National Newspapers of Ireland Wants You to Pay to Link to Their Online Stories

NNI claims linking back to one of its e-zines is copyright infringement

The National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI), which represents publications like Irish Times, the Irish Examiner and the Irish Independent, has taken new steps to safeguard their creative content against what they deem copyright infringement: by asking to pass a law that would require you to pay to link to their online stories.

The issue of copyright infringement is too complicated to even attempt to discuss in a simple blog post, so we’ll just stick to the facts on this one, as reported by Silicon Republic.

The short story is that the NNI wants anyone who links to one of their stories online to pay – roughly €300 ($395.5) per year per link, even if they don’t use any of the content in the original story, just insert the link.

“National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) said today it made a submission to the Copyright Review Committee to the effect that it believes the display and transmission of links under current legislation constitutes an infringement of copyright law,” Silicon Republic reports.

The NNI confirms this in a statement, stressing that all the fuss around the issue is somewhat exaggerated: they’re not asking money from regular users who might link to their stories for personal reasons, but only for those who make a profit out of this.

This means any news publication, blog or e-zine, but word online has it that, if the law passes, it could even extend to Twitter or Facebook, where links are circulated back and forth between users and no one would ever think to pay for the “right” of doing so.

Even without the law, the NNI feels entitled to ask for money in exchange of the right to link back to their stories: in a letter that’s already gone viral, solicitor Simon McGarr warns charity Women’s Aid, on behalf of the NNI, that they linked a story without permission and, most importantly, without paying.

The irony here is that the story in question covered Women’s Aid, the kind of work it does and how anyone interested can donate to help the organization reach out to even more abused and battered women.

Again, the conversation on this topic could be a very long one, so we’d gladly hear back from you instead.

As it so happens the NNI isn’t the only one to take steps into this direction, as we already reported on similar cases here, here and here.

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