I stumbled upon an idea by Judge Richard Posner on how to save the newspaper industry: let’s extend the copyright law to “bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent”. Therefore, I’m linking to his blog while I can! There are a couple of benefits for him in this.
- His blog gets traffic via my blog. Not much but hey, someone might click. Now they can.
- He is properly referenced so that my readers can check what I’m disagreeing with, and also read his point of view.
It seems (at least the under the current legislation) also appropriate to mention that I found Posner’s blog via TechCrunch. Therefore, I’ll also link to their article.
Neither copyright owner was asked for consent before I linked to their content. That’s how the Web works. If someone doesn’t like the Web and the way it works, maybe they shouldn’t use it to publish their copyrighted content in the first place.
In the very same sentence, Posner also suggests we should extend copyright law to “bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent”. I don’t understand why a copyright law extension would be necessary for this. As one of Posner’s readers notes (in case this isn’t obvious enough), we already need the copyright holder’s consent. The thing is, if you upload your materials onto the Internet and make it freely available to Web surfers, certainly everyone already has your consent to access it.
UPDATE Jul 6 – Simon Owens emailed with some figures on how much traffic he got from a single link on the notorious “leecher” of news content, the Huffington Post. One link, 37,000 eyeballs. ‘Nuff said.