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Canada News Your Rights Online

Canadian Newspaper Charging $150 License Fee To Publish Excerpts 217

dakohli writes "Michael Geist has pointed out an interesting development at the National Post's website. 'If you try to highlight the text to cut and paste it, you are presented with a pop-up request to purchase a license if you plan to post the article to a website, intranet or a blog. The fee would be $150.' He notes that even if you are highlighting a 3rd party quote inside an article a pop-up asking if you want a license will appear. Mr Geist points out this might be contrary to Canadian Copyright Law's fair use provisions."
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Canadian Newspaper Charging $150 License Fee To Publish Excerpts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:14PM (#43111319)

    This will definitely work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:16PM (#43111333)

    We should embrace their spirit of experimentalism and their desire to try potential new revenue streams, and start charging money for posting as an A/C on slashdot.

    The fee should start out as two cents, natch.

  • What if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:17PM (#43111347)

    I right clicked > view source and copy pasted from there? ...

    but then couldn't the newspaper find the content I copy pasted and come after me for theft or something? ...

    what if I posted as AC? :) ...

    what if AC posted it and I copied it not knowing the source?

    • Re:What if... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pesho ( 843750 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:53PM (#43111691)
      Or you can add "license.icopyright.net/rights/" to your adblock filter list and never see the stupid overlay ever again.
      • by Megane ( 129182 )

        The hell with that. Sites like that get a total domain name block from me.


    • by Arker ( 91948 )
      Eh, simply using a sane browser should fix the problem. I dont see any popups here, using noscript of course.
    • select "quit asking me," or better yet, install noscript. solves lots of ongoing issues.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just disable javascript. This is the same crap like those 90s "no right click" scripts.

    • Just tried it myself.

      Select text: get pop-up. Click "quit asking me". Select text, press ctrl-C, and it's in the past buffer.

      It's so simple I can't even call it a workaround. Basically you can just ignore it. It doesn't even tell WHY you would want a license; it jut asks whether you want to obtain one.

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:17PM (#43111355)

    They have a computer. If you ask their computer nicely, it will send you some bits.

    They're free to send me whatever bits they like in response to my request (so long as they don't materially misrepresent what they are, as in the case of malware etc.). In turn, I'm free to do whatever I like with the bits they send me. If I want to interpret them as instructions for rendering a webpage, as is conventional, I can do so. I can also print out the HTML and wipe my ass with it if I like.

    If that webpage has some Javascript that says "Ooh, you highlighted some text, pay me please!" I am free to turn off Javascript and cut and paste that text, or render it in Lynx, or grep the HTML, or whatever the hell else I want.

    If they didn't want me to have access to the text they sent me, they shouldn't have sent it to me.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:24PM (#43111429)

      If that webpage has some Javascript that says "Ooh, you highlighted some text, pay me please!" I am free to turn off Javascript and cut and paste that text, or render it in Lynx, or grep the HTML, or whatever the hell else I want.

      Unless that counts as 'circumventing a digital lock' according to the Conservative Party's draconian copyright legislation. Then you become a criminal.

      • by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:27PM (#43111975)
        Hmm... That is rather interesting. Can you illegally circumvent a digital lock through inaction? By not running this script, or if we remember back to the Sony fiasco, by not running the autoplay root-kit, is that criminal?

        Are you supposed to wrap yourself in the chains that bind you?
        • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:06PM (#43112247) Homepage

          Hmm... That is rather interesting. Can you illegally circumvent a digital lock through inaction?

          As matter of fact, circumventing of locks, doors, gates, and other access control mechanisms is most commonly done by not going through them. Latin roots of the word mean "go around." Can't be much more obvious.

          For example: see a locked gate? Find a hole in the fence. See a locked safe? Find someone who knows the code. Have an encrypted DVD? Point a camera at the screen.

          In this case, noscript can be seen as a hacking tool because it modifies the programming that the web site sends to you. The characters of the content are to be seen together with the programming to create the presentation as you are expected to perceive it by the content creator.

          You cannot claim inaction because most browsers (and perhaps all that the site is designed for) run JS by default. You did act when you installed NoScript. The fact that you did it ahead of time changes nothing. Perhaps you won't be fined for using Lynx; but if you use FF and then load it with ad-blocking extensions then you acted plenty.

          If you disagree and claim that the ASCII content can and should be treated apart from the instructions on how to present it, then you will also have to claim that the encrypted DVD bits are to be seen as plaintext and the key - and as long as you have the technical ability to separate them you are in the clear. The DMCA seems to have a differing opinion on that.

          As an intermediate step, to muddy the water a bit more, you can imagine an HTML page that consists of the ciphertext of the content and of the JS that locally generates the plaintext. Will extraction of the plaintext be legal under the DMCA, if JS prevents you from right-clicking or selecting? In this case JS is even specially designed to inform you that copying is not free. Any copying you do will be explicitly against the license. And it can be argued that you accepted the license by accessing the site and copying the data. Don't like the license? Read, but you may not copy.

          • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @11:38PM (#43112775) Homepage

            It is already firmly established in USA law that ineffectual DRM measures (such as pdf passwords) that can be trivially bypassed by methods such as using software that does not actively support the measure do not qualify as anticircumvention measures under the DMCA. Accessing a Web page which is "protected" only by JS and so can be accessed by Lynx or Firefox with NoScript does not violate the DMCA. Saying "Please don't copy this" is not DRM.

            > And it can be argued that you accepted the license by
            > accessing the site and copying the data. Don't like the
            > license?

            To bind me to a contract you must show me the contract and condition my receipt of the document on my acceptance of the license.

            > Read, but you may not copy.

            Fair use does not require the copyright owner's permission.

          • In this case if you're running noscript you don't even see the lock. Would be really a stretch of the imagination to call it "circumvent". And you can even just click "quit asking me" the first time you see the popup and you can select and copy text as usual.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            Okay, what if I didn't right click and instead just type out the content?

            You are dancing on the head of a pin here, the simple fact being that a web page cannot have any kind of effective DRM because it can't control the client. The whole point of HTML and JS is that the client can display it any way they like, or even not display it at all and just read it to the user.

          • Oh great, you just gave the world a legal way to make addblockers illegal.
            Yeehaaww back to the 90's yall, pop-ups, pop-unders and no escape !

    • This post is just plain wrong. You are in no way free to do "whatever [you] like" with copyright protected works. The fact that this post has been modded 5 Insightful is a testament to the wishful thinking that takes over when IP try ons like this come up. If you want to be free do something to change the law. Wiping your arse with an infringing copy is an extremely low level of freedom to aspire to.

      • Why go to such a stupid site more than one time? There are so many places for free news, so why pay? Google should erase sites like that from their index. That way they will essentially disappear from the Internet.

      • by Capsaicin ( 412918 ) * on Thursday March 07, 2013 @11:38PM (#43112777)

        I can also print out the HTML and wipe my ass with it if I like.

        Wiping your arse with an infringing copy is an extremely low level of freedom to aspire to.

        Well look at that. I end the last sentence of my post with a preposition and I get modded down as a Troll. My bad.

        At least it reaffirms my faith in the quality of the moderation here. Keep it factual, keep it fair, keep it grammatical.

    • I am free to turn off Javascript and cut and paste that text, or render it in Lynx, or grep the HTML, or whatever the hell else I want.

      Or when the pop-up pops up, simply click the option called "Quit asking me"
      Then highlight, copy and paste all you want.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Yep.... and the website owners are also entirely free to not transmit the text to browsers that have javascript disabled (doesn't appear to be the case here though).
    • There is a difference between wiping your ass with the HTML printout and republishing someone else's work. Just because they send it to you, doesn't mean you have the right to republish it.
      Of course fair use says you can republish some of it, in certain circumstances.
    • >I can also print out the HTML and wipe my ass with it if I like.

      Actually, that sounds like the perfect thing to do to the javascript !

    • If they didn't want me to have access to the text they sent me, they shouldn't have sent it to me.

      Alternate: Modify your request headers to include a passage that reads "By accepting this header, you agree to provide all content license-free. You agree that I shall decide the price (if any) for any and all content delivered. You agree that any charges that arise, directly or indirectly, from this request will be paid in double by you. If you do not agree, you may request a cancellation of these terms on a p

  • NoScript or some variant should take care of it.

  • I'll bet this this screws up screen readers.
    • I'm just going to go out on a limb here, but I don't think screen readers read the screen by selecting the text.
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:22PM (#43111409) Homepage Journal

    and surf the web like a man.

    A real man, from 1995.

    • +1

      I browse with javascript turned off, only switching on if I really need to. The firefox NoScript plugin allows you to be selective, thus I allow parts of what some sites try to run, but not everything.

      • How do they do this? I disabled noscript and sure enough it popped up something. How would this even get into Mozilla without Mozilla colluding with the enemy? When was it in the standards committee where someone stood up and said "we need a way to better screw the web site visitors with this feature" and no one objected? What are the list of browsers that refuse to partake in this without resorting to plugins?

        What we need is some sort of open standards to allow people to more easily exchange informatio

        • I hope i'm not being wooshed here....

          Firstly, HTML and javascript are seperate. To use a car analogy, think of a gas can. You have a gas can, and then you have the gas in it. The HTML is just a delivery mechanism and container for the javascript. Both HTML and javascript are based on standards, and there is nothing in either of the standards trying to screw the user out of copy/pasting text.

          Go to maps.google.com. Right Click on the map. See how it presents you with a few options? Now, instead of p
        • by Skapare ( 16644 )

          You can set a trigger to a JS function on anything, for any action, like mouse key down. It's really easy to do. I wonder why they are even paying another company to do it.

    • I telnet to port 80 and assemble the HTML in my mind, matrix style.

      All hail the best Viewed with telnet to port 80 [dgate.org] initiative

      • I hate to burst your bubble, son, but I telnet to port 80, pipe in the HTML and transform it to PDF on the fly using XSL:FO before viewing it in my mind's eye, all printed neatly with page numbers, a TOC, an index, *and* an annotated bibliography!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:24PM (#43111423)
    Just block scripts from icopyright.net . They advertise some "fancy" features content publishers:

    Your iCopyright plugin [for Wordpress] is automatically configured with a default set of business rules that grant users permission to use a limited amount of your content for free, and to license the rights to use your content for a fee. You can modify these services and prices by logging into the iCopyright Conductor console and changing the settings for your publication. From within Conductor you can also use the Discovery infringement detection service, execute syndication agreements, and run reports on licensing activity and revenue.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:25PM (#43111449) Journal

    Obviously, it isn't exactly news that a number of copyright holders have...expansively optimistic... interpretations of what rights exactly they hold. Some of this seems to be pure self-righteous delusion. Some of it seems to be deliberate spin aimed at shoving the discourse(and state of law) in their preferred direction.

    In the specific case of talking about 'fair use', while trying to sell licenses, though, I have to wonder if they are incurring any responsibility... If a mechanic or a plumber gave you false advice as to the nature of the repairs you needed, in order to sell them to you, they'd be well into 'sleazy at best, open to legal action for fraud at worst' territory. Is it OK if you are pseudo-providing legal advice? (They would obviously deny being in the position of providing you with legal advice; but a 'here is when you need a license or you just might be unprotected when we sue you' statement sure sounds like legal advice to me...)

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by margeman2k3 ( 1933034 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:31PM (#43111505)
    I clicked 'Quit asking me', and then it let me copy it anyways.
    Sometimes there are simpler solutions than disabling javascript or copying it from the HTML.
    • Using NoScript is without a doubt the simplest solution. No clicking needed, you just read the article you want to read without running whatever software the website is asking you to run. You also benefit from improved security, improved privacy, and less wasted CPU time.
    • I run NoScript, and I had no problem copying and pasting. I'm sure the people who actually implemented the copy/paste Javascript were secretly feeling dirty implementing something they knew wasn't going to work, but that management told them they had to do.

    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

      I didn't even do that. I just highlighted the text and it was copied to my clipboard and then I could middle click anywhere to paste the text.

      If you can select the text, you can copy it, no matter of what.

      Then when news sites starts rendering all text as images we need to start using OCR and even then we get the content...How about encryption with key per reader and effective watermarking and personal security guard behind every reader checking the content isn't copied?

  • Just click "Quit asking me" and ignore it. Or determine the offending script and NoScript it.

    Or just avoid any site stupid enough to try this idiocy.

  • To when web sites tried to disable right-clicking to "hide" their source code. I was in middle school and knew that was baloney...

    Actually, this reminds me of web sites hosting lyrics, too, that either attempt to disable right-click or insert their website in tiny text between words of lyrics.

    Reading the article tells me that this sort of "fee" doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. I've never been to the web site in question, but if I ever needed to and wished to copy some text, nothing prevents me from doi

  • The National Compost.
    Let 'em rot in hell.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:48PM (#43112131)

    ... the Post will begin a program of licensing for people who cut letters out of their printed copy to compose ransom notes.

  • This doesn't seem to be popping up for me, not at all on any browser I've tried, nor do I see any references in any script relating to said company on any page that I've looked at. Maybe it's because I'm in Canada?

  • I just tried it on the Taylor Swift article. Running Firefox v20 (beta) with Noscript and it worked without any problem.
  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:12PM (#43112285) Homepage

    The Web developers need to do some work. Yes, dragging to select text activates the popup. But clicking on the page and hitting Ctrl-A to select everything in one fell swoop doesn't activate the popup.

    Oops. Did I just describe how to break a Digital Lock? Oh noes... Harper and his gang will be after me....

  • Mr Geist points out this might be contrary to Canadian Copyright Law's fair use provisions.

    The National Post is a conservative rag. And just like those in the US, Canadian conservatives believe legal accountability is only for the little people.

  • I doubt there's any law against asking someone for money in exchange for a license to use copyrighted material. Nor is there any law against using copyrighted material without paying under the fair use exemption. You could pay money to use material even if you think it is covered under fair use, if you feel like it, but you don't need to.

    There's no law that says people holding copyrights have to give you the capability to copy-paste the material. I know, cause one time I tried to sue someone because I could

  • [Citation Needed]
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:52AM (#43113075)

    I don't see a problem. They can ask all they want. Bad copyright notices and unjustified license fee demands have been around for as long as copyright.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.