score another for the web
Wired reports that NPR has retreated from is controversial link-permission policy, although it doesn't give blanket permission to link to its content. The Wired article quotes an NPR spokesperson as saying criticism from many Internet watchers, including bloggers, hastened a decision the station had been considering anyway.
At the risk of sounding equivocal, I don't disapprove. NPR's new policy says it "encourages and permits links to content on NPR Web sites" (gee, thanks, guys; I may just start linking you again) but that "linking should not (a) suggest that NPR promotes or endorses any third party’s causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services, or (b) use NPR content for inappropriate commercial purposes." NPR also reserves the right to withdraw permission for any link. I think this stipulation is fair; as Wired reported earlier, a US court decision (PDF file) held that deceptive linking is not legally protected, and I don't read NPR's reservations as applying to anything but that. I'm at odds with some bloggers in this opinion, but given that the site's content is copyrighted, using it for deceptive or commercial purposes is, I think, contrary to the law and actionable. The NPR spokesperson said that "99.9 percent of the linking that goes on we're acknowledging is OK," but cited an example of someone setting up a commercial Internet radio station that linked NPR broadcasts. Much as I disagree with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act as it applies to Internet radio, my take is that situation would be illegal and NPR would have a right to ask the site to stop.
(via Cut on the Bias)