On criminalizing & commodifying third-party site linking

So how long before doing this becomes “illegal copyright infringement”? A colleague who’s closely watching stateside goings-on alerted me to news that the US Department of Home1and Secur!ty has arrested an Internet user for linking to third-party websites.

So the DH S has arrested the user for running a website whose express purpose seems to be redirecting traffic to streaming TV. But the charge of copyright infringement alleges no copying. The potential implications are positively monstrous for the very character of the Internet.

Stiffer regulations of such fundamental Internet activity are closer than you might think in Canada, where Access Copyright that has already started down this treacherous road. Its proposed education-sector tariffs would controversially impose fees and penalties on third-party linking, which means that educators would be required not only to document any and all third-party links, but also to pay a fee for doing so.

“What this has to do with “Home1and Security” I have no idea,” writes said colleague who alerted me to this news, “but the DH S seems to be merely revealing its true character as a disciplinary machine whose real purpose is the surveillance and control of citizens for the sake of commercial interests. Although this is in the US, I have little doubt that Harper is watching and may try to follow suit (e.g. with CS1S).”

And here I thought a proposal to charge fees for third-party linking was about as insane as digital IP policy could get.

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2 responses to “On criminalizing & commodifying third-party site linking

  1. That’s just f….wrong. Just plain wrong.

  2. Pingback: Teachers, it’s time to flex fair dealing. | Academicalism

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