German proposal to control links to news stories: headlines, 3s of video, 128 pixel thumbnails

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That’s a serious amount of micromanaging from the legislature. 128 pixels is how big on a modern retina display? Roughly 1cm?

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This is just another part of a wider campaign for censoring the internet. What they really want is to go back to a time when people only had access to news vetted by these newspapers, and stop individuals from expressing their political views online:


This seems curiously self-defeating.

“Excellent! The linking directive is now law. Those freeloaders won’t be able to steal our content any more, and we can finally make the profits we deserve.”

(1 month later) “That’s odd. Traffic on all our major properties has fallen by 70%. And now our advertisers are threatening to leave.”

“Uh, is it just possible that the inbound links were actually driving traffic to us, and that by imposing insane restrictions, we’ve made it less likely that people will come to our sites?”

“Nonsense! Of course not! There must be something else … let’s pass another law – no more than 64 pixels, and one randomly-selected word from the headline! That’ll fix it!”


The law sounds awful and it will have a huge negative impact on peoples communication on the internet.
But, the people will find a way around it, while those publishers just shot themselves in the foot and some of them will end up bankrupted.

I don’t buy the idea that there is a more nefarious agenda than just greed from publishers.
They should know that it only take a few publishers to defect and take all the traffic lost by the ones who want a share of the link tax, and the link tax had already failed disastrously where it was implemented, e.g., Spain.
If they don’t know that, maybe it is better that they fail to leave space for the new.

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How do we know if a link goes to a European site?

Looks to me like a German site could register a .CA domain, redirect it to their European home, and claiming the link tax from anyone who innocently linked to the .ca

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Yes, it’s about greed. Yes, it’s about ignorance. And - it’s about closing the agora, removing open conversation between citizens, and replacing it with a top down source of information and directive. Drag their ignorant, greedy asses into the street, pull down their poopy pants and spank them - hard - financially, socially and physically - continuously - for generations. It’s the only way.

We could sell tickets.

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I feel like, if the buggy whip makers held so much power over the course of politics back in the day, we wouldn’t have cars. Yet here we are, a dying industry fucking over everyone in the world because they can’t – or don’t want to – shift gears.

But it’s not just newspapers. If someone’s livelihood is in danger of being snuffed out by progress, and they are unable to pivot, they will do everything they can to keep it going. And if they have money to buy politicians to pass laws that stave off their passing, they will.

So many things need to change, but the titans of industry have death grips on the legal means of change, and they’re willing to twist down into up as long as they stay on top, no matter how many people or generations they hurt.

As long as power and laws are for sale, we – the powerless non-millionaires – are fucked. I mean, we always have been. It just the fucking is far more obvious these days. No more darkness, no more lube.

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The main motivation for having this is the fanciful notion that the ancillary copyright will force Google to pay the newspaper publishers for the privilege of driving traffic to their sites. The problem with this is that Google will tell the newspaper publishers that they had better waive any payment or else be de-listed from Google completely. This is what happened when the previous installment of the German ancillary copyright for press publishers had been enacted – the whole charade lost the press publishers way more money in legal fees than they ever made through licensing, trying to get the courts to compel Google to go along with the scheme, which of course didn’t go anywhere (because even in Germany you cannot force someone to buy stuff from you).

At the end of the day, the ancillary-copyright scheme only hurts anyone who wants to provide a news overview site or search engine while not being Google. Smaller players don’t have the same kind of leverage and thus need to go along with the scheme. How our lawmakers figure that this will, finally, lead to the emergence of a “German” or “European” Google workalike that will reduce our dependence on the giant from Silicon Valley – which is something that they would really, really like to see – is anybody’s guess.

Finally, individual bloggers still get to link to news articles – the links themselves aren’t covered under the ancillary copyright and nor are the headlines of articles, only the article bodies are. Therefore if you write a blog post and link to an article on a newspaper site, as long as you don’t quote the actual article you ought to be in the clear. It’s the automated link aggregators which need to watch out.

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Do they think they could win in a Canadian court?

The way this is going in Europe, would they even need to?

It seems to be getting set up as automatic at the gatekeepers. I’d love to be wrong.

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