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Some Reaction to Irish Newspapers demanding money for links

The Irish Times website challenging the Daily Mail for most irritating block-up when you just want to go to the blasted site.

On Sunday night, we published our post 2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web on the efforts of the Irish newspaper industry to assert property rights over links.

The post has provoked a good deal of comment. For convenience, we have collected up a few of the responses.

Hugh Linehan, the Editor of

Prof Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism, NY University:

Prof George Brock, Head of Journalism, City University London:

Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor at Scientific American. Visiting Scholar at NYU school of journalism:

Newspapers demand to be paid if you link to them by Rob Beschizza,

To be completely clear about it, this isn’t about fair use, fair dealing, excerpts, headlines or anything like that. It’s about links

It’s as if the newspaper business was still run by clueless middle-aged white drunks, or something.

Prof Jeff Jarvis, Associate Professor City University of New York, Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism

Dermot Casey, Tinstring

Former CTO of

It’s wrong, pure and simple. No if, no but and no maybe about it. It’d be interesting if they went after Google. Still wrong but interesting. And yet it’s not Google they went after, it’s Women’s Aid. What does that say about the mentality and morality of the National Newspapers of Ireland and their agents?

Charles Arthur, The Guardian

Your eyes will pop at the amounts.

I would link to any coverage the matter had received in Irish Newspapers but there still has been none.


  1. “I would link to any coverage the matter had received in Irish Newspapers but there still has been none.”

    No surprise there – they probably fear excommunication if they talk about their suicide attempts.

    If Ireland had a decent web-based news service (outside of the cartel), it would be funny; as it is, it’s merely tragic.

  2. I really don’t get the logic behind this.

    Surely newspapers want to generate traffic to their websites and this in turn leads to more advertisement revenue?

    The recent coverage of the Savita case in the Irish Times led to the article in question becoming the most read and shared article in the history of the website.

    If people were charged for links (and this was somehow enforced) this, sharing of content would be seriously dampened.

    I understand that newspapers are eager to increase revenue and monetise their online content but this solution is frankly absurd and counter-productive.

  3. Interesting articles. Extremely short-sighted, but not unusual for an incumbent industry who’ve failed to embrace new technology since the invention of the printing press. By embracing it, they would merely cannibalise their sales.

  4. To me it seems so obviously utterly mindlessly stupid that the only reasoning I can see behind it would be to exploit reverse psychology: Creating a viral reaction on the internet, resulting in hundreds of new links to their content.

    Thus increasing their web presence for free. Google ranks their pages higher.

    People pay through the nose for this kind of publicity…

  5. As far as I’m aware the NLI licensing system is optional and only relates to commercial organisations or those hoping to make a commercial gain. In relation to hyperlinks it is more relevant sites that aggregate links. Therefore, it doesn’t apply to personal use e.g. RTs on personal accounts on social media. But let’s face it the last thing newspapers want is people to stop sharing links, especially as they try to cement their on line prescence. Legal cases have arisen abroad where people linked to deep links, which by-passed homepage advertising. (I personally don’t agree with this stance but I just wanted to point it out as it seems to have been misunderstood.)

  6. I honestly don’t know whether to find this funny or not. It makes you realise how silly some people are in Ireland.

    I’m sure some of these newspapers spend money on SEO, yet they want to go ahead with this – just doesn’t make any sense at all.

  7. Oh, ghod. They’ve put out a press release. They’re doubling down – they actually *mean* it.

  8. Hee hee. They’ve done that thing where you write 400 words of sense and then stick the bonkers bit in at the end hoping nobody will notice.

    What does “sending a link for commercial purposes” even mean??

  9. Firstly, I ignore the whole idea that a link published on a web site and copied and used on another site is like an advertisement in itself, a front door for new custom. It is not content, and it is not novel.

    But in the NLI says that “our view of existing legislation is that the display and transmission of links does constitute an infringement of copyright”. How is this so ?? Any explanation ??

    And how is a link the same as “republishing” – explain and demonstrate.

    And if for some reason it was copyrightable and t be paid for, how long would a license last ? What recompense would a licensee have when the link died, or when the content was moved or archived ? Would a new license have to be paid or would the new link require a new license ??

    Sounds like NLI need to buy a new dictionary, engage a new law firm, and get themselves some good PR before they become a global laughing stock.

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