Canada's National Post pretends fair dealing doesn't exist, presents you with bill to copy a single word

Michael Geist sez, "If someone wants to post a quote from Selley or anything else written by the National Post, they are now presented with pop-up box seeking a licence that starts at $150 for the Internet posting of 100 words with an extra fee of 50 cents for each additional word (the price is cut in half for non-profits). For example, in yesterday's Full Pundit, Selley quotes John Graham in the Globe on the death of Chavez:"

"Illiteracy has all but disappeared. Education and free health care are almost universally available. Improving the quality of life for millions at the bottom levels of society is no small achievement. He also imparted to these millions a sense of dignity about themselves and pride in their leader's often bombastic rhetoric."

"If you try to highlight the text to cut and paste it, you are presented with a pop-up request to purchase a licence if you plan to post the article to a website, intranet or a blog. The fee would be $150. In other words, the National Post is seeking payment for text in an article that was itself copied from the Globe. Of course, it is not just Selley's work as many articles quote from other articles or sources (for example, this Post article on Taylor Swift is primarily quotes from Vanity Fair. If you highlight a chunk of text, the licence message pops up).

"None of this requires a licence or payment. In fact, the amount of copying is often so insubstantial that a fair dealing analysis is not even needed. Last year, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that several paragraphs from a National Post column by Jonathan Kay posted to an Internet chat site did not constitute copying a substantial part of the work. If there was a fair dealing analysis, there is no doubt that copying a hundred words out of an article would easily meet the fair dealing standard. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that copying full articles in some circumstances may be permitted."

Forget Fair Dealing: National Post Seeks $150 To License Short Excerpts (Thanks, Michael!)


    1. The popup only shows up on “National Post” sourced articles, not AP or Reuters stuff, so yes, it is likely they own the rights to their own published material.

      1. The quotes mentioned in this article weren’t sourced with them. I doubt they have the rights to charge for excerpts from a Globe article

        1. Got it, I needed to RTFA. Maybe they licensed that quote from the Globe? More likely they considered it fair dealing, but smells like hypocrisy.

      1. I was going to post that, and went to test it on the site, but they have a button labelled “Quit Asking Me” which stops it happening, so you don’t need to bother.

        I think the point is that to ask it at all implies there is a reason to ask it.

    1. If you hilight the section you want to copy with the mouse but keep the button depressed and hit copy via keyboard shortcut, it doesn’t pop up until you already have what you need. 

  1. I can’t replicate this, so they might have very quickly realized how bad an idea it is…

    1. I just did it. It allowed me 269 characters w/ spaces, 227 w/o spaces or 43 words.  More than that and I got the pop-up.

      1. Ah, got it now, thanks. And then accidentally hit “quit asking me”, heh. The existence of that button really makes me not care too much though, it really does just seem like a reminder tool, and it doesn’t actually bother me… certainly doesn’t prevent me from copypasting.

      2. I can’t replicate this either, no matter how much text I try to copy. Not with my regular browser, which is Chrome on Linux, and not with Firefox either. Then, out of plain curiosity, I tried IE on Win XP running in a virtual machine — it won’t even load the page fully, all I get is a script error. Which browsers are you all using when you get it? Or did they disable it by now?

  2. How much money do they expect to make selling “licenses” anyway? You just click “Quit showing me”, then you can right click and copy to your heart’s content. 

    Are there ANY circumstances under Canadian law where you would need a license to quote newspaper text?

    1. Many, MANY general computer users are not savvy enough to realize that they can bypass something like this, even with a button right there telling them so. This is a SCAM, plain and simple, designed to dupe unwitting people into parting with their money.

      1. How many people do you know who could even afford $150 quotes? If it is a scam, it is a scam for unwitting rich people.

  3. Ok if you click through you get to this page:


    Some useful questions when doing your analysis include:

    * Is the excerpt such that the reader may feel he/she already has the gist of the original work and no longer needs to read it?

    * Is it your intent to earn money, whether through ads, subscription revenues, or otherwise?

    * Is the work that was excerpted highly creative?

    * Are you choosing not to exercise an affordable and accessible licensing mechanism?

    * Are you publishing the excerpt widely, such as on the Web?

    * Is the work of excerpted authors the main draw to your work as opposed to serving as a “footnote”?

    Answering “Yes” to any of the above questions is cause for serious reflection before assuming “fair use” or “fair dealing” applies.If “fair use” applies to your use of an excerpt, click “Quit asking me” when the pop-up appears and you will be free to copy/paste.


    1. Furthermore, it doesn’t even look they the Post is doing this. It appears to be completely handled by this iCopyright company. They probably approached the newspaper with a product to sell, the newspaper said sure, and iCopyright gets a cut of the “royalties”.

    2. I am thinking of this more like a guilt tax or tip jar. I don’t think they have any intention of going after you for quoting them. They make it pretty clear it is up to the customer to determine if they think what they are doing is “fair dealing”.

      Or to put it another way: “We are newspaper. We pay reporters real cash-money to write articles. If you are making money off our work, please kick a little back to us, and you will feel great about yourself tomorrow. Otherwise you are rotten dirty leech bringing about the demise of print journalism. Have a nice day!”

  4. On a mac Shift-Command-4

    Draw the little box…voila…screenshot, add to post, they are quoted…no dupe content, and they can stick their ransom demands.

  5. It’s ridiculous easy to get around. So the people it would be trying to stop aren’t going to give a rats banana. In the end it just annoying and means average users are less likely to go back to that site. Fail.

  6. Is this such a bad thing?
    Let’s say you’re a publisher want to get a large section of their original content to republish.  Larger, say, than anyone would argue would be fair use/fair dealing.  Select, copy, license, republish…  That seems pretty straightforward, actually, as well as quite reasonable.  If you don’t want to pay for a license, it lets you skip that part and even lets you turn off the feature.  That, again, seems reasonable.The problem, it seems, is JavaScript.  JavaScript isn’t capable of recognizing original content as opposed to a quote.  It leaves it up to you to decide to pay them when you clearly don’t need to.  The thing is, will tell you all of this if you actually click through and read their terms.  They talk about fair use.  They talk about copyright in a straightforward way, a way that doesn’t mislead.  Their JavaScript, however, is set to be too aggressive, to fire when only a few lines are selected. They should have set it to more characters…What if this was a PayPal ‘Donate’ feature instead of some evil commercial venture?  Would anyone object to a feature that popped up when you select and copy?  Something that said “Hey, I see you’re copying from my blog.  If you’re going to republish and you’d like to donate a few dollars, do so here:”  I don’t think anyone would be whingeing about that, except, perhaps, to note that right-click actions like that are out-of-fashion.So what happens if you ignore all of this and just copy, paste and republish? iCopyright, the service that does all of this, has a feature that alerts the site owner when it finds republished excerpts, then lets *you* decide if you want to seek remuneration. You know, *exactly the same way it’s always worked* when you find someone has republished your stuff.

    That’s right.  It’s essentially changed nothing, just created a mechanism for rightful payment, along with a reminder that is easy to ignore.  Is it perfect? no.  Is it possible to pay for content needlessly?  Sure thing.  That is not, however, unique to this service.  You can even pay for things like this, if you are so easily parted from your money:
    I’ve been putting my words and photos online for 20 years.  In that time, I’ve shared lots via CC, sold a lot and had lots reused wrongfully.  There are times when a service like this would have been great, truthfully.   

  7. Anyone who is quoted or whose work is cited in the National Post should send them a $150 invoice for the licensing rights. 

  8. Or you can simply add the National Post to your blocked list, so that you don’t accidentally commit a copy-crime. Never heard of them until this post, now guaranteed to never see anything from them. Everyone wins!

  9. you can click “no” or something else like “ignore this” and it stops asking and if you’re creative in your clicking you can grab text without even answering the pop up

  10. I think my reaction is “If you think you need to do this sort of nonsense, you probably don’t belong on the web at all.”

  11. I think there is a darker purpose:  Now, if a lawsuit should occur, they can leverage this.
     “You were offered a license for the material you stole but you refused.  We know you are a filthy pirate for certain.”

  12. I can’t get the dunning popups at all, try as I might, as of 4:30 pm CST.  First I copied this passage about an apparent Pastafarian (yea, I wish) scandal not widely reported in American news:  “The departure of Louise Marchand, president of the Office Quebecois de la langue francaise, was confirmed by the PQ government Friday morning.”

    Then I copied this selection regarding Toronto’s infamous, allegedly lecherous mayor: “Mayor Rob Ford is firing back at Sarah Thomson, saying “disgusting” allegations she made that he grabbed her buttocks at a function in downtown Toronto are “absolutely, completely false.”

    Then I copied the entirety of two other articles, one regarding a Canadian shot to death in Montana and the other about a murderous Brazilian soccer (“football”) star, 115 words and 696 words, respectively, and had no trouble posting them into Microsoft’s finest product, Notepad, nor into inferior products which allowed for the automated word-counting.  I am using Firefox 19.0.2, with no add-ons designed to facilitate this sort of activity.  Que pasa?

  13. I can copy and paste just fine.

    as been “Orwellian,” except inasmuch as “it wasn’t organized by the
    state” … which rather takes some of the sting out of the term, doesn’t
    it? We certainly agree that Flanagan didn’t say anything that should
    instantly torch the career of an academic or a CBC commentator, and that
    it’s healthier to explain forcefully why he’s wrong than to demand
    “firing” or “shunning” — but then, if he wasn’t also Tom Flanagan,
    hard-bitten political strategist, his remarks wouldn’t have caused such a
    furor in the first place. As for the notion that Flanagan was
    “surreptitiously videoed” or somehow entrapped, we’re just a bit
    baffled. The problem is what he said, surely, not why or how we came to
    learn that he said it.
    Abolishing human rights commissions is widely seen as impossible, but as the National Post’s Jonathan Kay observes,
    that the somewhat similar Court Challenges Program was once also seen
    as sacrosanct. Remember it? He thinks if the commissions keep hearing
    idiotic cases like that of a Saskatchewanian who doesn’t like the term
    “Merry Christmas,” abolition might become more and more palatable to the

    The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer notes
    that the British Columbia Liberals’ disastrous ethnic pandering
    strategy, which was distributed by Kim Haakstad, who was Premier Christy
    Clark’s deputy chief of staff, constituted “a detailed and ambitious
    set of marching orders on a major matter of public policy” — which is
    precisely the sort of thing Haakstad claimed the Premier’s office never
    committed to e-mail,  but rather only discussed orally, during the Ken
    Boessenkool affair. It’s time to inquire further, in Palmer’s view.

    Considering the very frequent migration between civil service positions and partisan Liberal positions, Paul Wells of Maclean’s argues that it’s not all that crazy
    for the Conservatives to see the former as a comfortable nest for the
    latter. Which doesn’t make it OK to accuse any critic of the government
    of being a Liberal shill, of course.

    The Globe and Mail’s Jeffrey Simpson notes
    that Canadians are pretty much alone among the users of universal
    health-care systems in finding the idea of co-payments anathema.

    What’s next for Venezuela?

    While Hugo Chavez wasn’t a dictator, the Globe’s Doug Saunders argues
    that his authoritarian governance leaves a legacy of “broken
    institutions,” censorship and suppressed opposition, a crumbling and
    mismanaged oil infrastructure and an economy that is struggling when it
    should be flourishing. It is true that Chavez oversaw a large decrease
    in poverty and a small one in inequality, Saunders observes.  “But, as one major study found,
    inequality plummeted far more sharply in those countries — Brazil,
    Chile, Uruguay — that had social-democratic governments which maintained
    open market economies and robust democratic institutions.”

    “Many believe there can be no Chavismo without Chavez,” the Globe’s editorialists note,
    “and that the factions within the movement will fight for power and
    self-destruct.” So the lesson here is, it’s not a great idea to build a
    country that might well descend into chaos the moment you kick off.

    “He was … a genuine socialist reformer,” former Canadian ambassador to Venezuela John Graham writes, also in the Globe.
    “Illiteracy has all but disappeared. … Education and free health care
    are almost universally available. … Improving the quality of life for
    millions at the bottom levels of society is no small achievement. He
    also imparted to these millions a sense of dignity about themselves and
    pride in their leader’s often bombastic rhetoric.” But “the dark side of
    Mr. Chavez is very dark,” says Graham, “and stands in puzzling contrast
    to [these] successes,” he says.

    “And so the country is faced with the prospect of another election,
    with the unpleasant prospects of a currency crisis and devaluation of
    the Venezuelan Bolivar waiting in the wings,” an uncomplimentary Peter Foster writes in the Post.
    On the bright side, he suggests “a successor … could achieve an
    immediate economic boost by stopping the flow of essentially free oil —
    reportedly arou

  14. Just stop linking or sourcing from the National Pest. Jeez…

    Find somebody who can actually write and quote from them, and give proper attribution…

  15. Can’t get the pop-up to work in Firefox or Chrome. I am disappointed as I would’ve liked to’ve seen it.

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