Doing It Wrong: Irish Newspaper Licensing Organization Asks Women’s Charity To Pay For Links

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An Irish women’s charity, Women’s Aid, linked to some articles on the Irish Examiner (like this, this, and this) and thought that all was right with the world. Heck, that’s how the Internet works, right?

It turns out that according to the Irish Newspaper Licensing organization, you need to pay to link to the newspapers. And there the troubles begin.

Arguably the INL is in the right in most cases. They offer a special calculator for licensing entire pages or stories and everybody likes to get paid for their work, so what’s up with this? Essentially, the organization charged the charity for simple links on its webpage, a move that suggests a certain amount of draconian fervor.

The charity’s lawyers posted a nice rebuttal to the request, noting that:

By way of example, Independent News and Media plc publications generally display, under each story, a number of icons, clicking on which allows the story to be linked to on social media. Stories in The Irish Independent can be shared via almost 100 different internet platforms. The Irish Times offers over 300 ways to link to articles. In each case, the “sharing” takes the form of a hyperlink, often including the headline of the article, and a short abstract. This abstract generally runs considerably longer than the 11 words the subject of the European Court of Justice’s decision in Infopaq International A/S v Danske Dagblades Forening (Case C-5/08). Given the prominence of these sharing and social media buttons on the websites of publications, they can be taken to form part of (if not to entirely supersede) the Terms of Use of the websites and their content. It should be noted that these social media buttons allow sharing not only via personal social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but also via website design platforms such as WordPress. In all cases, these platforms can be, and increasingly are used for commercial as well as personal purposes.

It seems, then, that the INL is overreacting in a particularly comical way. Obviously this sort of press attention will tone down the INL’s efforts and call off this attack but it’s interesting to see that this kind of stuff still happens on the Internet. It’s also interesting to see that the Irish Examiner has a great recipe for one pot lamb dinner.

via Faduda