$50 charge to link to a story?
December 28, 2000 8:51 AM   Subscribe

$50 charge to link to a story? it just makes me want to spend some money.
posted by cheesebot (11 comments total)
And who's supposed to pay in this example? Is it me, cheesebot, or would it be MetaFilter's responsibility?
posted by cheesebot at 8:53 AM on December 28, 2000

They could actually do referer checking, which would make everyone not behind a proxy screwed if they didn't accept the linker...
posted by fvw at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2000

Oh, ignore previous comment. They mentioned it in the article (though i'm not sure how you can check referer in 'HTML code')
posted by fvw at 9:04 AM on December 28, 2000

It's a ridiculous policy, and what's most surprising is that the companies who are paying iCopyright to administer this service aren't even aware of the charge for linking. The Kansas City Business Journal (and all other similar papers owned by American City Business Journals) use this service, and when I wrote to them about it they responded that they certainly encouraged linking to individual stories and were just trying to provide a service to clients (presumably the reprinting stuff).

posted by daveadams at 9:08 AM on December 28, 2000

That's terrible. I know sites are having trouble making money, but this is plainly not going to work. I would like to know what moron in their legal department ever thought it would.

posted by norm at 9:10 AM on December 28, 2000

If I get a bill for $150 from this thread starter, I'll be sure to post it.
posted by mathowie at 9:16 AM on December 28, 2000

Uh oh
posted by cheesebot at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2000

of all the backwater, underhanded, *mutter mutter*...

albuquerque sucks, man. i'd rather read the albuquerque trib anyway.
posted by sugarfish at 10:05 AM on December 28, 2000

What seems more insidious, to me, is this:

'The iCopyright.com license agreement also restricts what can be said about the content of the linked-to article. If you sign up to pay $50 to link to, say, an Albuquerque Journal article, you agree not to say anything "derogatory" about "the author, the publication from which the content came, or any person connected with the creation of the content or depicted in the content." '

First of all, charging 50 bucks for a link is like charging someone everytime they say "Hey, check out today's Sport's Section, there's a great picture of so-and-so."

But the italicized bit, that's just evil. Not only would I have to pay for the right to advertise your site on mine, suddenly you get control over what I say, too? Nuh-uh, that's just Not Right.

I can't even remotely see how this is in any way legal.

Hey, I'm violating your copyright! (see "Linking to iCopyright.com section).

although setting up an account is free, that's good... (eyes rolling...)

Sigh. You know, the idea of enforcing reproduction rights isn't in itself inherently evil, and if they've figured out a reasonable scheme of paying people for content (which I highly doubt is possible for online content) then more power to them, but charging for links?

I mean, can the brilliant CEO that thought this POS idea up really not fathom that a) the Internet was built on hyperlinks and b) linking to another site is advertising for that site. Also, every person who follows that link is generating advertisment revenue for the site via their ad banners. A page view's a page view.

If they were actually able to enforce that linkage fee, how quickly would those sites die because no one links to them? The much-maligned incestuous nature of personal sites (it extends beyond webloggers) is what generates traffic for a lot of sites. Hype can be bought, but word-of-mouth hype is what makes a group of 3 people in a basement able to start a company of 500 employees with big offices and massive IPO.
posted by cCranium at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2000

I wish I had started charging for links to my site ages ago, imagine how many people are going to link to them to make a point, like cheesebot did. Cleverest traffic-building technique I've seen in ages.
posted by beefula at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2000

Do the advertisers know that the paper is trying to thwart traffic toward their ads?

I used to be news editor for a newspaper site, and we did ask people who copied our stories to their sites not to do so, although we made a lot of exceptions. But linking back to the paper's site? What's wrong with that? And I have to play nice?

Remember, kids: Links to www.jillmatrix.com are still free. Snotty commentary encouraged, even preferred.
posted by jillmatrix at 3:46 PM on December 28, 2000

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