Source Pravda.Ru

Doug McKee: INTERNET CONTROL MARKS A DANGEROUS TREND

The article on June 14th regarding the deep linking controversy and subsequent litigation has stirred a passionate debate, exactly as I would hope. While it may not appear immediately consequential, everybody who reads a news publication on the internet needs to pursue the issue with great vigor and sense of purpose. The litigation between the Danish Newspaper Organization (DNPO) and News Boosters represents not a business issue but the rising water of a tide of legally sanctioned or otherwise approved censorship. Those of us in the media are well aware of loud debates and anguished cries over such terms as "copyright infringement" or "fair use" and other phrases designed to inflame and legitimize the issue. I submit to the world that the fragile bond between the public and an unfettered press is steaming full speed ahead in to a legal smoke screen where the forces of censorship wait to attack. We must ask ourselves if the sudden concern is really about linking in the context of page views, search engines, advertising, etc. In my own opinion, I have significant doubts. Why would any publication want to ban a link to another publication, if the issue is distribution of news and information? Why are these people afraid of the distribution of news? Other unpleasant examples of this are newspapers requiring an account or membership to read them (as pointed out by the gentleman from Fark.com) or the ongoing clash between private web sites and famous newspapers like the Washington Post or Los Angeles Times: both of whom object to re-posting of news articles from their publications. Currently, they insist on a headline and a link. What if that link was removed or suddenly illegal? The final analysis begs this question...is the debate over copyrights, journalistic exclusivity and advertising, or is it possibly more deeply embedded in manipulation of content and the possible political impact of any given news story? Censorship is an abomination. In our allegedly enlightened times, there is no place for this sort of blatant and egregious manipulation and micro management of the flow of information. Any such action sanctioned by legislation or judicial decree is dangerous and counter productive. Citizens of good will the world over need to raise their voices as well as their awareness.

Doug McKee

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