Do You Have the “Right” to Link?

Site Blocked by News Corp. Fights Back

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It was recently discovered that search engine/news aggregator NewsNow.co.uk had been blocked by Times Online, a publication from News International, a subsidiary of News Corp. This has been viewed as a possible beginning to what News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has been talking about for quite some time – blocking search engines and aggregators from using its content (and using apparently includes linking).

Do you think linking is a right? Share your view.

NewsNow founder Struan Bartlett is not exactly backing down from the fight. He has gone so far as to launch a campaign called Right2Link, the premise of which is essentially: linking to online content is a basic right, or officially:

Whether you are a consumer, an NGO, a blogger, an independent researcher, a concerned citizen or a business, your right to link needs protection.

Bartlett offers the following video to make his case:

Bartlett picks out the following as "the threats" of media owners stopping people from linking to content:

  • Serious damage to the ease of access to digital information that drives the economy.
  • Media owners cherry-picking organisations to target, accusing them of copyright theft, or demanding cash — this is already happening!
  • Media organisations with significant economic power cutting deals with selected corporate search engines to guide the public to their online media, their opinions and their political and commercial allies.
  • Media with the power to enforce it levying additional so-called "licence fees" from any business or organisation using or linking to their websites.

This is not just the argument of one man who is upset that he doesn’t get to link to News Corp. content. Even influential (though he is receiving a bit of criticism) journalist and author Jeff Jarvis, who has worked for a few big name print publications himself, has weighed in on the conversation.

Jeff Jarvis "Linking is not a privilege that the recipient of the link should control – any more than politicians should decide who may or may not quote them. The test is not whether the creator of the link charges (Murdoch’s newspapers will charge and they link)," says Jarvis. "The test is whether the thing we are linking to is public. If it is public for one it should be public for all."

Jarvis says that by trying to cut off links, News Corp. is even endangering journalism. "As a journalistic matter, we reporters depend on the ability to read and analyse public statements and documents – from government, corporations or newsmakers – and it should make no difference whether that reading is done by a person or their agent, an algorithm," he says. "We depend on the right to quote from what we find – and online, the link is our means of doing so. In fact, linking to source material – footnoting our work and the provenance of our ­information – is fast being seen as an ethical necessity in digital journalism."

It should be noted that NewsNow offers a paid service, and this is probably the biggest reason News Corp. targeted it out of all other possibilities (of which there must be an astonishing number). But does that matter? If the linking site isn’t stealing actual content, and is simply linking, does it matter if they charge for their service?

It should also be noted that a lot of people don’t think media owners are going after people for simply linking, but one can take a quick look at NewsNow’s home page, and see that they just list links pointing to other destinations. They don’t even include snippets from the articles like other sites do.

Chris AhearnOf course not all media owners feel the way News Corp. does. You may recall when Thomson Reuters Media President Chris Ahearn expressed his stance on the matter:

 I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting.

I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.

Our own WebProNews publisher Rich Ord has written in the past, "I know a little bit about news aggregation since I created the very first news aggregation site on the Internet, NewsLinx.com in 1996. I faced a similar backlash from newspaper companies back then, with many including the Wall Street Journal actually contacting me asking if I had permission to deep link to their articles. My typical answer was that I did not have permission and since the nature of the Internet was links to content, I didn’t believe I needed permission. Their reply 100% of the time was to keep linking, because I was driving them a lot of free traffic."

That stance seems to have changed over the years.

As Bartlett maintains, nobody is saying media owners don’t have the right to put up paywalls around their content, but if that content is freely available, why shouldn’t anyone be able to freely point to it with a link?

Where do you stand on this ongoing debate? Discuss here.

Related Articles:

> News Corp. Blocks Content from News Aggregation Site

> Murdoch On Blocking Search Engines: "I Think We Will"

> Murdoch’s War with the Aggregators

> Is it Really Crazy to Block Google?

Do You Have the “Right” to Link?
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  • http://www.docucopies.com Roe

    Linking on the Internet, particularly to content on news sites, is essentially the electronic version of what we used to call a bibliography. Bibliographies typically gave the who, what, and where of various snippets of information contained within a larger work. Each entry would usually have the name of the work being cited, the author, the publisher, and an ISBN so that anyone who needs to can look up the corresponding information to confirm its authenticity.

    Linking essentially does the same thing. If news organizations want to protect their content by putting up pay walls, let them. But there’s absolutely no legitimate reason for them to say “You can’t link to our content.” Such action is a direct attack on not only our ability to attribute information correctly, but on freedom of speech and expression as a whole, and this could have far-reaching consequences and implications for things far more important than daily stock quotes and market reports.

  • http://www.writtenbysumer.com/blog Britt

    I’m confused. Wouldn’t linking to a site that you are referring to in your blog post (or wherever) be a form of promotion for them?

    I would think that someone would like for another blogger to link to their post. It gives them credit and drives traffic to their website. It’s also a way to get in front of their readers and followers.

    I’m curious to see the outcome of this situation . . .

  • http://www.ph-creative.com Matt

    What they are doing is against the nature of the Internet.

    It seems to me they don’t understand that nature.

    It won’t last, they are fighting a losing battle.

    All content that is public will be accessed and should be.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Amelia

    this is backwards… Links are necessary, and the majority of webmasters are going out of their way to increase their links by link building. To say no to links is nuts.

    • Guest

      its not a matter of saying NO to links … its a matter of protecting the integrity of the information and CHOOSING they type of business/person you wish to be associated with. Links are necessary and, for the most part, sought after but there are many out there that I would not wish to be association with, even if that person/company thought my sites valid and worthy.

      • bj

        So, in other words, you want to SPIN the information. You don’t want anyone critical of you or your product linking to your site. Boo hoo.

        The internet works because it’s a bottom up media. The old media was top down. You want to turn back the clock. It isn’t going to happen.

        I notice you posted anonymously. Employed by Rupert?

  • http://royalgeeks.com Online tech support

    This conflict starts from the discovery of internet. And the conflict will continue for many days. A person works with his best to provide it to the people. If he take money for this, he can not reach to maximum people. He would be paid, but the exposure would be minimum.

  • Guest

    As the creator of content, if you don’t want links, it is your RIGHT to block linking. People with popular images, images for sale, and contend for sale do this all the time. If you are LOOKING for links, I agree, this is stupid. If you are trying to SELL Images or Content, allowing people to freely link to them is equally stupid.

    To think that just because information is on the internet, that it is free – is anarchistic. Market evaluations, Stock photography, and YES, news articles are all examples of content that was created for PROFIT. Failing to protect these assets would be a disservice to the company that created them.

    • Guest

      here! here! …. the “right” to link should be a priviledge and it is only courtesy to ask permission.

    • bj

      Oh, so you’d break the internet to protect your “property”? I’ve got a solution for you. Don’t put that “property” up on the internet.

      I notice you are posting anonymously. You employed by Rupert? 😉

      • Guest

        Wow, I’m very liberal but you sound like a commie! Of course people should have the right to protect their property. You don’t need to break the internet to do it. Just put up the “pay walls” or make your content accessible by member’s only. Then people can still link to it, it will just tell you that you have to pay to see it when you get there.

  • Dan Morris

    No one is prevent anyone from exercising free speech by not linking to a Newscorp website. The free speech has already been done by writers at Newscorp. What about property rights? Linking is certainly a good thing to do and I personally think this will harm the Newscorp web properties however it’s their intellectual property. By who’s authority does Struan Bartlett claim the “right” to claim something that he did not create or lawfully purchase?

  • Guest

    The closing paragraph in the article sums it up so succinctly:

    “As Bartlett maintains, nobody is saying media owners don’t have the right to put up paywalls around their content, but if that content is freely available, why shouldn’t anyone be able to freely point to it with a link? ”

    I cannot imagine any reasonable argument against this, but I’ll keep listening for a rational, opposing viewpoint. Don’t think I’ll hear one, though…

  • al

    One of the blessings of the Internet is accessibility. A link is not steeling information, it’s simply showing viewers where the information is stored. As one commenter said…”it’s a bibliography.” Murdock can impose limits on those clicking the links by requiring them to buy a subscription. Many other websites do just that. However, Murdocks goal is more sinister….control of the Internet. Is his next step shutting down libraries because they stack newspapers for patrons to read freely? Murdock is trying to keep his print empire profitable. You’d think that if he really wanted to profit from the Internet, he would embrace everyone driving viewers to his content providers. It just shows how lost in the past some of our business leaders really are……

  • Guest

    I believe a site/or organization has the right to block. If they charge to link, so be it. The ‘news’ is NOT exclusive. It will always become available from some one, from some other provider.

  • http://greengoodsguide.com bj

    This whole walled garden thing, whether about links, or subscriptions to content, or whatever, is not going to work. The reason the web is strong is because it’s democracy pure and simple. WE the people get to vote for the best content with our social bookmarks, our links, and our clicks. If that content is put behind a wall, what’s the result? No “votes” via links or social bookmarks, much less traffic, and a whole lot less value to advertisers.

    This is going to come back to bite them on the butt bigtime. What amazes me is that the Times already had a failed walled garden, yet they’re going to try it again!

    After fifteen years you can’t turn the Internet into Cable TV (where they got to control the content they “fed” us.) It can’t be done. And if they try, by whatever means (like scuttling net neutrality on Telecom and Cable controlled pipes) there will eventually be a parallel and underground web, like there is in China.

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Ok, so think about bumper stickers for a moment. They’re kinda like links before the internet started. Would you go peel off a sticker that’s promoting your business just because it’s on a rust bucket?

    Have a Great Day!

  • http://www.stuffdone.com Paul Kruger

    The first point I want to agree with is that if you want something private, don’t post it on the internet. If you want people to find what you offer, don’t complain about links…those are free ads for your content that you are not paying for. NOTE: Everyone please post a link to my sites! I need the traffic !

    If Murdoc had as many smarts about the internet as he had about print publishing he would welcome even pay for quality links to his content. He still controls the gateway to get at that content which is where he has a right to make money. Charge admission.

    A link online is like the billboard to promote Disney World…you can follow them to the parking lot but you still need to pay to see the attractions. Would Disney complain if I paid for a few more bill boards for them? Possibly if I were not careful in what I said or what trade mark images or terms I used without consulting them. But if all I did was put up an arrow saying “This way to Disney” I doubt they would complain at all. That is the nature of a link as opposed to a banner ad.

    I say “Link Away” but in the case of Murdock I say lets go about removing any and all links so he can see how far down in popularity his sites drop before he starts begging for links to return.


  • http://www.climatechangemagneticenergy.com Stop the extinction of life

    Have you seen our Web page lead in heading?

    Then ask your self what does this mean?

    THERE Is a TRUTH there!

    The fact is there is a big problem world wide and if your not aware of this your going to really be in trouble.
    Have you not heard, What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

    On our website you will find an interesting heading that reads,
    Why professionals will not solve the energy crisis

    They should be ashamed of them selves.

    You will if your aware of this finally realise there is a big problem world wide and they won’t listen.
    There should be a right for EVERY ONE to have a link. And especially when a company does not allow this. Then they themselves should be cut off from the Internet immediately. No excuses, Dictators are not welcome!. They steal and lie to fatten their own purses and their ego!

    Now if your interested to help our research to stop the extinction of life and willing to help by buying a kindle as a gift or any Amazon product to have the full commission go as a donation for CMA energy research. We thank you. David Chura

    • Guest

      using Ubunto?

  • http://www.dgswilson.com/ Doug Wilson

    The line reads, “search engine/news aggregator NewsNow.co.uk had been blocked by Times Online”.

    I have a lot of blocks in my htaccess file. I’m not sure where the right to link question came from. Every one should have the right to do what they want with their content. Doesn’t matter who likes it or doesn’t like it – it’s not their content.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with links. Rupert didn’t say don’t vote for me. He said don’t crawl my site.

    Before you ask – I don’t vote for him via linking. I work against him and his ilk. Doesn’t change anything.

  • http://www.thedressagehusband.com Stephen Parkin

    Personally I feel that the right to link is a natural one. If someone has made something public then anyone should be able to point at it. Once a newspaper is issued the publisher has no right to prevent you scrap booking it cutting it up and using it in anyway you choose. Why does Rupert Murdoch believe he can control a free media the Internet?

    The weight of public opinion will be against him and he will hurt no-one more than himself. If he does not want links do not post in the first place! The only right he should have is to ensure any use is attributed and this is done by the fact the link is to his own site. He should stop his complaining and stick to paper publishing. Does he think he can choose his readers once he prints the paper? No! So what is his problem?

  • Guest

    If murdoch wont allow linking to his freely available content, then leave him to it.

    It wont take long for the bean counters to work out that a steady drop in traffic and revenue is not only hurting them but their advertising. This will ultimatley let other news outlets benefit.

    Let Murdoch take his digital bat and ball home and we can all just get on with our lives without his meddling.

    • Guest

      The smartest reply yet.

      Murdoch has total control of whether his content is free or not, I believe he or someone on the payroll obviously has control of a server.

      Obviously the poor fella is about to shoot himself in the foot ( Barney Fife of the web).

      I am willing to bet he got some corp genius earning mega bucks planting the seed as to how much more money he will earn and truth be said in the end he most likely will have paid out more than he will reap.

      Barney (Murdoch) is often overly analytical and alarmist about benign situations.

  • http://www.sciencelives.com ScienceLives

    To me, that is like telling someone on the street, “Hey, I just read this great book called ___, you should read it” and then getting sued by the book publisher for recommending their book.

    If it’s information that someone normally has to pay to join their site and read that’s a whole different story. But if it’s information they put out there and they want someone to find and read, why should they stop people from finding it and reading it? As a webmaster, now I’m concerned that cases like this will make people stop and think twice before linking to my site. I want them to link to me, I want people to come and read my articles. I don’t want to see people afraid to link to sites because of one backwards-thinking company. Preventing linking goes against what (most) webmasters believe in and are aiming for.

    • http://www.industrialmachinetrader.com Kristi

      I agree ScienceLives! You can’t control what people say (good or bad) about your website. Giving a link in reference to information that someone is speaking of in an online “conversation” is the same thing. I personally would love it if more people would reference links to my three websites!! Of course I can’t guarantee that all of the criticisim will be good, but I just think of it as a way to grow and learn from other people’s opinions.

  • http://just-thinking.vsblogs.com Mike Byrne

    I wonder how Mr. Murdoch’s advertisers would respond if he asked them about restricting traffic coming to the sites they sponsor.

    Mr. Murdoch and others can block access to their sites. How that fits into their business model is confusing to me. I know they spend a lot of money to collect news, but that news is collected to draw viewers, readers and listeners to sell advertising. This news has value to draw eyes and ears to ads.

    If the news or news analysis is of higher value and it stands on its own, then people will pay for it. That’s a big if. Unless they are giving what cannot be found elsewhere and it is high in predictive value, I’m not paying any more than my attention.

    My question is how much attention is too much?

  • Bogo

    Global companies and hidden rulers of the world have started their campaign to destroy the last free media in the world – Internet.
    Internet is just a group of web sites that have millions of owners, pages, etc. Internet can not be bought. So it has to be destroyed, at least in a way that we know it.
    This attempt to rule the Internet started with Murdoch – Microsoft deal.
    Next on the list is Google whose influence on the web community is immense.
    French president Sarkozy has started, Putin continues, more to come …
    Now this thing with links.
    This is all going in one direction and one direction only: towards the end of free thought.
    It will be achieved in tiny, small steps: one thing here, another there and those steps will not seem co-related at all. But be sure that they are. There’s no pure coincidence and this last fort of freedom is to important for them to let go.
    Beware: the process has started. It will not stop. We may slow it down a bit and resist as long as we can.
    For starters we should boycott Murdoch completely. Don’t visit his sites, don’t link, renounce subscriptions, do whatever you can.
    Switch to Ubuntu or some other NIX, support Open Source community.
    As I said before – we are those who feed the beast. Let’s stop.

    • Guest

      It’s hard to believe that not only are the hidden rulers of the world trying to control us by controlling linking.. but also that they can be defeated by Ubuntu.

      I guess it just makes sense that conspiracy nutcases might also be Linux nutcases.. after all – paranoia can be about many things.

      Hows the aluminum foil hat working out? Any help with the voices?

      Beware: the process has started. It will not stop. We may slow it down a bit and resist as long as we can.

      Hey – so give up, and mebbe you can qualify for some medicinal herb..

      • Bogo

        Sorry if I’ve touched your nerv.
        Nutcases with tinfoil on medicinal herbs is one of the lamest cliches I’ve heard in a long time.
        You obviously missed the point, but that’s your prob.
        You would probably put Galileo in a nuthouse, but that’s the way it always was.
        Just believe everything you are told, be a good boy or a girl, get drunk on weekends, use your herbs and ask uncle Rupert to give you a job.
        Don’t use your head ever, God forbid. Thinking hurts. And when it does, wrap some tinfoil around your head. I do, it helps. Someone is watching me, gotta get outta here …

  • http://www.hobsons-choice.com SimonH

    Sure it is …

    even embedding pages from the internet – the original authors should be pleased!

    Of course, an acknowledgement for the original source is important too, but hey – isn’t it just the same as saying to people – “Hey – have a look at this …” ???

    It can’t be the same as copyright infringement BECAUSE, by publishing on the internet, the author has already made it ‘public domain’.


  • http://abovenbeyond4u.com Guest

    I think linking is a right, but, while that is true, it’s up to the source whether or not a link is accepted. I’ve blocked links in the past when the source was not appropriate.

  • Tristan

    I think Google should de-index all news corp websites. That would hopefully cut their online revenue by approximately 80% and then they can see what happens from there.

    Also, I don’t think I should have to pay someone for the right to say ” http://www.newscorp.com is bull shit”

  • http://hubpages.com/profile/dame+scribe Gin

    I agree on the note about advertisers with this site. What do they have to say to the idea of being affiliated with a site that shows no respect towards others? Good PR requires socializing with others even if unrelated. I think Google should drop their page rank for breaking such business and public internet etiquette.

  • Guest

    I wonder how many external sites news corp websites link to?

    Also, if wsj.com is so concerned about controlling incoming links, why not secure the site and create a subscription system?

    Even in other forms of media that kind of control doesn’t make complete sense. You control what TV stations can rebroadcast your content, you control what magazines can print your articles, but you generally don’t try to prevent people from telling other people how/when/where to find your content, and you certainly can’t censor what people say ABOUT your content (unless you own the media…).

  • http://www.michaelghurston.com Michael G. Hurston

    News Corp has enough people that go to their sites directly that they don

  • http://www.simple-elegant-websites.com/ oiseaux

    I don’t read any garbage of Rupert Murdoch, I never have read any garbage of Rupert Murdoch, and therefore I don’t have a problem. Personally I hope Murdoch continues down this path and then more people will simply sideline his garbage empire. Price is what drives the sale of most products and by pitching his rubbish at the top of the pricing structure would be a recipe for catastrophe in most business plans. Amen

  • Guest

    But – freedom of speech is a limited freedom, and doesn’t include the “right” to steal other people’s intellectual property and benefit from it (ie – make money.)

    THAT is what Murdock is putting the lid on. Brick and mortar (tree and ink) newspapers are dying away because of the Internet. Part of the reason they are dying is they have not been able to come up with an economic architecture that allows them to profit from the work of the people they employ to produce intellectual property. IE – they haven’t been successful in getting people to PAY for reading their on-line newspaper, and they haven’t been able to get advertisers to pay for the creation of information that is stolen by aggregator websites and published by them.

    The aggregator websites are profitable. They sell advertising that is viewed by people attracted to their websites by content that cost them nothing to produce. They really are stealing the content from other companies that are in the business of producing content and hoping to profit from it.

    Obviously if you steal your content, your cost of operation is much lower than a website that is paying people to produce content. It’s hard to compete against theft.

    Murdock is not talking “links”.. he is talking about content, and that’s what he has several times threatened to cut off. Theft of content he has paid to have created. It’s intellectual property rights that are at risk here – and for some reason a lot of people on the Interwebz seem to think all information should be free. If it was free – then there would be no incentive to produce or pay for the production of information, and the Internet would sufffer as a result. As a clue – Murdock is entitled to guard and cut off access for any content he might produce, and personally – I think he has been overly patient in not doing so.

    For the conspiracy nutcases – the only conspiracy I see here is the encouragement of the “free the Internet” thinking by large aggregators like Facebook, Google and Yahoo – their false outrage and claims of the death of the Internet are widely overblown when they’re really just bitching because they might have to fairly pay for some of the content they make money off.

    THINK ABOUT IT. It’s all about the money..

  • http://www.nice-layouts.com Mr. Nice

    /// Brick and mortar (tree and ink) newspapers are dying away because of the Internet….very true..but they will die quicker without the Internet..
    The Internet is their only chance to make one giant step forward..and become part of the real economy, to remain a real news channel..

    • Guest

      Exactly how would you suggest they do that?

      • http://www.colonicirrigation.net/procedure.html Colonic Irrigation Procedure

        And emails have done away with letter and the mail system is dying.

  • http://575488trillion.com Walter Paul Bebirian

    the entire

    Inter net – is about hyperlinks so that ideas – concepts and information flow easily and quickly to people functioning in this arena!

    without hyperlinks – I do not believe there is an Inter net – and so any entity – big or small that prevents or does not allow hyperlinks to its contents is actually making itself extinct – and may expect the same treatment with its own ability to hyperlink to other entities contents –

    • Guest

      Unfortunately Walter, the subject of this thread is just plain wrong. It isn’t the “right to link” – it’s the right to steal content that is being fought.

      No news source would mind being linked to – since people would then visit their website to view the info being linked to. What the news sources do legitimately object to is the THEFT (and there really is no term that describes it) of the content FROM their website.

      Our esteemed Chris Crum seems to have mistakenly (or not) made up a rather sensationalist subject for this discussion, despite REPEATED references in the article itself to CONTENT, not “links”


      Rupert Murdoch has been talking about for quite some time – blocking search engines and aggregators from using its content (and using apparently includes linking).


      nobody is saying media owners don’t have the right to put up paywalls around their content, but if that content is freely available, why shouldn’t anyone be able to freely point to it with a link?

      Don’t confuse linking with copying “deep linking” content. One is fine. The other is simply theft, plain and simple. The wording in this article leads me to believe either the author (Chris) doesn’t understand the difference, or he’s purposely being disingenuous in order to make a more sensational article.

      • http://blog.alltheinfo.org Bob Weber

        Take a look at the NewsNow site that’s discussed in the article. All that is contained there is the headline of the article which is a link to the hosting site. There’s no news other than the headlines on that site. This isn’t about stealing content, this is about newscorp being greedy.

      • Guest

        Why don’t the search engines just block him, then lets see what happens.

  • http://www.honestgamers.com/ Jason Venter

    News Corp. has a history of wanting to charge for content, so this is probably nothing more than a simple desire to control access to content and to find ways to leverage that content for increased revenue. I’m not sure that censorship is even an intended part of the equation. Step two likely includes blocking most or all content from anyone who hasn’t paid to see it.

  • Guest

    Here is the thing that we all dance around online, the elephant in the Internet, if you will.

    You are a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. The Journal pays your salary, gives you an office, provides you benefits, etc. You write a great article, it goes in print, goes online, goes wherever. The Journal has paid you for your article, which is a representation of your effort, talent, experience, whathaveyou.

    The revenue that provides the pay for that reporter to write that article is generated from sales of the Journal, as well as what ads are on the originating site (The Wall Street Journal.com, or whatever).

    Whether or not News Corp or WSJ has found a way to generate revenue online is not the issue. Yes, that is a failure of foresight and ability to anticipate changes in print media, whatever.

    The point, the crux of the problem, if no revenue comes in to the originator, there is no impetus for continuing to pay people to create good content. You don’t have good journalists writing good articles, you don’t have trusted media names providing good content.

    Yeah, it’s great to have your work reprinted and copied and sent out through the Internet, but that notoriety and fame doesn’t pay the rent, or feed the cat, or put money into an IRA. At some point the people that create the work have to be properly and financially compensated for their work. Taking what someone else wrote and putting it on a separate site and charging ads to line your own pocket without kicking down to the entity that created the article is lame, and will ultimately drive good reporters out of work.

    It’s not evil to say that you want to be paid for your good work. It’s not evil to want to control the ways people distribute your work and then profit off of it without paying you for the rights.

    And as for the “right” to link, you don’t have a “right” to do anything on the Internet. As long as the companies on the Internet, be it Google or Bing or yes, even News Corp are private concerns, they can take their ball and go home. They don’t HAVE to let you do anything, they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and if you don’t like it, you can go soak your head. Whether it is wise to do so is debatable, but that is their right. Charging to read articles will likely doom their business models moreso than it already has, but hey. Things change, media evolves, life goes on.

    The lesson is this, kids: You don’t get quality for free, or at least not for very long, but that’s not entirely the fault of the businesses that fail to capitalize on their resources or provide new avenues of revenue. You can’t just do something because there is no one around to stop you, whether that is breaking into an empty house or ripping someone’s hard work off.

    The easy allure of the Internet has engendered an entire generation of people to think they are entitled to take anything they want just because it is easy to take. You cannot take or use someones work without paying them for it, which, aside from the moral issues therein, because why should they bother to make any more of it?

    Can we just all agree that we don’t blame businesses for wanting to control their product, but let’s work towards away that the beauty of sharing information on the Internet shouldn’t suffer because of reactionary policies or shortsighted business models?

    It’s everyone’s Internet. Together, we can help it live up to its potential.

    • Larry S. Jackson

      I frequently criticize people who send anonomous chain e-mails with claims that so-and-so did such-and-such but don’t document their sources. In my rebuttal to those with whom I disagree, I cite my sources for my arguments and provide links to support my claims. Many of the arguments I have are with people who quote false claims that obviously originate from Fox News and other Ruppert Murdock owned media. I link to those false statements to accurately quote what the right-wing media has told its audience, then link to the facts that show the statements are untrue. Mr. Murdock doen’t like it when his media is proven to lie and deceive. If he is going to publish “the truth,” then we should be able to cite what was said by providing a link to the source for those who disbelieve anyone would have made such an outrageous statement.

      • http://www.3d-buffet.com ProLithic 3D

        It Can Only benefit all parties concerned when a link is created, any publicity is good publicity as the saying goes. If an interest is generated on a subject, or interest generated in Web-Site, then it is simply “Free Advertising” – and unless you don’t want undue attention brought to some unscrupulous activity, then everybody wins, Right? I personally welcome any extra visitors to my site, perhaps they would take advantage of what’s on offer, and download some Freebies, starting a fresh interest in 3D CGI Imagery and associated Products. “ProLithic-Jan 2010″

  • Brian

    They don’t want you making money off of their hard work with out license? or authorization.

    You paint this picture as if News Corp doesn’t want me to email my friends about articles I find on their website. They want the right to determine the use of their content and that includes linking.

    The web is free, but we need to know we have the right to our content and what we will be protected.

    Leave it to the Brits to find a way to socialize our ideas.

  • http://www.thehighheelstore.com Love my Shoes

    I feel that if anyone puts anything on the web that is open to all viewers, then people have the right to link to it. If it was to be paid for then the site owner should have it in a members area where you have to pay up front to view it. What’s next? How about putting your Sunday paper on the net for free then sueing everyone who comes to your site and reads it instead of buying the paper. Again if it is on the open internet then I should have the right to view it, link to it, and quote it. Now if I ran a paid site that my viewers had to pay for access, then followed a link that they had to pay to view, then that might be a different story.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/jimisan.ppr Jimisan

    I don’t see it’s a bit issue if people are linking to your websites but what if they’re hijacking your articles and not acknowledging the source. Nobody wants to be in this situation.

  • http://www.cluey.com.au copywriter

    Smacks of all things Rupert, really.
    Can’t bear the thought readers might check another site first, huh?
    Or maybe the link originates from somewhere you’ll find a balanced, objective view …

  • http://blog.alltheinfo.org Bob Weber

    There are no ‘rights’ on the Internet, there are only rights in courts and governments. The Internet is all about technology. If aggregators want to link to content, there shouldn’t be any problem with that. Likewise, if the WSJ wants to use technology to block those incoming links, that’s OK too. It’s their choice, they control the server, and they can decide what traffic they will accept.

    That said, this has to be decided on the technological playing field, not in the courts. Attempting to sue over linking is stupid and wrong. If you want to protect your content, protect it. Hide it in a closet for all I care, but don’t complain when you make it public and someone else links to it.

    Journalism won’t die, but eventually there will be an equilibrium of sites that provide good news and allow external links as needed. News Corp hasn’t been particularly astute with their Internet policy so far, so I doubt they will be here in the long run.

    • Alain

      Do we want a free Internet?
      The Internet being free and open to all, anyone can choose to use the Internet as they please. Coercing someone into using it a certain way transforms it in a non-free environment.
      NewsNow made a choice, it should be respected and since they do not understand the power of linking (probably due to greed), they are doomed to disappear in the long run or at least grow at slower pace.

  • http://www.ohiowebpro.com Eric G

    Not sure what business model this fits in if any, but this sounds like a classic case of someone in charge putting their foot down, that does not understand how the internet works, or realizes the true potential of the internet. I’ve seen this many times. Plus, there are better ways of protecting copy than this!

  • Guest

    Linking provides free advertisment value to news organizations and a like. A link directs viewers to their publication so why the fuss. If they wish to get greedy and charge for linking to their content, they will find their viewship impacted in a negative way.

  • Guest

    I think Rupert Murdock is a greedy S.O.B. and wants to own, and control, all the news. He’s like that Bond villain that wants to start a war to sell more newspapers. He wanted to raise all his rates to the cable companies by nearly 300% this year. In fact, he could have been the model for that character. I say, boycott all his papers, his Fox channels and everything else he owns!!

    • Guest

      Actually, I’m pretty sure he WAS the model for that character, or some other bond character. I know some media mogul was definitely the model for a bond character.

  • http://aintlaw.com Ain’t Law

    Rupert’s just trying to keep people from using his sites as a credible source for other people to base their arguments on. He’s doing the hard part of something everyone else has been saying should be the case for years now. Don’t blame him for trying to keep people from linking propaganda as their personal arguments from authority, he’s trying to be a good citizen.

  • http://www.livetrainingsession.com/training/dreamweaver.html Dreamweaver CS4 Tutoring Online

    How do one define the worldwide web without links. They are the essence of the internet. They allow each person to surf, going from one web site to another following those virtual routes.
    If an institution or company with a website opened to the public does not want other websites to link it, then they are no longer part of the web and should just have a site in their intranet.
    Those companies take advantages of the free internet, getting traffic for free and now they want to sever the connection with the rest of the www?

  • http://www.tpromo.com Stanley

    Yes, it’s public, it’s on the Internet, it should be open for linking. Why would someone put a website out there in the open and then object to a search engine or any other site linking to it? Makes no sense to me.

  • Bogo

    Let us imagine a situation where everybody stops everybody from linking.
    No links to other sites at all. None.
    Impossible? Are you sure?
    What if “big players” manage to pass a law or a rule or whatever to protect their interests?
    Ok. It’s a bit far fetched. But on the other hand – who knows. Strangest things have happened.
    And then we all have to ask one another for a permission to link…
    My website had problems with others stealing material from it without a link or reference.
    I strongly support copyright and I’m against unauthorized publishing of someone else’s work.
    But is that an issue here? I don’t think there’s anyone who’s not aware of copyright.
    News aggregating sites are somewhat like search engines for news. They make profit in a similar way Google does. We could argue that they can’t exist without the “real” news companies, but there is obviously a demand for this.
    We all live fast and don’t have time to browse for news all day. We need it all in one place.
    I don’t like what’s started here – a process of “raising the walls”. One case is not a problem, but if this spreads it won’t be good.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyWHEIFXmEY Neilbubbareno

    Two the color’s of a rainbow we share all race’s of life…..We stand together where mates..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyWHEIFXmEY

  • http://simulationcreditauto.org natari

    I accept with information: If an institution or company with a website opened to the public does not want other websites to link it, then they are no longer part of the web and should just have a site in their intranet.

    • Guest

      It is a library. and only some people are allowed ? The jewish people did not communicate with the Samaritan’s,, is it not more of the same ? selective not all inclusive

      Anyway,, i linked this domain nationofwaiters.com to a page of history on president jefferson who enslaved his own children because they were half caste . On a forum , i once in a while showed the link, and the admin called me a thief, and she never once back downed from her accusation, of me linking /redirecting my domain to a page of someone else.. i asked her dozens of times to prove how i am a thief, and she was never able to .. except she did toss me out of the forum.

  • http://specificnews.com Milko

    Precisely! Without going off on the meriad of “they’re doing it to us” alternatives … it should be noted the word “right” is not quite proper here. More rather — the ability to link is what the internet is all about. I’m currently running a news aggregating/syndicating website: specificnews.com ; without any investment (and still no profits) I’m utilizing the means of technology to achieve something which I wouldn’t have dreamed of achieving five years ago. I have the ability to link … until I get cut off…

    But here’s a real valid question: what sort of business strategy is it, to just cut someone off, who’s obviously very interested in what you have to offer (in this case — news)? Someone is holding back on some revealing details if you ask me, because every entrepreneurial bone in my body screams that if people are going through the trouble of linking to my site, than I should at least try to work something out with them, before cutting them off…

    ask those questions people!

  • Spider Jerusalem

    Apparently you have all fallen for the PR blitz that NewsNow and others are spinning out at an incredible rate to confuse this debate. Or perhaps to create a debate where there is none.

    Here is the crux of the issue you suckers:

    NewsNow (and other aggregators) crawl Newspaper websites grabbing all content that isn’t behind a paywall. They create an index (some temporary, some not) categorise the content, create ‘alert’ services which meet their clients demands, send links to their clients (some send only headlines, some send snipets, some send full article text, and the really naughty one’s host the content themselves – Meltwater) and charge for said service.

    NewsCorp has apparently approached NewsNow (and others) in an attempt to get them to either stop this or share some of the profit. When they do not respond or give them two fingers what other option do they have other than to indicate scraping is not allowed by updating robots.txt?

    This is not about linking. This is about companies profiting by copying (an index is a copy regardless of how ‘temporary’ it is) full content not owned or written by them and not sharing a penny of that revenue with the content’s creator.

    Look inside any Newspaper website’s Ts&Cs and you will see very specific clauses which say it is illegal for others to use their content for commercial gain. Although not proven in UK courts (or US courts for that matter) this seems pretty straightforward.

    Back in your boxes please!

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