News

Danish Court Orders ISPs to Block Access to News Aggregator Website

By Bill Toulas / June 21, 2019

The Danish District Court of Frederiksberg has issued a blocking injunction against the news website called 'theworldnews.net', which is a news aggregator platform. According to the court, the particular website is infringing copyrights by publishing the work of other journalists without their permission. The injunction now obliges all Denmark-based ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block user access to 'The World News', making no discrimination between paying subscribers and freeloaders. The news portal is focused on fighting fake news, so it allegedly only contains 'verified' stories and news pieces.

The problem with US-based, Ukraine-owned 'The World News' website, however, seems to be that it is often not linking back to the sources. While the original editors are cited, the links to the sources are not clickable, so the readers are consuming the content right on the aggregator, making them money. Moreover, many of these news posts contain copyrighted images that the original source paid for, but The World News hasn’t. All of this tricky readership baiting has caused the original publishers to object, leading the submission of a lawsuit by the Danish Rights Alliance, protector of copyright owners and representative of the Danish Media Association.

As a result, both the alliance and the association are pleased with the court’s ruling, as this will put an end of the local news outlets exploitation. A representative of the industry group has made the following statement on the matter: “It is expensive to produce credible, informative and independent journalism, and thus there is a great need to stop the illegal exploitation of media content, which undermines the media economy and thereby the possibility of continuing news production.”

While the Danish news agencies suffered the smallest damage from The World News, it was them who decided to take action against the website. The platform delivers news to the whole world, cherry-picking stories from all countries, with the number of Danish articles being 170,000 and the Danish readers only about a hundred per day. Still, this was a case of unfair competition, and so the particular website will no longer be accessible in Denmark. Maybe this will work as an example as well, prompting other countries and media coalitions to take similar actions against the particular news aggregator.

The website owners expressed their surprise by the Frederiksberg court decision and stated the following to Torrent Freak: “The World News is one of the biggest news aggregators in the world. We gather and analyze news from all media to detect fake news and facts manipulation. If we break the law in any jurisdiction, we remove any content from our servers for the first request in a few hours. We didn’t receive any notifications about rules violation from Danish media. We are completely on the side of authors and ready to work together.”

The way we see it, news aggregator websites play a unique role that needs to be well-balanced in order to aid both the sources and themselves. If this role leans towards the exploitation side, then it becomes unfair to the original authors and undermines the very basis for the existence of both.

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