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Denmark: “Deep Linking” Under Fire by Newspaper Publishers

Danish newspapersBlogging journalists in Denmark are up in arms over a renewed effort by Danish newspaper publishers to stop websites like Google News from linking to individual articles rather than a newspaper's homepage. They call this “deep linking”, and it is precisely what bloggers usually do. Regardless of what is considered normal practice around the world, the Danish Association of Newspaper Publishers insist they only want homepage links, so they can better control the user experience.

Specifically, the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association are frustrated that Google News in Denmark wants to list and link to articles of Danish newspapers without paying them royalties.

Danish blogger, Peter Svarre writes, “AAAARRRRGH!” upon reading arguments against Google News.

I don’t really know whether I am in a state of shock, despair or outright frustrated rage, but after reading an article in Politiken I just realized that the traditional Danish media or at least the editorial board of [newspaper] Berlingske Tidende seems to have understood nothing and learned nothing of the last five years development on the Internet. What seems to be common sense and ordinary street knowledge for media and advertising people in New York is apparently exotic, dangerous, and threatening lore to the established Danish Media industry.

There was a similar dispute in Belgium in 2006-7, when newspapers there took Google News to court and according to Finfacts threatened to fine them €1 million a day if they kept linking. In Denmark, there are also precedents. In 2002, the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association took a Danish web company, Newsbooster, to court for emailing links to news articles to their customers. Newsbooster was forced to shut down.

Blogger Ricco Førgaard at Fiskeben.dk [Da] said in May:

Det er tydeligt, at disse såkaldte medier ikke har forstået en pind og ikke er kommet ud af 1994 endnu. De har ikke forstået, at det er trafikken på hjemmesiden, som sælger de (irriterende) reklamer, som efter sigende skal være med til at financiere nyhederne.

It's clear these so-called media haven't understood anything and haven't moved beyond 1994 yet. They haven't understood that it's the traffic on their website that will sell those (annoying) commercials, that will supposedly be financing the news.

On Medieblogger, Lars K Jensen quotes [Da] from a recent email discussion on the mailing list of the Danish Online News Association (DONA), where the chief legal adviser from the Danish Union of Journalists, Anne Louise Schelin, responded to a question about the official rules for citation and linking.

Schelin advised, that one should never link to anything but a website's homepage, even in an email to colleagues about a specific article. The only redeeming factor would be whether a link could be considered “loyal,” she said, referring to a Danish court case between two real estate websites from 2006.

Others on the mailing list vehemently disagreed. One called it “nonsense from the fax generation”. Blog editor of Politiken newspaper, Kim Elmose published his response in his personal blog Mediehack, calling the resistance to deep linking counter productive, and pointed to the irony that most Danish journalists use Google News as a tool themselves.

Lars K Jensen asks in Medieblogger:

Tilbage sidder jeg med spørgsmålet: Hvad er et illoyalt link? Hvem definerer, hvornår et link er loyalt eller illoyalt?

Et link er vel et link?

And now I am left with the question. What is an un-loyal link? Who defines when a link is loyal or not?

Isn't a link just a link?

* Photo above of Danish newspapers is by Jacob Bøtter on Flickr.

33 comments

  • […] sökmotorerna? Enkelt, man förbjuder dem att länka direkt till artiklar på ens webbsajt. Det har danska dagstidningar nyligen bestämt sig för. Sökmotorer ska minsann inte få åka snålskjuts på tidningarnas […]

  • […] Kan läsa mer här. var addthis_pub = ‘Jenefeldt’; « Svenska företag bloggar mest […]

  • […] har för övrigt skrivit ett rasande bra inlägg på SSBD om just länkning. Men det handlar om dumma tidningar i Danmark som tror att de ska tjäna något på att inte tillåta att man djuplänkar (permalänkar) direkt […]

  • […]  Läs mera här. […]

  • […] Danish newspapers are trying to ban deep linking to their content, mainly because of Google News. Global Voices have a great summary. Specifically, the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association are frustrated that Google News in […]

  • Simon

    To be properly loyal, you should give her the contact details of a newspaper archive and let her buy her own copy.

  • […] journalists union want´s a ban on internet links that forward you directly to specific articles (Global Voices). They prefer the links leading to the front webpage where the main sponsors of the newspaper are […]

  • […] Global Voices förklarar att frågan drivs av den danska motsvarigheten till Tidningsutgivarna. Skälet är att de vill få bättre kontroll av användarupplevelsen. Det egentliga skälet är kanske att de är livrädda för Google News. […]

  • […] djupare genomgång av debatten ges på Global Voices där man konstaterar att reaktionen har varit omfattande. En som citeras kallar idén […]

  • Yet more evidence as to the widespread lack of understand and appreciation for technology such as Google news and blogs.

    Surely the newspaper publishers can appreciate the quest to enhance the user experience by linking out to relevant posts or stories.

    As a blogger, I regularly ‘link out’ to deep pages and those that I wish to reference. Tightening the rules so I can only link to the homepage, is only going to encourage me to drop the story.

    Be interested to see how this pans out….

    Simon

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