”.

Since most articles have numerous social buttons encouraging “sharing” their articles via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you would think it would be obvious to Weinstein that publishers and journalists want their stories to be linked to. The definition of going viral is mass sharing on social media sites which pushes huge numbers of people to a journalist article if he is so lucky. Linking drives traffic to an article which theoretically can then be monitized by the publisher. If the publisher doesn’t want the traffic he can put up a firewall login and charge visitors to read the sites content.

If a news site like Deadline doesn’t want its articles linked to then it shouldn’t publish them on a linking platform called the Web. Weinstein may be surprised to learn that Deadline and most news sites are quite happy that their articles get free traffic driven by links!

Just like the music industry, which has in the past sued the parents of kids who downloaded music without paying for it, Weinstein proposes that those linking to content should also have to pay up. He wants to do it a bit more tactifully than the RIAA, but still wants to collect nonetheless. His idea I presume is to first change the definition of fair use which is permitted per U.S. and many international copyright laws, where a website can take snippets of content and reuse it to a certain extent.

Theoretically, considering Weinstein’s personal connection with Obama, he could persuade the President to tighten this definition via some minor changes in regulations and rules and bypass Congress. The definition of fair use as written in U.S. copyright laws is vague and could easily be redefined via regulation. This is a scary proposition considering that linking and discussing news articles is integral to free speech.

Once fair use is redefined to allow copyright holders the ability to charge websites a retroactive fee for each time a visitor viewed a news summary and link, that’s when a new organization similar to BMI would emerge to ensure that journalists are paid for their work. BMI has people going into businesses, such as bars and restaurants, all around the country looking to see if music is being played without their license. When it catches a business playing unauthorized music it forces them to pay based on a variety of factors such as number of seats in a restaurant and number of songs played.

If a bar doesn’t join BMI and agree to pay a monthly fee up front, then often BMI will sue for huge amounts. For instance, one restaurant in North Carolina was order by a court to pay the BMI $30,450 for playing just four unauthorized songs.

This is what Weinstein wants for publishers and writers of news content! If you are a blogger that makes a small amount of money from ads and you include a snippet from a news article in your story you could be sued if you didn’t already agree to a monthly payment.

For Facebook, Google and Twitter the ramifications of this kind of heavy handed legislation could be huge. They are the YouTube of written content since so many of us share snippets and links via them. If sites like these need to license links with a BMI type organization, it’s likely that they would just eliminate news links and snippets altogether which would change the web forever… don’t you think?

  • AlastairMcK

    Yes, it’s important that the control of information is restored to the hands of a few gatekeepers like Harvey Dinsosaur!

  • http://www.braidwooddesignstudio.com Jay Kay

    Madness and greed will destroy the web, giving lip-service to democracy, removing freedom of speech and choice and there must be a conspiracy to suffocate communication and reduce the net to be a vehicle for authoritarian propaganda, the playground for those who can pay for it.

  • http://occasion-to-be.com walker

    He has it Backwards if anything. It’s the snippets of news story’s that generates traffic to the full article sites. It would cause sites to disabe linking altogether which would greatly reduce the usefulness of the web and lead to pay only news sites restricting people to a few mainstream propaganda sites.

  • http://www.tripletrack3.com/wstaton Wilf Staton

    Well if authors,journos and whatever do not want anyone to see their stuff they should not publish it on the web for everyone to see.

    The fact that they do this is an invitation for people to freely read afterall they usually get to publish their stuff on the internet for free.

    If they do not want anyone to see it freely then put it on a website where to gain admittance one has to pay a fee. Don’t think many people would though.

    To legistrate that anyone should pay that is freely placed on the web for everyone to see is absolute rubbish.

  • http://www.elsonconsulting.co.uk Elson Consulting

    He has a point, but it’s a weak one. I fear paying lip service to this proposal will only give it more notoriety.

  • http://www.theresident.eu Gary Beaumont

    I run a small local newspaper and I welcome back links to news items on my website. I really notice the difference in adsense income when a particular story gets picked up by local aggregators and blogs.

    • http://www.tripletrack3.com/wstaton Wilf Staton

      Dead right Gary. I bet this guy didn’t even think of that when he babbled this splurge. He obvious hasn’t learnt that we are in a new age here. I bet that if you really didn’t want a particular story to be freely read you would’t publish it on your website which is your choice.

      Guess he is trying to drum up business with a new BMI type. I guess he would want to head it. (At an appropriate high salary of course)

  • http://atticdiggers.com WAHM

    Will Staton, I think you have it right.

    Luckily he’s going up against sharks like Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. And he just dripped some blood in the water . . .

  • http://www.thecollectorshub.com Micheline

    Sounds like Mr Weinstein owns one of the “Monitoring Organizations” and stands to profit from this new law he’s proposing!

  • http://bestmoviesevernews.com/ Curt Johnson

    Anyone in the entertainment business knows that Harvey Weinstein can be a big baby and bully all in one. He’s got people always watching YouTube for any clips from his film and shuts them down quickly.

    Much of the time when he does a big article like this, it’s right around Awards season and he’s got movie to push for them. Right after The Dark Knight Rises shooting, he was all over the press crying out for more regulation in the movie industry on violence. Two months later, his studio put out a very good and very violent film called Killing Them Softly.

    With Harvey, he does most of this big talk but it always winds up being empty and only to benefit himself.

    If a newsite doesn’t want to get it storied link or snippets taken, create a Premimum area on your site where people pay, but make sure it doesn’t get indexed by the search engines so no one will see it outside of your members to steal. See how long you’ll stay in business then.

    All of us with original content newssites love links and getting them since it definitely keeps us in business. The Drudge Report alone provides a huge amount of traffic to sites as it is just a news curation site. Those type of sites, not to mention Google, Bing/Yahoo would quickly fight against this type of legislation along with many of us other news sites who know what the end result of something like this would be.

    Thanks for writing this since many of these legislative measures go unnoticed much of the time until they’ve passed.

  • Heinous

    Sounds like another profiteer trying to fleece us. He obviously has something to gain or he wouldn’t give a shit.

  • http://www.stayirish.com Eamon Moriarty

    I think this man does not understand the nature of linking. Practically all websites welcome links from other websites for a number of reasons, not least of which are:
    1) Brings more visitors to your website thereby giving more exposure to your content and Ads with a possibility of generating more revenue.

    2) May improve your position on search engines.

    Very few websites, if any will pay for a link to a news story or content – it would have to be extraordaniraly unique and valuable content.

  • http://www.digitalfocus.co.uk John

    What a great idea, total CRAP, but this larger than should be bully will push it all the way if he thinks there is a penny in it for him.
    Just like Shylock in the merchant of Venice this man will one day cut more than he bargained for, come the day.

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk BlokeToys

    So, rather than adapt the failing business to suit the needs of the real market, Weinstein thinks they should do what the Hollywood studios and record labels do instead – refuse to accept change and try to force the entire planet and progress of the internet to change instead!

    This is the same problem we’ve seen from Hollywood in the fight against piracy.

    They resolutely refuse to accept that the internet has made them less dominant, and that they cannot continue to make multimillion $ profits on absolute rubbish the way they used to, and they cannot accept the fact that their tradition business model (which allowed a few fat cats to roll around in cash) is no longer viable.

    Weinstein needs to educate himself on the way the internet works.

    The Mainstream news is not trusted. Anyone can look on YouTube and see the truth while journalists pump out corporately biased BS. Anyone can read a hundred blog posts offering different takes on something happening somewhere, and doing that reveals far more unbiased information than any single news outlet.

    The corporate ownership of news is coming to an end – and not a moment too soon. This monetization will not work, people will not pay to link to something when there are plenty of other free sources out there – and often providing a genuinely unbiased (or honestly biased) opinion.

    It’ll be good to see the likes of the Murdoch’s finally put out of business. People have been swallowing this BS for too long.

    The old saying of “No news is good news” is more apt than some might think when it comes to the government controlled and corporately biased “news”.

  • http://www.cnx-software.com cnxsoft

    I don’t think this is enforceable.

  • http://ForThePeople... Debby Reagan

    Fascist Liberal Harvey Weinstein Wants to Curb Internet News Sharing
    OOOOPPPPSSS!!! I should be charged a fee!!! NOT!

  • http://liveguitartutor.com Bob S.

    Oh Hollywood, so greedy still, and so NOT with the times…

  • lots0

    This is how a free market is destroyed.

  • Fuck Weinsten

    What a moron. Bloodsucking scumbag fuck

  • http://www.therapypartnership.com Bill Doult

    Apart from damaging the ethos of the Internet, the impracticalities of Mr Weinstein’s proposal include the problem thateven if the United States did introduce such a “news tax” on website links, it would and could only apply to those living within the USA.

    Which raises the question, why does Harvey Weinstein wish to discriminate against his fellow Americans?

    Only roughly four per cent of the world’s population live within the USA – the other 96 per cent of us who don’t would not be affected by such laws and will continue as normal.

  • http://www.localseoforbusinesses.com Scott

    Paid links?
    I thought Google frowned upon paid linking?
    Not a good idea all the way around.

  • http://www.abstractartistgallery.org Abstract Artist Gallery

    These concepts are always driven by power and greed, perpetually fed as a great idea by elite groups. The free market is supposed to be free.

  • justin L werner

    Greed… and very short-sighted. Certainly a news site is perfectly justified in limiting what an external site can present for a snippet, but this is a subject for existing legislating and business practices. Weinstein’s view point is nothing less than rapacious.

  • Taylor Sharpe

    Yes, some guy like this could come along and make life miserable for a lot of small time bloggers and we wouldn’t have any recourse. But I can guarantee you that if they try that on search engine companies, then their news sites will suddenly no longer be available by search engines and their sites will wither away quickly. Harvey must just be an old guy who doesn’t get how the internet works. Besides, once this US law goes into effect, people will just host sites in other countries where it isn’t against the law and have the same link. Harvey is just another greedy business man wanting legislation to create a business model for his business interests. If they don’t want their sites linked to, go to a subscription model where you have to log in to see it. Otherwise quit trying to change how the internet works. He needs to find another way than legislation to make the news publishing business model work and the companies that do will succeed and those that do not will go away.

  • http://www.trennungsschmerzen.com Alex

    I think this guy is a complete nut who doesn’t understand the Internet.

    Also, just because he has “ties” to Obama doesn’t mean that Obama will go along with every idiotic idea suggested to him. He has other advisors as well.

  • http://homeandgardenpress.com James

    Let’s just say these gatekeepers get their way, what happens then? I suspect that they would see a sudden decrease of traffic to thier gates. Just imagine the huge benefit these orgonizations recieve from the traffic from this web like linking structure and the seo effects all coming to a rapid close. It seems to me that they are locking the traffic out!

  • http://www.studioartistx.nl Lex

    He’s full of s*it. If anyone should be forced for anything, then it’s mainstream media who should be paying for linking to their articles!

  • http://www.zanderchance.com Zander Chance

    This guy is a moron, plain and simple..

  • http://www.thedecisioncoach.com Mike Davis

    This is bizarre. Is this serious or some kind of publicity stunt? It’s not like linking somehow plagiarizes the work. It’s not at all like playing or downloading music. Music is sold, and expected to be paid for. An article on a site you can view for free doesn’t have that expectation. I am suspicious that this is even for real. Anyone with any experience in Web Publishing would have had to have told him that.

  • Cal P

    When they think it’s good for them they want it but if they think it’s bad they’ll ignore the problem.
    Here’s a couple of examples they don’t talk about:
    1. their car – what if they had to pay the people that origally built the car a residual each time they got in a car?
    2. Cutlery – each time they ate they had to pay to use cutlery.

    Where would it end?

  • Gerardo

    I have no idea what are you talking about.

  • http://www.readithere.net Shari Caudill

    It’s not true that the reports and original websites don’t benefit from links or from snipits. If the reader is interested in the subject matter, he will visit the originating website. It is also free advertising for both the reporter and the website. I believe Mr. Weinstein needs to hear from the websites using the snipits and take a different look at this subject before going off half cocked. He will destroy many upstart reporters if he gets this law passed.

    • http://www.tipsinablog.com Danny

      Agree 100%, Shari.

      Though, I am not in the news / media realm, this could definitely have broader long term implications, that will affect mainly smaller, less established sites(Authors, Journalists, etc)………

      Large ” Mega sites ” benefit exponentially from the mass of exposure they gain, and support they receive, via the vast majority of ” smaller, far less established sites…..

      As I mention in a comment above, this could lead to a snowball effect, whereby, nobody is willing to share any form of content will be shared without compensation / payment……

      Mr. Weinstein has not properly thought out his proposition…

  • http://motrizmarketing.com Michael Bartlett

    That is quite possibly the most ignorant idea I’ve ever heard of in my entire life. If you don’t want people to read your articles “for free”, then don’t publish them on the internet, idiot. Aside from that, these imbeciles must not realize that the “linking to their articles” is what gets them exposure? Try to start a new magazine without the internet and see how successful you become. lol. Plus, that violates freedoms on multiple levels. Truthfully, this is just the greed of a few individuals seeking personal gain at the expense of everyone else. Sadly, most people don’t even know it.

    • Rolf Ehrle

      I can hardly believe my eyes reading this trash. Greedy ignorance is the most appropriate description I can think of. Get a grip Weinstein!

  • MartinD

    I sometimes click on a link and find that to see the whole article I have to pay an annual subscription or pay a smaller fee to see just that article. I think that is fair and I can either pay or not depending on how interested I really am in the article. It is open to every news publisher to do the same. Those that don’t presumably are happy to have their content available at no cost. I don’t quite understand why anyone would make their news available free on the Internet, but it is their choice and doesn’t need any regulatory body as Mr Weinstein suggests, they just need to block content to non subscribers. Simple.

  • http://artspaintball.net Art

    It figures he is connected to Obama, anything to do with Obama is against the people. This would be another hidden tax grab. Balancing the US economy using the peoples money when it was them who got it where it is.

  • http://www.rumbleofthepeople.com Rumble of the People

    Always some fool trying to suck every last dime out of folks using the Internet. Harvey Weinstein should have won an Oscar for being a FOOL, does he not realize that when others post excerpts and or videos on Social Media and or their web sites and blogs that that brings thousands to either the original source (story/article/AUTHOR), or at the minimum, ATTENTION to story/article/AUTHOR. Hey Oscar winner, the whole idea of an author writing a story/article IS for it to be seen/read! If not, then why not put it in your Oscar safe, or keep it in your head. “Can’t Fix Stupid!”

  • John

    Totally fascicle, its not a case of paying for links, it would be better for that paper to make its articles available to subscribers. It is false logic to expect people who put links to sites to pay. I agree with MartinD. Unfortunately the world is filled with ignorant clowns like Harvey Weinstein, and unfortunately for the people, some smart Alic listens to them – and thats what makes the world a dangerous place. If the worst came to the worst and such legislation came in, links can be masked in several ways. If the US made it law, it would be US law. I am in another country, and thankfully US law does not apply to me, but the laws of my country do.

  • ,Gregdc

    What time is the bus jew and this is one bus I will not be forced to hop on, money,money, money thats all these greedy capitolists think about to apease the real people running the show, the shareholders. I hope printed media, in particular newspapers who cease printing our beloved newspaper and try to make it expensive and on line only, fail through rejection of the strongest force on the planet…”People Power”

    • Frank

      I believe the term you are looking for is “Greedy Bastards”, Capitalism is one thing, screwing the population is another.

  • Chilly8

    Twitter and the like could simply pull up stakes and leave the United States, and go to another country where they are not subject to these laws.

  • J B

    What an idiotic suggestion.

    He says “It would be like me launching a newspaper… where I can have the greatest journalists in the world working for me without paying them”.

    But we are talking about linking, not syndication.

    The site that receives the link is not being exploited, but receiving the benefit of the links, through traffic and possibly link juice.

    Imagine someone stops you in the street, and says “Can you tell me where I can buy a newspaper?” You say, “Sure, there’s a news agents, just around the corner”. The next thing you know the news agent is running down the street demanding that YOU pay HIM for telling a customer where to buy a paper.

    THAT is what Have-a-Whine-stein is suggesting.

  • https://plus.google.com/109655947417323448509 Mabuzi

    I agree with the above, if you dont want your content aggregated dont make it free but login paid services only.

    • Frank

      So much for the free flow of information, i guess we should allow government to pass laws, and then charge to see what they are. Maybe we should charge to find out if you vehicle has a recall notice, or if the water you are drinking has been contaminated, or if your food has salmonella, like that? You must not be from the U.S.A.

  • http://dyslexiaglasses.com John Hayes

    It will be a cold day in a hot place before I would link to anything about Harvey Weinstein.

  • http://swayseekerfilms.blogspot.com Eddie Miller

    This proposed law would negatively affect the flow of information. It would be a bad thing

  • Larry S. Jackson

    One of my favorite websites is Media Matters for America which montiors Right Wing misinformation. It documents the Right Wing misinformation by first providing links to the misinformation so the public can see, hear, or read what was said without any editing. Then it links to sources that refute the Right Wing misinformation. If Weinstein’s plans are put into law, there may be some who are shielded from discovery of the facts.

  • http://www.emanationwebsites.com Ian Armer

    The real crux of this issue for me is the quality of the original article. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for articles or the rep of the author.
    The main search engines have been trying to eradicate this paid linking for years.
    Cheers 😉

  • http://www.digitalrainmakers.com Cynthia T

    This flies in the face of the whole purpose of the internet – sharing information. Newspapers are already bemoaning their plummeting print subscriptions. If they have plummeting print subscriptions AND plummeting site traffic (all of those disappearing natural backlinks would adversely affect rankings, after all), they’ll REALLY have something to be worried about.

    What do you want to bet that Mr. Weinstein has a financial stake in one of the aforementioned “monitoring organizations” that would collect the fees?

  • Hobe

    Absolute greed that he is, I agree with you all. His statement is a bully one, but I’m not intimidated. A greedy and buly man is a liar. That’s what Harvey Weinstein is. A proponent of Obama? I’m too. So there’s always either a bad gene or an intruder in a good pack. Sooner or later, the truth prevails.

  • http://www.effortless.it Effortless IT

    Maybe he’s joking? Either that or he is not a particularly credible human being. What he proposes is another SOPA!

  • http://briansmith.com/blog Brian Smith

    Journalists getting paid for their work?

    Such a 20th century idea…

    Maybe some newspaper publishers (RIP) who failed figured this out, will listen to Harvey Weinstein.

  • http://www.tipsinablog.com Danny

    Sounds quite silly!

    As others have mentioned, large news blogs and websites already gain from people linking to their sites. Yes, the smaller site then has an article snippet to present to their readers, though, it’s the “ultra large” media mogul set ups, that take home the huge benefits in diverted traffic(away from the smaller sites) and they then gain a mountain of “links juice” to further consolidate their “top of the charts” Search Engine rankings……

    • http://www.tipsinablog.com Danny

      Just another thing!

      This would also lead to smaller site owners(non professional journalists) to then possibly require some form of accreditation, or to acquire certain qualifications, that would then give them the ability to charge any and everyone, for usage of their content…

      This could also snowball, as soon nobody would wish to offer any form of content(image, data, written, etc) without some form of compensation being forthcoming…..

      As, in theory, if larger news sites start along this road, smaller sites would then have the right to charge anyone with a linkage fee” for the privilege of linking to their “original ” content……

      It puts a whole new spin on the term “paid links” or buying links….

  • http://www.todayajob.com Mark London

    The idea of pay-per-link is such a crock that I have to agree with your statement [and whole position for that matter]:

    “As the publisher of WebProNews and a long-time advocate of the right to link, in my opinion Weinstein’s idea would destroy the internet as we know it today. The internet is based on the idea of linking, that’s why it was originally referred to as the World Wide Web! If you make publications, blogs, Google, Twitter and Facebook pay for linking to a news story, how many of them would still do it. The answer is none.”

    I’ve been running simple, primarily text based systems since WWW used Bulletin Board Systems, not websites and the internet. Two of my sites link to a minimum of 50,000 other sources of information because I determine whether the quality of the linked content is worthy to teach my users what they want to learn. In my opinion I am also promoting the author and the provider because my users often go to the sites for additional information.

    Bill me? I’m outta here, plain and simple. I pay enough as it is. If an author or a publisher doesn’t want their content linked there are ways to prevent that from happening, so use them and get off our backs trying to make an extra buck… Idiots!
    Mark London
    Site Director

  • Eli Cummings

    If journalists, writers, musicians, bloggers, etc. want to control who gets to read, listen or watch, don’t make it freely available on the web. The web is a virtual public world. If you don’t want others to see you, don’t build a house of glass. If you don’t want anyone just walking into your house, put a lock on the door.

    You want people to value what you do, charge them to get it and you will find out how valuable it is. It may be less valuable than you think it is in your own mind (in fact, I can almost guarantee that for most things).

    Making something accessible to the public at no charge on the web is not mandatory.

    Everybody whines when they get the short end of the stick. You are allowed to whine all you want, but that doesn’t mean anybody has to do anything about it.

    Just remember that given the principle that is adhered to by most people that “the world doesn’t owe you a living”, you conversely don’t owe the world anything either.

  • G.

    Weinstein is a typical copyright troll, and he’s emblematic of the film industry, which excels at keeping new people out.

    Also, let’s not forget that if it hadn’t been for the rather bad behavior of the big film studios in the 1950s, McCarthy’s blacklist wouldn’t have been implemented. The heads of the major studios blacklisted their own people. So, Weinstein is just carrying on this disgusting tradition.

    Perhaps the reason that Weinstein wants to be a copyright troll and make Webmasters pay for linking is that his movies aren’t making any money. It’s a case of sour grapes. The films coming out of Hollywood in the past few years have sucked. They’re primarily remakes and sequels, not original stories.

    Here’s a message for you, Mr. Weinstein: Try making movies with original stories and maybe you won’t have to scrounge for money by shaking Webmasters down for money.

  • http://woodlandsadagency.com HoustonAdAgency

    That’s quite a ridiculous statement. What will probably happen is that news and advertising agencies will simply NOT link to those sites.
    In turn, smaller news companies who allow it will be the ones to benefit if this ever does go into effect.

  • http://www.scifipop.com Phanna

    Weinstein is out of touch. He’s trying to use the film industry’s outdated model of controlling creative property and apply it to the internet. Ain’t gonna happen buddy.

  • Frank

    Thanks for the spam!