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The Right to Link

By Michael Kenrick :  20/01/2010 :  Comments (39) :
For those of you who have been reading this website for a while and are aware of how the Internet works, it should come as no surprise that most of our news items are gleaned from other services, known as Web Aggregators.

By far the best for many a long year has been NewsNow, which has until recently provided a good reliable source for Everton news and articles published on the internet by what I will call the professional media — newspapers, magazines, broadcasters — professional journalists if you like.

Sadly, as the internet and the world around it both evolve, our ability to capture, provide a link to, and archive the more meaningful events and commentaries on all things Everton gets increasingly more difficult. You'd think with the internet and what was once called the Information Highway, it would be getting easier... but nothing could be further from the truth.

The latest salvo comes in the form of a push by a group known ominously as the Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA) who are audaciously to license the very act of hyper-linking or web linking. Personally, I believe web-linking to be an inalienable human right of any internet user, and the thought of it being licensed for the profit of a few is utterly abhorrent to me.

NewsNow are doing their bit to fight this NLA initiative, and we should all do what we can to support the right to link as a vital step in maintaing the freedom of the internet. But as a result, it has lead NewsNow to drop linking to a host of prime sources that form the NLA, and as a result, NewsNow is but a shadow of its former self, shorn of almost all of these 'old media' sources.

Hopefully, the NLA initiative is doomed to fail, but it the meantime, there is something you can help us with: please submit weblinks to current Everton stories, wherever you find them on the internet. Not just the old media, but anything that you think is newsworthy.

SImply copy and paste the web address (URL) from the top of your browser, into an e.mail or mailbag item. Perhaps some of our thousands of daily readers can help here to take up the slack until tis issue is hopefully made to go away.

Oh, and if you're worried abut getting dinged yourself for posting web links, please don't worry, we will assure your anonymity, and we will take all the responsibility... for as long as we can, at least.

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Dick Fearon
1   Posted 20/01/2010 at 08:56:21

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Not content with raking in enormous wealth from his Sky holdings, the dirty digger is at the forefront of this latest attempt to profit from or limit the freedom of the internet. The sooner the better when Sky loses its domination over sport.

What a terrible shock that would be for profit orientated entrepreneurs, carpet baggers, money launderers, over-paid players and their agents not to mention the growing band of so called pundits. All those and the multitude of other leeches that infest our game might be forced to live in the same world as ordinary folk.

Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 20/01/2010 at 09:29:59

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Taxes, fear, control, conformity.
Tony I'Anson
3   Posted 20/01/2010 at 09:43:11

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When vast sums of money are being won and lost during the digital revolution I think it was only a matter of time before the old v new media battlelines were drawn yet again.

Did Amazon not try and fail at one point in the 90’s to patent the new phenomena that was "affiliate marketing" that has effectively made Google the financial powerhouse it is today. Affiliate markeing is when a link is provided from one website to another giving a financial reward for the website owner every time the link is clicked on.

Michael, care to reveal how much gross revenue has been earned from Everton fans clicking on the adverts on Toffeeweb over the years? As a TW fan I couldn’t care less how much you make and good on you. But we live in a capitalist world and when money is involved at some point this was bound to happen.
Tony I'Anson
4   Posted 20/01/2010 at 10:19:42

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Just read the News Now article. Maybe they would have more of a case if they took off the adverts on the right hand side of their web pages that obviously generate them revenue from the 2 million visitors a month coming to the website. And made member subscriptions free. I think the real issue is who is generating the content and who is getting the financial reward for it.

If you ran a bakery and spent all morning making your cakes, then someone came along and took them off you to share amongst their friends - becasue they were such good cakes, would you be slighlt annoyed? On the other hand, if they paid for the cakes, you would be a truely happy cake maker. Ever heard the story of the Little Red Hen?

I’ve got no problem with forms of media that collate content for the benefit of their subscriber base and link to various forms of news. Yes, the "right to link". But maybe NewsNow should be paying a fee for the original content generated. After all, where would they be without this. A cake maker with no flour?
Nick Entwistle
5   Posted 20/01/2010 at 10:46:20

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I view this like the music you can download online. Everything out there is to be shared by individuals, and no one can just barge in and think they can charge, and invent rules so that we must comply.

For the record, I have never clicked on an internet ad in my life!
Tony I'Anson
6   Posted 20/01/2010 at 10:58:39

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Fair point Nick, but should it not be the decision of the person who wrote, performed and recorded the song to decide if he wants to share it or not for a charge or for free?

That’s the whole point central to this issue.
Alan Clarke
7   Posted 20/01/2010 at 11:09:06

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The internet is so vast it’s difficult to police. There’s always loopholes a way round these things so I’m sure this will only be a temporary problem.
Tony I'Anson
8   Posted 20/01/2010 at 11:14:41

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Alan, they said it was impossible to monetise search, but Google did it.

If the charging for content to website portals like NewsNow and many others comes into force, the charging will be automated and effectively self policing. We already know how to track links using Googles simple command to see who is linking to this website.
Jamie Rowland
9   Posted 20/01/2010 at 11:29:38

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SImple way to get petition numbers up and raise awareness...
... a Facebook group page and all the nutters (and house wives) that religiously scour facebook will sign up...

Gerry Quinn
10   Posted 20/01/2010 at 11:58:06

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Tony I’Anson
I’m sitting comfortably - what’s the Little Red Hen story - or is it copyright?
Tony I'Anson
11   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:13:24

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With the Right to Link still available on the Internet....
Gerry Quinn
12   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:18:55

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Brilliant story, Tony - wasn’t aware of that one - love the pictures too! Ha, LOL
Mark Reid
13   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:22:39

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The whole issue has been sparked by Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Is anyone really bothered by what the Sun and The News of the World say?

No. Its going to collapse. They’ve made a huge error.

Tim Berners Lee’s blogged on the issue before - people will just adjust their surfing habits to compensate or will come up with technological work arounds.

Google and Yahoo! have developed feed readers and have been hugely involved in the whole Web2.0 concept.

The Murdoch empire pales in comparison to the vast array of huge corporations who already make money from a FREE internet.
Mark Reid
14   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:26:19

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This could be a "The Truth" size boycott but on a potentially international scale.

- based on what Tim Berners Lee’s previously written on similar subjects.

Basically, who cares about those two publications?
Michael Westcott
15   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:27:24

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@Tony I’Anson

I don’t think your analogy is 100% accurate. The bakery in this case sells their cakes in the shop, but also gives them away for free on the internet for reason’s best known to themselves.

All Newsnow have done is publicise the fact that the cakes are given away for free on the internet.

Newsnow have their own sideline in advertising other people’s wares on the same page where they put the links to the free cakes.

The bakery also has adverts on it’s website from which it makes money, so Newsnow are in fact pushing customers to the site of the cake shop and increasing it’s revenue from the adverts there too.

If the bakery wants to give it’s cakes away for free, it’s up to the bakery. If anything, as a result of their shortsightedness the bakery will now lose revenue from people clicking on the adverts on its website due to the fact fewer people will now visit their site.
Dick Fearon
16   Posted 20/01/2010 at 12:22:59

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It is another example of the stupendously rich squeezing more out of the little bloke. The cost of advertising is an impost on everything we purchase. If the dirty digger and SKY love football it is only because of the enormous advertising revenue it earns. Pure greed is driving this issue and it is sickening.
Nick Entwistle
17   Posted 20/01/2010 at 11:39:41

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I see where you’re coming from...


Not many decades ago the big hits of the day were sold by sheet music for pennies.
Then a record industry built up around the physical product, and recording, packaging, promotion and distribution needed to be paid for, and fair enough, people paid the cash.
Now, people are not conforming under the imposed rules set by an industry whose rise and decline is based on the physical product in a modern medium given to the world for free, for freedom itself.
If labels now want to spend millions on music that will become available for no charge they can, but sound is ethereal stuff. Big bands, or unknown bedroom artists; Once out there online it is all the same. Why? Because sound has no hierarchy.

In favour of the artist, with a physical product people didn’t gamble their cash away on something their ears may not find accessible, so people mainly stuck to what they knew they liked.
Now, we can be adventurous and take a chance. My collection has gone from Britpop in the 90s to stuff now like Robert Wyatt through to Sam Cooke and Manu Chau, and that’s just the tip o the iceberg of what is out there.
Sales may not be up, but discovery of artists of different eras and styles are slowly liberating people and increasing the audience of the performer. What artist would argue against that?

Labels did no more than force us to buy what was placed in front of us on shelves, promoting the most accessible music and increasing their profits. That way of thinking gave us Boyzone and the rest of the shite.

If you apply that thinking and see how NLA wish to CONTROL information, you can see why many would be against it. I’m no tree-hugging hippy, but freedom of information is more important than profit margins.

Why should life always be considered under the umbrella of money and control?

Oh and erm, Everton, yeah Cahill, Osman, and IMWT etc…
Tony I'Anson
18   Posted 20/01/2010 at 13:09:34

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Good observation, Michael, and you have the analogy bang on correct. But even if it means that the media generators are losing traffic and click through revenue because they have blocked NewsNow, surely it has to be their choice of whether to allow or deny a third party to use their material.

Is it not like walking into a pub and using the toilet without even buying a drink? Ok, it hasn’t cost the licencee anything, but it would have been nice to have asked if you could wee on his floor.
Tony I'Anson
19   Posted 20/01/2010 at 13:17:23

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I am all for freedom of information, Right to click, real consumer choice etc.

I am not for controlling information that should be available at all times, but without paying professional journalists penning proper, thought out and coherent arguments in whatever medium what will we end up with anyway as a reliable information source?

I can understand the fears too that once laws are passed that the NLA may abuse that power. I am arguing the case for allowing the person(s) who generated the information to choose whether to give it away or sell it. Not for the control of the information itself.

We live in a capitalise economy where money talks and they are the rules we are governed by so that’s why "life always has to be considered under the umbrella of money and control".

And Everton are great and lets hope we keep hold of Fellaini.
Michael Westcott
20   Posted 20/01/2010 at 13:20:37

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I see what you’re saying but in this instance the pub actively allows the public to use it’s toilet for free anyway. Those that chose to can pay 40p get a hand towel to dry their hands, or you can juse the toilet and then ’wash and walk’ for free having used the service just as much as those who paid... albeit with slightly damper hands.

All newsnow have done is tell people that they can use the wash and walk service for free and then sent people directions into the pub to use the toilet... The pub possibly benefiting from all the passing trade from all the people who are now frequenting their free toilets.
Nick Entwistle
21   Posted 20/01/2010 at 13:34:30

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I don’t live in an economy.
And 99% of professional journalists are biased, inflamatory, shit stiring, ill informed company men.

Do we not know more about Everton through TW contributees than by 100 news sources?

Any information placed under financial restrictions will be manipulated to control, and its those journalists as described who will be pushed forth before all others.

If there were not shareholders to consider, and control to be gained, this issue would never happen.

Oh, and I’m sure someone mentioned music, looks like they didn’t. I wouldn’t have therefor dived into it with overkill.

ps: Everton, 4-5-1, Kenwright, Golden Vision
Mickey Dee
22   Posted 20/01/2010 at 14:18:38

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The obvious one
Mickey Dee
23   Posted 20/01/2010 at 14:35:00

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Michael, there are so many great sites out there for up-to-the-minute Everton news: you will probably be inundated.
Are you going to make a ’linkbase’ available on TW?,16370,1774,00.html
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
24   Posted 20/01/2010 at 14:44:18

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Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear, Mickey. I don’t need a list of other aggregators, thanks. What I was looking for is links to stories of significant Everton interest that you may have seen but that we have not linked to. And we need the link to the specific page, rather than the site itself. Thanks.

Mickey Dee
25   Posted 20/01/2010 at 14:48:06

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No probs, but those sites are direct links to the Everton content and have similar up-to-the-minute updates to the NewsNow site.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
26   Posted 20/01/2010 at 15:50:00

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Tony, I don’t understand your analogies. It’s an ADDRESS they are trying to copyright — not a product.

URL — Universal Resource Locator... the address of the bakery, the address of the pub, if you must.

What sense does that make?
Gerry Morrison
27   Posted 20/01/2010 at 16:36:17

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The days of free news content are probably numbered. A sign of the times, today the New York Times announced that it is going to end its free service and start charging to access the site. Eventually they will all follow suit.
Tony I'Anson
28   Posted 20/01/2010 at 16:42:12

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Hello Michael. The URL is only the "signpost" (as suggested in the NewsNow video) to the content which is what is being debated.

Gerry, I have a feeling that you are correct, even if they are only charging a nominal amount ($1 a month) per user it will mean the content generator is being paid. If people do not want to pay, they don’t have to. That’s their choice.


The question then is where does it end. Will start charging to use their "embed" code to play any of the videos on our own websites, iPhones, Facebook account etc? This is currently freely available and the content is volunteered up by Internet users.

Dennis Stevens
29   Posted 20/01/2010 at 16:54:01

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Most "news" isn’t, especially as regards Everton.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
30   Posted 20/01/2010 at 18:08:26

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Having commented on this issue on another non-football site in the vein of Michael’s post, I was interested to read a subsequent comment that suggested that the NLA’s chief beefs are two-fold: first that NewsNow has to actually index the content of the article in question and not just the link; and, second, that they charge subscription fees for some of their services to deliver that content.

If NewsNow simply provided manual links to the NLA sites, then there probably wouldn’t be an issue, so it’s technically not an issue of "the right to link."

Having said that, there is an element of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face here because whereas I used to visit sites like all the time through NewsNow, I can’t recall the last time I went there since they blocked NewsNow. On the flip side, I’m still regularly clicking through to The Guardian and The Mail to read the latest transfer bollocks.

Multiply my habit by the thousands and you get a lot less eyeballs on the NLA sites.
Dick Fearon
31   Posted 20/01/2010 at 19:16:31

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As Lyndon said, we can win the battle against corporate greed by following Aussie yellow pages advice by letting our fingers do the walking. when business notes a big drop in its advertising ’hits’ the providers would quickly change their double dipping dirty tactics.

In this battle the power really is in the hands of the people.

Mark Reid
32   Posted 20/01/2010 at 19:35:54

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Mike... and the Toffeeweb editiorial team.

You could always use the programme Yahoo! Pipes or any other mash up programme to get around some of the issues.

And URL isn’t really URL any more URI is the correct terminology in this context.

Universal Resource Indicator. It is the fundamental term.

It combines the URL and URN into one term.

Anyway, if you start collecting feeds to particular sites, you can start building your own information collection system.

I’ve got my own for my site with an indexing programme I wrote.

If you’re not already aware of Yahoo! Pipes or similar mashup programmes get on it.

The whole area’s called informatics.
Mark Reid
33   Posted 20/01/2010 at 19:41:06

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Saying that, sometimes that assumes that there is a "feed" for a site. Although there are ways around it for sites "without feed outputs".

Yahoo! Pipes
Like Unix pipes, simple commands can be combined together to create output that meets your needs:

• combine many feeds into one, then sort, filter and translate it.
• geocode your favorite feeds and browse the items on an interactive map.
• power widgets/badges on your web site.
• grab the output of any Pipes as RSS, JSON, KML, and other formats

My setup is a persistent internet search for several "Everton" related search strings based on Boolean logic.

Its then aggregated displayed according to my preferences.

i.e. time. relation. topic. etc

A site like this could probably do with an information gathering resource — in addition to NewsNow.

Mark Reid
34   Posted 20/01/2010 at 19:52:13

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Oh almost forgot... School of Science, Harry Catterick, David Moyes, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

And all that wonderful Everton stuff!
Mark Reid
35   Posted 20/01/2010 at 19:53:05

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Oh and some nice individual called Chris Clark has already set up a simple pipe system here where you can select a team yourself from several sources.

You could possibly use this as a template for Toffeeweb’s system?

Hope this helps my Toffee friends.
Mickey Dee
36   Posted 20/01/2010 at 21:08:56

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What Mark said..........
Tony I'Anson
37   Posted 21/01/2010 at 12:06:28

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Hmmm, what did I say yesterday about YouTube charging to watch videos.....see this YouTube turns to movie rental business

It’s all about the money.
Peter Hurley
38   Posted 21/01/2010 at 13:49:49

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Tony, you’re referencing a service that supplies paid content, not free content. The argument from right-to click is that the signposts to freely available content is just that, and has no inherent intellectual property. If links somehow gave access to subscription only paid content then the argument would make sense but they don’t and it doesn’t.

Ironically it will only lead to less traffic to the originating sites which will create the opposite effect intended and result in less revenue for them whilst consumers of information will put in workarounds (such as that suggested by Michael) until the whole episode draws to its ultimately predictable close.

An even broader and deeper look into how the digital age is impacting intellectual property can be found at the following:

Lars Eidissen
39   Posted 21/01/2010 at 19:46:35

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Very basically, can it not be argued that NewsNow just serves as a modern day newsagent?

The Daily Telegraph is sold at a newsagent; the newsagent has created no product on his own, but is passing on the product of the Daily Telegraph, and making a buck as the middle man.

The Daily Telegraph online is funded through advertising on their online articles. NewsNow is redirecting the customer to The Daily Telegraph, where said customer can read the article, for the fee of being subjected to their ads. Again, NewsNow with no product of their own, is making a buck at the middle man through the ads on their own site, much like the old newsagent.

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