Sunday, June 28, 2009

Connie Schultz Advocates for Changes to Copyright Law

There is a column up on the PD website by Connie Schultz in which she argues that the United States copyright law should be changed to protect newspapers. The idea, which she credits to a lawyer from the same law firm that represents the PD and a economics professor from Arkansas, involves prohibiting sites that aggregate news articles from profiting from the aggregation.

The theory is that sites like Newser and The Daily Beast, which link to articles on newspaper sites, are profiting from the aggregation without sharing the revenue with the linked to newspaper sites. Schultz argues that they are basically ripping off the newspapers which produced the original article.

The two men she quotes are proposing some sort of revenue sharing arrangement and a prohibition on aggregation sites linking to stories during the first 24 hours a story is up and running.

Another possibility would be to treat newspaper articles like recorded music. If a radio station plays a record, they have to pay the owner of the rights to the record a fee. They also have to keep records of what they play and when they play it. It is not a perfect system, but it prevents radio stations from making money off the efforts of others.

The problem, of course, is what to do about links to newspaper articles in sites, such as this one, that doesn't generate revenue. If we put a link in one of our posts should we have to pay? On the one hand we are benefiting from the work of others, such as Ms. Schultz, but on the other hand we are not making any money from her work.

In any event, it is a good article and brings up a lot of interesting points. You can go to and read the whole article.

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