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No Blog For You

I don't know if there's some sort of backstory to this, but the idea of threatening legal action against a blogger unless he stops quoting or -- weirder -- linking to their newspaper content is bizarre and repugnant.

February 15, 2005 | Permalink


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» Blogger threatened? from Freiheit und Wissen
...Apparently the Tulsa World does not care for the criticism against its editorial page. [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 15, 2005 6:10:05 PM

» No Blog For You from Can I Get A What What
Link: Matthew Yglesias: No Blog For You. This is very interesting indeed. Their attempt to bully you may lead to negative publicity that they really don't want, as well as investigation by other publications to see if there is a [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 15, 2005 10:47:57 PM


This would make for some lively cutting-edge copyright law analysis if it ever made it to court. Can there be such a thing as "unauthorized linking?" How would the plaintiff prove damages, and what would they be?

Posted by: moniker | Feb 15, 2005 4:58:03 PM

There are actually huge legal issues with this. Click on the name for more that I found on trying to somehow avoid this liability problem (not very well), but best bet is to go here: http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-operations/internet/internet-linking.html.

Posted by: the dangers of linking | Feb 15, 2005 5:08:14 PM

It's also not legally sound.

Posted by: Julie | Feb 15, 2005 5:30:07 PM

Not as cutting-edge as you might think.

My media librarian training is rusty, but the issue is, for most newspapers, one of someone using the newspaper's image or content without permission and thereby diluting the brand/undercutting sales.

Quotes are usually not a problem--but most bloggers in NA do not know the legal limits of what you can quote from an article (it's different in Canada and the US) and could easily violate that limit. For a newspaper, obvious problems arise when asking a newspaper subscriber to pay for content that some third party blogger posts on their site--particularly if they are not associated with the newspaper in question and could concievably charge for their own advertising, alter content, engage in libel, etc.

MErely linking is generally okay provided the blogger doesn't claim (or appear to be claiming) to have authored the piece or be associated with the newspaper.

However, deep-linking (making a link that bypasses advertisements, etc) is another matter entirely and is off-limits. You can't just link directly to a Nexis article, for example, it's important that you access it via a licensed interface.

As always, the devil is in the details of what the blogger was doing, but these kinds of letters are normally aimed at getting website-authors to back off.

Posted by: Wrye | Feb 15, 2005 5:39:12 PM

Trying to stop linking may be a bit much (although it is far from clear what the site's history is with the blogger), but it should be obvious to anyone paying attention that more than a few bloggers believe--erroneously--that they have the right under "fair use" to copy more original text than they actually do. Some newspaper sites have fought back, most haven't bothered, but that doesn't mean that they have given up their copyright.

Posted by: raj | Feb 15, 2005 5:48:24 PM

Actually, Tulsa World contradicts its own copyright statement for private and noncommercial use, if such intention is to include links. (Links aren't mentioned under copyright information, by the way.)

Tulsa Worlds says:

"Feel free to bookmark or list those pages on tulsaworld.com which you visit most often."
"We recommend that you don’t bookmark any of the individual stories as these pages expire frequently."

Elsewhere, Tulsa World does explain that copyright material can not be added to a person's web site without written permission. But that shouldn't apply to links because links are not text material. Moreover, noncommercial blogs are nothing more than personal diaries offered to the public for review, so Tulsa World is trying to dictate how an individual stores information retrieved from the public domain of the internet.

If Tulsa World did not want the general public to view any of its published and republished materials, then none of its online content would be made available to online viewers without subscription payment. That is not the case with all news articles published by Tulsa World.

Another web site could refer to a Tulsa World story using a generic title and provide the link to the page, article, or newspaper home page. What's the big deal about that?

Posted by: Movie Guy | Feb 15, 2005 5:52:07 PM

Yet another example of the Left's penchant for the silencing of speech. geez.

Posted by: Al | Feb 15, 2005 6:06:54 PM

"Yet another example of the Left's penchant for the silencing of speech"

What, you think the Tulsa World is some kind of leftist rag, Al? One can tell you've never been to Oklahoma . . .

Posted by: rea | Feb 15, 2005 6:16:05 PM

Yet another example of the Left's penchant for the silencing of speech. geez.

Zizka, what up?

Posted by: Al | Feb 15, 2005 6:19:20 PM

Good point Movie Guy. Bookmarking is simply a kind of linking so if we can't "deep-link" to certain pages, we can't bookmark it either. All Done!

Posted by: Dan the Man | Feb 15, 2005 7:19:34 PM

The times...they are a'changing....

The blogosphere is changing so fluidly and rapidly that the rules have a large unknown element. It's dynamic and exciting, but risky as we all pioneer new territory.

(How's that for multiple cliches?.....hahaha. It's true, though.)

Posted by: Deborah White | Feb 15, 2005 9:19:58 PM

Isn't this somewhat similar to the flap between tapped's Francke Garance-Ruta and Steve Sailer?

Posted by: sf | Feb 16, 2005 2:47:31 PM

Stupid linking policies are nothing terribly new.

Here's a retired blog that detailed some corporate offenders.

Posted by: Dan | Feb 16, 2005 4:10:42 PM

The aforementioned blog's description:

Don't Link to Us! links to sites that attempt to impose substantial restrictions on other sites that link to them. The Linking Policy for Don't Link to Us! precludes us from requesting permission to link to a site, and compels us to link directly to the targeted page (i.e., a "deep link") rather than to a site's home page. Descriptions of sites' linking policies generally are accurate (though often not complete) at the time they are posted here but are likely to change over time. On occasion a web site will modify its linking policy in response to public ridicule. Perhaps their appearance in Don't Link to Us! will help encourage some of these sites to move forward into the 20th century.

Posted by: Dan | Feb 16, 2005 4:13:23 PM

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