The 9-12 Project of Central PA

"You Are NOT Alone!"


Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America's most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission. The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying:

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, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

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I am not sure why this is an issue...

Aggregators are making use of RSS (or other type) feeds, that are supplied by the news sites in question. If the owners of those sites don't want aggregators collecting feeds from those sites, they can simply shut them off.

Also, it is possible for a site to prevent linking to articles that they don't want to make publicly available, while still allowing access by users of that site directly.

Lastly, it is already illegal to just copy and paste articles from other sites on your own site, if the Terms of Use of the source site prohibit it. Any legitimate web host will shut down your site if they receive complaints that you have posted copyrighted material. That is why I urge everyone posting here to pay attention to those terms, when copying material from other sites.

So the technology and laws already exist to prevent this, if it is really a problem. Why do we need new laws?
Perhaps like McCain - Feingold and so much of what passes for vitally needed legislation, the real purpose is not what is stated.


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