GROWING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR NEWSNOW STANCE ON WEBLINK CHARGING
Over 60,000 people read Open Letter to UK national newspaper publishers in just two weeks
London, UK: NewsNow.co.uk, the UK’s largest homegrown news aggregator, continues to gain support in its campaign objecting to UK national and regional newspaper publishers' proposals to impose charges and controls on what it links to.
Over 60,000 people have read NewsNow’s Open Letter to UK national and regional newspaper publishers which called upon senior media executives to end legal threats to the news aggregation site. The company has also received hundreds of e-mails from concerned users who overwhelmingly support NewsNow’s stance on what the company can and should be allowed to link to freely.
The publishers of The Times, The Sun, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, and the Daily Express have all put pressure on NewsNow, along with the publishers of regional titles such as Johnston Press and Northcliffe Media.
Specifically, News International (publisher of The Times, The Sun and the News of the World) is asking NewsNow to cease all linking to content on its sites. In addition, a number of other publishers are threatening to seek a court injunction that would stop NewsNow linking if it doesn’t accept their proposed charges and controls.
According to Struan Bartlett, Managing Director and Chairman of NewsNow: “The big media owners seem to perceive us as exploiting their content commercially. They also assume that they have a right to impose charges and controls on what we do and are claiming copyright law as a legal justification. However, our business is not in reselling content, but quite the reverse. Our business is in enabling people to find others’ content, then driving them through to it — as do most other search engines. We should no more be paying them money, than Google should be paying every website it links to.”
Bartlett also noted that Google did not appear to be being similarly targeted by publishers. “However there is nothing to suggest that in principle Google is any more immune to these threats than NewsNow”, claimed Bartlett.
Unlike some other European countries, there are no explicit statutory protections for the operations of search engines, content aggregators, intermediary hyperlink providers and ‘location tools’ under UK law.
Continues Bartlett: “There are various provisions of UK law that we believe allow us to operate our services legitimately and without the need for the imposition of charges. UK law provides for a balance between the rights of content owners and the freedoms of users to access and communicate information. For example, the law provides for the freedom to reproduce small amounts of content, which it is generally accepted covers the quoting of news headlines and web addresses. Some publishers clearly have a different view and it has not been tested in court how certain aspects of the relevant law apply.”
A number of UK newspaper publishers are continuing to demand compensation from NewsNow for circulating links to their websites, regardless of whether people click on them or not. Says Bartlett; “Right now, it’s unclear how much accepting this would cost us. But this isn’t about the levels of compensation. It’s about what deserves compensation. It’s the principle of publishers restricting and levying fees on link aggregation and link circulation we’re bothered about, and the long-term consequences for the web, freedom to link, freedom of expression and access to news, and our right to go about our lawful business without being threatened.”
Concludes Bartlett: “The impact of the publishers’ proposed charges and controls on link aggregation services like ours is not in the public interest or compatible with newspapers’ stated desire to safeguard journalism and to protect freedom of expression, freedom of communication and access to news. We have been very pleased with the volume of interest and public support for our view. We sincerely hope that publishers will take note of the growing public feeling on these issues and will find different ways to generate revenues and end their attempts to to impose these unjustified charges and unreasonable controls on linking.”
To read NewsNow’s Open Letter, click here.
For a more detailed Q&A about the issues, click here.
To follow NewsNow on Twitter, click here.
NewsNow.co.uk (aka NewsNow) has been aggregating links to Internet news since it was founded in 1997. Today, it is the UK’s largest homegrown news aggregator. It has 20 percent of the market, second only to Google.
Fully automated, and on a continuous basis, NewsNow updates breaking headlines linking to news websites all around the world. NewsNow’s mission is to help provide people with links to the news they need to read, and publishers with people to read the news they write.
Today NewsNow links to over 37,000 news sources, including top news brands. NewsNow.co.uk performs an important public interest role, by referring people to mainstream and alternative news on a single platform.
NewsNow operates by matching breaking news articles, in real time, against keyword-based topic specifications, delivering relevant links to users, and relevant readers to publishers.
The NewsNow.co.uk website, which is among the UK's top news destinations, is generally visited by over 2 million users monthly and receives more than 100 million page views per month.
For further press information:
Managing Director and Chairman
Tel: 0845 838 8890
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