July 09, 2002
International commentary on ridiculous danish lawsuit

The wired article Deep Link Foes Get Another Win comments on the sad, ridiculous outcome of a lawsuit by Danish newspapers against a link-digest service called Newsbooster. The predictable, but still idiotic, claim of the newspapers is that the forwarding of openly available links to openly available content on their webpages is somehow a violation of their copyright. Nonsense! If the articles were excerpted, so you could read the news without visiting the webpages that would be something, but the idea that you HAVE to arrive at a page through link navigation from a banner page is ridiculous, and the claims made by newspaper spokespersons that they are not trying to limit the availability of deep linking, is of course absurd - since the only thing Newsbooster is guilty of is deep linking.

What's even more ridiculous is that the newspapers could stop the deep linking by changing the way they implement their websites. If they are so intent on only offering links to one page - which of course reduces the value of their service to very little - this is completely possible by serving only dynamic pagereferences, modified on an hourly timescale.

The proper solution for the newspapers is to get with the program and turn their site into true hypertext where every page is a valid and compelling entry point to the entire website. Reworking newspaper sites in this fashion works with the hypertext publishing model instead of against it. Think Amazon. All of their book pages serve as an excellent introduction to further Amazon inventory.

With a proper implementation Newsbooster adds value to the newspapers instead of drawing value.
In fact I think that even with badly made newssites this is true. Peoply simply don't use their back button that much but continue through the newsflow after scanning pages.

Would be interesting to hear someone like Jakob Nielsens comments on this.

Posted by Claus at July 09, 2002 10:20 AM
Comments (post your own)

Actually, the problem may be the hypertext ad-revenue model - Pages loaded while navigating to the article of interest count as page impressions.

BUT is should be the case - I guess - that these navigations are less than full impressions, because they are only carried out because of the strict policy of the nespapers. The revenue from true content pages should be more than, and the revenue from banner pages (i.e. the newspapers own links page/front page) should be less.

Posted by: Himself on July 9, 2002 10:41 AM
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