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Newspaper licensing body issues statement on "paying for links"

Newspaper Licensing Ireland has issued a 64-word statement on its position on paying for links following much discussion online.

THE ORGANISATION WHICH collects money from websites which it says breaks copyright by linking to Irish newspapers has issued a statement on its position following much discussion online.

In a 64-word statement posted on its website, Newspaper Licensing Ireland set out its stance on charging for links, saying:

For personal use: NLI never requires or requests a licence for personal use of newspaper content.
For commercial use: NLI does not require a licence from any organisation which only displays or transmits links to newspaper content. A licence is required when there is other reproduction of the newspaper content, such as display of PDFs or text extracts.

The statement appears to contradict information which was sent to charity Women’s Aid in 2012 by NLI. Solicitor Simon McGarr published extracts from correspondence sent to the charity which stated that:

A licence is required to link directly to an online article even without uploading any of the content directly onto your own website.

The NLI is a subsidiary of National Newspapers of Ireland, which represents 16 national newspapers and 25 local and regional newspapers across Ireland.

Today’s NLI statement echoes comments made by the NNI on Friday, when the newspaper body said that “copying activity” which would require payment included reproducing an extract from an article or the full text of the article along with the link.

The NNI also asserts that a hyperlink from one website to another can constitute copyright infringement.

The majority of Irish newspapers have not commented on the ongoing situation.  However the Irish Times has said that it is in favour of people linking to its site.

In an opinion piece today, the newspaper’s Chief Innovation Officer Johnny Ryan said the issue for the Irish Times is one of reproduction of content rather than linking:

A clear separation of the benign issue of “linking to” content from the more fraught issue of “reproduction of” content is required to allow the copyright debate to proceed on the correct footing.

Read: Oireachtas to question newspapers over ‘paying for linking’ >

Read: NNI: No objection to newspaper content “being used for personal use” >

Column: Newspapers are seeking to outlaw the free exchange of ideas >

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