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How To Save The Newspapers, Vol. XII: Outlaw Linking [Chicago judge would outlaw links, excerpts]
Tech Crunch / Slashdot ^ | 2009-06-28 | Erick Schonfeld

Posted on 06/28/2009 6:54:50 PM PDT by rabscuttle385

Of all the misguided schemes put forth lately to save newspapers (micropayments! blame Google!), the one put forth by Judge Richard Posner has to be the most jaw-dropping. He suggests that linking to copyrighted material should be outlawed.

No, Posner does not work for the Associated Press (which also has some strange ideas on linking). He is (normally) considered to be one of the great legal minds of our time. Posner is a United States Court of Appeals judge in Chicago and legal scholar who was once considered a potential Supreme Court nominee. He is someone who should know better. Yet in a blog post last week on the future of newspapers, he concludes there may be only one way to save the industry:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent . . .

Let me repeat that. He wants to “bar linking” to newspaper articles or any copyrighted material without the “copyright holder’s consent.” I am sorry Judge Posner, but I don’t need to ask your permission to link to your blog post or to a newspaper article online. That is just the way the Web works. If newspapers don’t like it, they don’t need to be on the Web.

Much of what Posner wants to outlaw is public discourse. Why is it okay for people to talk about the day’s news in a bar or barber shop, but not online? People should be able to discuss the day’s news on the Web without fear of violating copyright law. The natural way people discuss things on the Web is by quoting and linking to the source. (Except maybe Posner, he doesn’t seem to link to much of anything in his blog posts).

Posner never squares his position with freedom of speech or fair use rights. He doesn’t even mention them. Yet those are precisely the rights which allow me to paraphrase his argument without his permission so that I can disagree with it. Posner is more concerned with the “free rider” problem. You know, all of those “vampires” and “parasites” supposedly sucking the life out of newspapers by quoting from them or linking to their stories. Blogs and other sites just take content from newspapers, Posner asserts, but they share none of the costs of news gathering.

Of course, that blanket assertion is simply not true. A growing number of blogs, including TechCrunch, do their own news gathering and send writers to cover events at their own cost. But even if we limit the discussion to cut-and-paste sites, the free rider argument still doesn’t hold much water. You can’t be a free rider if you are giving something back of value. A link on its own is valuable.

Where does Judge Posner think all of these newspaper sites get their readers? It is mostly through links, not direct traffic. Removing the links would obliterate the majority of the online readership for many newspapers.

Beyond that, extending copyright law to criminalize linking would cripple the entire Web. In all of these debates, newspapers are always placed somehow at the center of the Web, completely ignoring the millions of other sites out there which have nothing to do with news. Yet changes to copyright law to make linking illegal would have much wider, unintended consequences. I can’t believe I even have to explain why this is a bad idea.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; blogs; chicago; copyright; delusional; democrats; drivebymedia; excerpts; govwatch; internet; liberals; links; lping; msm; newspapers; obama; posner; richardposner

1 posted on 06/28/2009 6:54:50 PM PDT by rabscuttle385
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To: bamahead; traviskicks; ShadowAce; Bokababe; calcowgirl
Much of what Posner wants to outlaw is public discourse. Why is it okay for people to talk about the day’s news in a bar or barber shop, but not online? People should be able to discuss the day’s news on the Web without fear of violating copyright law. The natural way people discuss things on the Web is by quoting and linking to the source.

*Ping!*

2 posted on 06/28/2009 6:56:07 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 ("If this be treason, then make the most of it!" —Patrick Henry)
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To: rabscuttle385

Copy-n-paste still works with proper citation regardless of a working/active link.

Furthermore, screenshots can do the same thing also given proper citation.


3 posted on 06/28/2009 6:57:00 PM PDT by cranked
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To: rabscuttle385

I’m going to be sick!


4 posted on 06/28/2009 6:57:35 PM PDT by TribalPrincess2U (The plan... 0 in power for life. At least that's what they told him.)
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To: cranked
The judge in question would ban all excerpting and linking, regardless of citation or medium of excerpt (text, screenshot, etc.).
5 posted on 06/28/2009 6:58:46 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 ("If this be treason, then make the most of it!" —Patrick Henry)
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To: rabscuttle385
He suggests that linking to copyrighted material should be outlawed.

It's worth a try.

6 posted on 06/28/2009 6:58:55 PM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all. -- Texas Eagle)
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To: rabscuttle385

[... Posner is a United States Court of Appeals
judge in Chicago and legal scholar...]

“Chicago scholar”? What’s not to understand?


7 posted on 06/28/2009 7:01:02 PM PDT by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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To: rabscuttle385
Removing the links would obliterate the majority of the online readership for many newspapers.

Nice going Judge, crash what's left of the MSM newspaper business!

8 posted on 06/28/2009 7:01:20 PM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.aroodawakening.tv)
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To: Jim Robinson

fyi


9 posted on 06/28/2009 7:02:38 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 ("If this be treason, then make the most of it!" —Patrick Henry)
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To: rabscuttle385

If you’re gonna outlaw hyperlinking, might as well outlaw the Internet. When free speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have free speech.

Bring it on bitches!

But keep your powder dry!


10 posted on 06/28/2009 7:10:57 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jimrobfr)
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To: rabscuttle385
A link is nothing more than a citation. Citations have always been legal.

But if you did outlaw links, you would also have to outlaw citations. This is because it would be simple to write a Greasemonkey script to scan through a page and convert all its citations into links, this taking place after the linkless page had been downloaded from the law-abiding server. LOL!

We need neither newspapers nor Posner.

11 posted on 06/28/2009 7:12:20 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: rabscuttle385
Pull all the index cards out of the public library's card catalogue too...you moron!
12 posted on 06/28/2009 7:14:06 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Jim Robinson

Becker-Posner Blog
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

The Future of Newspapers—Posner
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2009/06/the_future_of_n.html

The Social Cost of the Decline of Newspapers?Becker
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2009/06/the_social_cost.html


13 posted on 06/28/2009 7:16:27 PM PDT by Valin
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To: rabscuttle385

Man, the syllabus just writes itself. I teach grad level information policy and the past few weeks have been full of ‘OMG, I can’t believe this crap is happening’ technology/info policy stories. I can’t wait for the course to start.

The judge is delusional.


14 posted on 06/28/2009 7:17:59 PM PDT by radiohead (Buy ammo, get your kids out of government schools, pray for the Republic.)
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To: rabscuttle385

A Link is an address. It is the equivalent of a footnote. A
ruling or law against linking would be Kafkaesque.


15 posted on 06/28/2009 7:20:32 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: pray4liberty
That's what I'm thinking. You want to completely kill newspapers, and not a few online news sources? Just prevent others from linking to them. That would mean if you google'd for something, it wouldn't show up. (without express permission) If you read a related article or blog, no links to others on the same topic. No traditional citing of sources.

Far from protecting online sides of newspaper, I think this would completely kill them. If FR, google, or Linux Today doesn't point me to a site/story, I just don't get there.

I wonder if a news agency could give blanket approval to say google to link to their material? That'd keep them in the search engines. Of course, then everyone else would merely link to the google link... Probably the only net effect would be to up google's hit counts and advertising revenue...

16 posted on 06/28/2009 7:20:44 PM PDT by CodeMasterPhilzar (I'll keep my money, my guns, and my freedom. You can keep the "change.")
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To: Jim Robinson

FYI


17 posted on 06/28/2009 7:22:07 PM PDT by AliVeritas ( Pray, Pray, Pray)
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To: rabscuttle385

Where does Posner think most of their traffic comes from?


18 posted on 06/28/2009 7:34:08 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: CodeMasterPhilzar
That's what I'm thinking. You want to completely kill newspapers, and not a few online news sources? Just prevent others from linking to them. That would mean if you google'd for something, it wouldn't show up. (without express permission) If you read a related article or blog, no links to others on the same topic. No traditional citing of sources.

I am sure the papers would give blanket permission to Google and the other search engines. This is targeted to blogs and site like FR. Of course, the daily Kos would probably have permission so that only the lefties would get the news they want to hear.

19 posted on 06/28/2009 7:54:52 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: rabscuttle385

Who “owns” the news? And excerpting is well within the fair use doctrine.


20 posted on 06/28/2009 8:05:48 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: rabscuttle385

And then he’s going to come for your scissors and glue pot.


21 posted on 06/28/2009 8:25:26 PM PDT by La Lydia (.)
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To: rabscuttle385

These crack-down-on-the-internet solutions to make the newspapers successful is just more of the same blameshifting on the newspapers’ part. When it first became clear they were failing they blamed it on not enough racial diversity. Then they blamed it on a distracted public. Now it is the internet’s fault.

They will be totally screwed if web sites stop sending all traffic to them. What do they think is going to happen? Everyone who reads the net will be “forced” to run to the NYT’s web-site for news? Is that like when we were all “forced” to buy their liberal newspapers if we wanted any news...so we cancled our subscriptions?

Bless their empty hearts and minds, I see forced clicking and reading in our future!


22 posted on 06/28/2009 8:26:02 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: rabscuttle385

Shut down all public libraries!


23 posted on 06/28/2009 8:26:11 PM PDT by donna ("Democracy is not enough. If the culture dies, the country dies." - Pat Buchanan)
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To: rabscuttle385
-- [Posner] would ban all excerpting and linking --

And paraphrasing. That is a radical extension of copyright.

Posner is held out as nominally a conservative, FWIW. But in addition to being insane as to how far copyright ought to extend, he's VERY hostile to gun rights, and ought to be impeached on that basis alone.

SCOTUS in Presser v. Illinois: "... the states cannot, even laying the [second amendment] out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms ..."

2nd Circuit, in Bach v Pataki: "Presser stands for the proposition that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, whatever else its nature, is a right only against the federal government, not against the states." cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1174 (2006)

7th Circuit (Posner): Anyone who doubts that Cruikshank, Presser, and Miller have "direct application in [this] case" need only read footnote 23 in Heller. It says that Presser and Miller "reaffirmed [Cruikshank’s holding] that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government."

24 posted on 06/28/2009 8:42:55 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: rabscuttle385

At any rate, if a judge or a law has to be written to ‘save’ an already dying media medium, then said media mediums are already doomed to inevitable death.

Besides, a law or ruling is completely unnecessary in an age of variable and dynamic url’s, etc.


25 posted on 06/28/2009 8:48:10 PM PDT by cranked
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To: rabscuttle385

If this ever happened, the reason would be economics. papers survive by advertising. So the smart papers would allow hits to drive up numbers to make advertising more attractive.

The dumb ones would have to rely upon news interests, and there are just too many places to get news.

parsy, who figures all kind of stupid stuff will happen when papers start folding even more.


26 posted on 06/28/2009 8:52:27 PM PDT by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
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To: rabscuttle385

And so it starts....drip, drip, drip,......


27 posted on 06/28/2009 9:20:46 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: rabscuttle385
I haven't read the entire thread, but I have yet to see the other side of the coin:

If a Freeper sees and posts data on a breaking news story, can we prevent any other site, TV station, radio station and newspaper from linking or posting on the internet?

That almost could be fun!

Silly idiots have no idea what they're starting.

28 posted on 06/28/2009 9:33:15 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Publius6961

SO, ONE person could read the article and post a precis/prarphrase on any other site.

They may own a particular format of a story, but they do not own the facts.


29 posted on 06/29/2009 8:39:46 AM PDT by reformedliberal (Are we at high crimes or misdemeanors, yet?)
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To: CodeMasterPhilzar
You want to completely kill newspapers, and not a few online news sources? Just prevent others from linking to them. That would mean if you google'd for something, it wouldn't show up. (without express permission)

That feature already exists. It's called the Robots Exclusion Standard. You put a tiny robots.txt file in your top-level directory, containing a directive that tells search engine spiders to go away. All of the ones I'm aware of (certainly Google) honor the standard. That the newspapers are not using the standard proves your point: they don't want to be completely killed. LOL!

If you visit the Wall Street Journal without a subscription, many of the articles are marked "Subscriber Content" and only show you a brief preview if you do not have a subscription. However, if you access them through Google News, the whole article shows up. What gives? Well, WSJ figures being found via search is too good for traffic to pass up, so, if you come from Google, they show you the whole article, even if you didn't pay the $150 or whatever they're now charging for a subscription. However, it turns out if you're running Firefox, you can install the RefControl extension, which you can easily configure to make Firefox claim to have been referred by Google when on wsj.com, even if all you did was click the article on the wsj.com home page. Voila! Free subscription!

30 posted on 06/29/2009 10:38:23 PM PDT by cynwoody
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