Charity Must Pay To Link To Newspaper Articles Featuring Them

It’s a real shame that we don’t have a ‘WTF’ tag for posts here in the ‘Bits’ section of TorrentFreak since this story desperately needs one.

Women’s Aid is an Irish charity supporting victims of domestic violence. As part of its quest to raise both funding and awareness, the charity sometimes gets featured in newspaper articles. The exposure is obviously highly valued.

However, when the charity wrote about these press mentions on its website and linked to the stories so that its readers could find them more easily, it had a nasty surprise.

According to their solicitor, Women’s Aid received correspondence from Newspaper Licensing Ireland Limited which advised the charity to obtain licensing in order to obtain “permission to scan clippings for 16 national titles and 90 regional newspapers plus some foreign newspapers.”

Failure to obtain the license, the charity was warned, would expose them “to expensive litigation,” adding, “Reproducing copyright content without permission is theft.”

Now, Women’s Aid were not scanning or reproducing clippings, so maybe there was some sort of mistake? Apparently not. In subsequent correspondence the charity was warned:

“A licence is required to link directly to an online article even without uploading any of the content directly onto your own website.”

McGarr Solicitors, who are acting for the charity, are as surprised as anyone at the demands and have urgently asked Newspaper Licensing Ireland to clarify their position.

A spokesperson for NLI declined to comment, which is just as well since it would only serve to make them look even more idiotic.

Here’s a suggestion NLI – get all your clients to remove their work from the web, then people won’t be suckered into generating a hyperlink in order to generate traffic for their websites.

And stay strong Women’s Aid – no one should get away with bullying, ever.


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