Posted on January 4, 2013 4:00 PM   |   Permanent Link   

Seán Kenny, the Dublin Bay North Labour TD and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications has stated it is absurd for the National Newspapers of Ireland organisation (NNI) to say that links to its member sites is a breach of copyright unless a license is sought to do so, or if the links are for personal use.

"Over their long history, newspapers have successfully faced up to the challenges posed by a succession of technological developments such as photography, radio and TV, and they really need to take a more imaginative approach in dealing with the challenge posed by the burgeoning online media sector."

"The world wide web, since its inception 20 years ago has revolved around one website linking to another via what is known as "hypertext". It is the very lifeblood of the World Wide Web and for the NNI to claim that this could form a breach of copyright is nothing short of absurd, and bordering on the outrageous. It is also my view that this assertion has absolutely no basis in law."

"I am most unhappy to hear that the NNI have been claiming that any commercial entity linking to an NNI site, such as the Irish Times or Irish Independent would be in breach of copyright because of a mere website link and am even more unhappy to hear that a charity has been asked to pay money to the NNI. This is completely wrong."

"On a wider level, what of websites like - if members there post links, are those members liable for supposed copyright breaches or is the company that operates liable? What if I, as an elected representative, make a link to a newspaper website on my own website as part of my work - am I liable?"

"The internet and world wide web have fundamentally changed society and businesses that do not see this and realise that they need to adapt to this change need to urgently consider how they are approaching their business. I note that NNI are not inferring that private individuals would be liable for this supposed breach of copyright, but the NNI really need to take on board that what they are suggesting hurts freedom of speech and also hurts innovation."

"Much is made of Ireland as a digital smart economy. It is time for the NNI to realise that and to take on board that their assertion in this matter may well damage the economy, the digital smart economy that the Government is keen to establish. I intend to raise this matter in the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and I will be asking the NNI to explain themselves and hopefully make them see that their interpretation of copyright law in this matter is, to say the least, completely misguided."