“Posting article text violates copyright, even if the text is very short and the accompanying link drives traffic to the publisher Web site”. This is the net effect indicated by the decision of Microsoft to withdraw  all links to cached and non-cached articles from French and German-language Belgian newspapers from its Live Search engine and the news engine Newsbot. This follows the law suit filed by Copiepresse. Google faces a similar copyright-related lawsuit over links to articles from Agence France-Presse articles.

Some may feel that Microsoft which itself is under fire for its copyright policies does not deserve any sympathy. But, if Web has to survive as an “Information Super Highway”, it is necessary to reject this view. The concept of Fair use as a part of Copy right is part of the society’s right over the individual’s right and cannot be diluted.

In order to prevent individual courts in different countries taking contrarian decisions in this regard which create confusion it is necessary to amend the Indian  copyright law to specifically mention that posting of extracts and hyperlinks on the web is a “Fair Use” under copyright act.

It must be remembered that India is planning a new law on Digital Copy rights and this aspect has to be taken into consideration when the law is drafted.



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