Nikkei, Japan's business newspaper, pulls some 2001 anti-linking tricks

Remember back during the days of Netscape when folks tried to use Javascript to prevent you from copying their images? You’d get a little window that says “YOU ARE A THIEF! HOME HOTLINKING IS KILLING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!” and then you’d view source, grab the image tag, and be on your way? Well Nikkei just pulled out its Learn HTML 1.0 in 48 Hours book and is now preventing links to its articles and severely limiting right clicking on its exciting home page.

According to the NYT, Nikkei not only stops right clicking but now requires a written application to link to its news, citing issues with the free vs. paid model that has essentially destroyed American news-gathering as well as concerns that its precious news will end up in pump and dump scams.

Obviously any self-respecting pump-and-dumper will figure out how to bypass these scripting tricks but it’s interesting to see other news organizations in other countries essentially flipping out as they watch the bloodbath that we are currently facing. In all honestly, however, this won’t work. What publishers will have to do is convince the next generation to pay for digital content and, thanks to a number of factors, I think they will succeed. For all the lip-service paid to the “rise of the amateur” and the magic of curated content, the world will be a dull and sad-eyed place without a certain number of savvy media producers. Although most local papers add little of interest to their readers day – my hometown paper, the Columbus Dispatch, is basically a collection of AP stories and fluff and is now as thick as a pamphlet – folks like WSJ and the New York Times, while dinosaurs, are highly-evolved dinosaurs with a full set of skills, resources, and sources at their disposal.

So let Nikkei build up walls. We’ll work around them.