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The Internet Your Rights Online

Another Publisher Challenges Legality of Links 288

Posted by timothy
from the where-is-the-commons-exactly dept.
NewtonsLaw writes: "It seems that the legality of hypertext linkiing has once a gain been called into question according to this story running on Wired.com. As the former online publisher of 7am.com, I was once threatened by the Nando Times in a similar manner when I was linking to their stories. Local TV broadcaster TVNZ also made all sorts of noise about the illegality of linking to their content back in 1966 but have since come to their senses. Over the years I've had similar bitchy complaints from a number of online publishers who simply haven't worked out that links from other sites are something to be encouraged because the drive traffic and boost search-engine ratings. A great resource for those interested in the history, opinions and law on the matter of the legality of linking is the Link Controversy page created and maintained by Stefan Bechtold. Most publishers eventually realize that trying to block linking through the courts is a really dumb thing to do -- but there's always someone who simply doesn't get it."
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Another Publisher Challenges Legality of Links

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  • by Papineau (527159) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:00PM (#3369376) Homepage
    about the illegality of linking to their content back in 1966 but have since

    1966? Excellent prior art for the BT patent!!
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:02PM (#3369391) Journal
    local TV broadcaster TVNZ also made all sorts of noise about the illegality of linking to their content back in 1966 but have since come to their senses.

    'Course, back then we didn't have no fancy new-fangled Pee Cees ta link with. We had ta write our "web pages" on paper, and instead of a link, we wrote down driving directions for how to find the specified document. Porn 'taint no fun when ya gotta drive 250 miles o' back country roads ta find it. I tell ya, the Interweb was different back then... we had ta use REAL superhighways instead o' this Information Superhighway.

  • by Sc00ter (99550) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:03PM (#3369402) Homepage
    There are sites out there that block outside linking, they figure out that you're being redirected and send you to a nice outside linking not allowed page.

    Why can't these fools just do that.

    • by antis0c (133550) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:10PM (#3369468)
      Simple, they get no money out of it.
      • This makes me a little crazy... listen, its the Internet. It was created with our tax dollars initially and Congress determined that it would be free and unfettered, in the true Democratic sense.

        It is not yours, you don't own it, and if you put something on to it it can and will be linked, and the information can and will be used in all sorts of ways.

        It reminds me of the whole CueCat fiasco. Who the hell gave you permission to take your ball onto our ball field and then proceed to tell us what to do?!?! No one, so stfu and play along or get the hell out.

        The Internet is being ruined by capitalists and entrepreneurs who have the mindset that if it ain't about making money it is worthless. That sort of 'put money as your God' mentality is what's reducing the Internet to Interactive TV, and the more Big Business gets congrefs to comply with that mentality (no that is NOT the American Way: Freedom is, not Consumerism), the less we enjoy the Freedoms God granted us in the form of the Founding Fathers.

        No, I didn't read the article, heh, I just finished a hard day at work and I'm venting, er processing... and the dog's thinking (thank God it's not me again...)...

        • Exactly, they have no right telling me I can't tell someone else about information on their site, and provide them with a method to get there. It's usually not a good idea to draw an analogy with RL but here goes anyway: You own a resort on an island, I own a boat. Someone asks me where they can go stay for a couple of days and relax. I point out your resort, and tell them they can use my boat to get there. What's the difference.


          If there's concern on the website's part about internal linking, don't allow access to internal pages. If they're too lazy or stupid to prevent internal linking, tough. Don't expect the law to do it for you.

    • Let me just quickly say, scripts like that is the stupidest abuse of referrers I've ever come across. The referrer is a great tool for following the flow of traffic. Not to police flow of traffic. The referrer is set in the browser, it is not something that all browsers (or have to) use. And it can be easily spoofed or disabled. If 10% of the websites blocked my traffic based on my referrer, I'd just find a browser that let me turn off the referrer. And I'm sure I'm not alone. So by abusing the referrer, it's more than possible for browsers to just stop sending it, and hurt websites that are trying to watch flow of traffic to help the users out.
      • Let me just quickly say, scripts like that is the stupidest abuse of referrers I've ever come across. The referrer is a great tool for following the flow of traffic. Not to police flow of traffic.

        So what about sites hotlinking to your images and literally stealing your bandwidth?

        • Install some controls. It isn't rocket science. And if you can't figure out how to do it with the entire wealth of knowledge available in the web and usenet at your fingertips, then perhaps you shouldn't be publishing your material in a public domain to begin with.

          Max
      • You can also check the refer to make sure it's comming from the right place. If it's not there, then deny access. Still not difficult to pull off.
    • Exactly. Look at the referer, and if it isn't the main site, simply redirect them to a page with a link to the article and like twenty more ads.
  • Wise up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by russx2 (572301)
    I find this 'you're not allowed to link to me' mentallity hilarious. As we all know a link is no more than electronic 'word of mouth' or a sign post. The arrogance that goes along with "you're not allowed to tell people where our public content" is beyond me.. and let's face it, anything on the web IS for public viewing.

    It may be copyrighted, but that's not the same as 'no public access'.
    • "As we all know a link is no more than electronic 'word of mouth'"

      First rule of Fight Club.. no linking to Fight Club [fightclub.com]

    • The usual objection to links is that they are out of context. E.g., I have some things on my web site that are out of date, but of historical interest to some people. I'm perfectly happy if people get to the old material after they go to the main page, which tells them that the old material is available, and links to it.


      I would not be happy if some other site linked right to the old material, because they might not put it in context, and lead people into thinking it is current.

      • Re:Wise up (Score:4, Informative)

        by Shiny Metal S. (544229) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @07:31PM (#3369871) Homepage

        I would not be happy if some other site linked right to the old material, because they might not put it in context, and lead people into thinking it is current.

        Then maybe you should use mod_rewrite [apache.org] with a simple rule:

        RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://your.host/ [NC]
        RewriteRule ^/old-stuff/(.*)$ /cgi-bin/old-warn?page=$1 [R]

        and put there a simple old-warn script displaying "This stuff is old. What do you want? [New] [Old] [Index] [Home] [Whatever]". Or why not include this warning on the old pages in the first place? Or why not to just put "Last modified XXXX-XX-XX, if there's a newer version, it's here." on every page which can be outdated in the future?

        Linking is just telling people about your URI. If you don't want them to know about it, don't make it public, you don't have to serve anything if you don't want to. If you want those people to see something before they get what they are looking for, I don't know what's stopping you. The beauty of computers, including web servers, is that they do what you tell them to do.

      • Re:Wise up (Score:3, Informative)

        by phliar (87116)
        The usual objection to links is that they are out of context. E.g., I have some things on my web site that are out of date, but of historical interest to some people. I'm perfectly happy if people get to the old material after they go to the main page, which tells them that the old material is available, and links to it.
        Why not edit the old page and put a notice in front: "This is old stuff! The new stuff is <ahref="some-doc.html"> here</a> -- don't read any further unless you want OLD STUFF!"

        I think the answer is that there is no law against stupidity and laziness. Much easier to pay your attack-dog team of lawyers to file stupid lawsuits.

  • Deep linkin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mixbsd (574131) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:04PM (#3369417)
    The article makes reference to "deep links". If sites are so worried about that, why don't they just do what the NYTimes does and require that people register to be able to read specific pages? Anyway, lots of sites, /. included, are encouraging people to link/import to headline pages by using the Netscape .rdf files. I could understand sites getting narked at people who, say, directly used <img src> to access images on their site, but hyperlinks... what's wrong with that?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It takes about 2 seconds for them to configure their webserver to check Referrer headers and deny deep link requests from another site. Either they are so stupid that they don't deserve to own a website at all, or they are so evil that they'd rather order everyone else in the world around instead of simply fixing their own problems. Either way, it would not be a pity if some outraged activist took a pair of wire cutters to their Internet connection.
    • Day 1: /News/microsoft.php points to a great article about microsoft.

      Days 2-6: People read it and link to it.

      Day 7: /News/microsoft.php redirects everyone randomly to a porn site.

      They'll soon stop linking

      • Day 1: /News/microsoft.php points to a great article about microsoft.
        Days 2-6: People read it and link to it.
        Day 7: /News/microsoft.php redirects everyone
        They'll soon stop linking

        No, no, no. They'll start linking!

  • indeed (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Omlette (124579) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:08PM (#3369440) Homepage
    I laughed when I saw 1966. It's a typo, the article is from 1996. Duh.

    Anyway, I'm reminded of something from the currently ongoing bnetd fiasco: The EFF linked to a Penny Arcade comic on the subject. Penny Arcade doesn't agree with the EFF and said, "Instead of linking to the comic, please link to the rant." One guy from the EFF said, "OK" and removed the link, then an hour later the link was back and an email arrived saying "Linking's perfectly legal, we'll do as we like." So PA changed the target of the URL to some messed up thing involving dogs and some old guy. Very amusing.

    Moral: if you don't want someone linking to you, don't raise a fuss, just mess with your referrer permissions and all.
  • I just don't get it. IANAL, BMMI (but my mom is), and it just doens't make sense. This information is posted in the public domain, ok? Now, as long as you give credit it should be fine. An analogy is this: when you are quoting from a book do you have to include the whole fscking book in your quote? No, you don't. As long as you give credit it is fine. The theory being if it is interesting enough they just might buy the book - the same thing should apply to webpages. These people should be jumping for joy they are being linked to especially because they derive numerous benefits - including a higher google rank =). My god, if you can quote sections of newspapers why can't you link to them? Argh. Oh well stupid people shouldn't breed...

    One last odd tidbit:

    Holger Rosendal, spokesman for the Danish Newspaper Publishers' Association (DNPA)

    Holger Rosendal .. Hilary Rosen. I dunno. Coincidence? I think not.
    • I like your analogy. If I am writing a report, and I want to quote your book, I don't footnote it as "Title, Author, pg.?: start at the preface and read the book until you find what I mean".
  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:10PM (#3369466) Homepage
    If they're so paranoid about deep-linking, fix your webserver to check the referrer property of the HTTP request, and direct them to the main page if it wasn't an internal link.

    This is TRIVIAL to do on most webservers through cgi scripts... however you now have to deliver all your content through CGI (or SSI, or PHP, or ASP, or whatever), which is pretty common on websites these days anyways.

    Stop bitchin if you can fix your own problem with minimal effort.

    MadCow.
    • It's not so trivial really - the HTTP referrers sent by browsers are completely unreliable. The only way to do it is either a) with cookies or b) by prepending a one-time cookie-like code to the front of every linked URI when you generate the HTML for a page (so you can guarantee that so-and-so user came from this page and no other).

      Both methods are still easily bypassed, but not easily enough for Random Joe Web User, so you won't see them on most sites.
      • alternative use relative links on your pages and generate a random first directory

        http://www.domain.com/2624764/restofpage.html

        the numbers expire and if someone links to expired numbers then the get sent to where you want them to

        could be the same page or anywhere else.

        it's the web developers responsibility to be prepared for deep linking not the web site's lawyers!
  • What if I said "My political opponent said somthing alarming on page 56 of his new book." Does "the user ... experience something different from what [he] intended" and if so am I therefore not allowed to refer to pages of his book, only to say the book name and tell the audience to find the quote themselves?

    Sound pretty rediculous when put in terms of a physical medium. Not to mention my 1st amendment right to say "such and shuch information can be found at this and that location."

  • "The court found that a search engine that linked to copyrighted material by "framing" it in a new Web browser window infringed on the copyright owner's rights."

    Does this mean that Microsoft will stop adding those really annoying frames to web links launched by hotmail?

    Honestly, the idea of suing for framing content is pretty rediculous as long as it doesn't violate the integrity of the content's presentation itself. Could I sue Microsoft for not displaying web pages the way I designed them to be, or could I sue Netscape, because the skin that is shipped with netscape 6 is not a part of how I wanted my content produced?

    Plus, is linking used as an abstract term in the case where "any" variation between intended presentation and actual presentation could end in litigation, or was it directly linked to HTTP/HTML being misused to suit the company's needs?
    • to start defining things like framing is just a stupid idea for the courts anyway. I mean they'll sue Opera next for having those banners on the page when you view their site!
  • by Sj0 (472011)
    You know what? Any idiot who puts stuff they don't want people to see on the internet deserves to be slashdotted and have their server broken into and their content mirrored by everyone with an internet connection. The internet isn't a little corporate playground, they are playing by OUR rules. Oddly enough, those same rules say you shouldn't bitch if you get run over if you lie in the middle of the road wearing black at night.

  • me to BT CSO ' I'd like to cancel my BT line and sub please'
    BTCSO 'oh, why's that..(random BT bulls***T Qs)
    me: 'I disagree with BT hyperlink patent [usatoday.com] and think it an absurd waste of my monthly sub.
    BT CSO 'er...' [transfers me to supervisor]
    BT CSOSupervisor: 'Why do you want to leave BT?'
    me: (as above)
    BT CSOS: 'er...' [transfers me to someone else]
    Very Obvious NON-Customer Facing Lawyer: 'hello'
    me: 'hi i want to leave BT 'cos I disagree with BT hyperlink patent and think it an absurd waste of my monthly sub...
    VONCFL: 'ah..well..do you knw about..prior art..amount spent on R & D...have to protect consumers (!)...blah.......1976...bullshit....etc

    I, amazed at some guy's dedication to (crappy) job, him amazed at (geek) customer ability to speak to him, agreed to differ. cancelled anyway...BT now owes 14 BIL UKP. Me, happy. BT still flogging dead horse. Have better things to spend money on. I think anyway.
  • I'd love to see Google say, "OK" and just stop returning deep links to them. Maybe some sort of disclaimer:

    "http://dumbass.com
    This site contains a page which contains your search term, but we're not allowed to link to it. Last we checked there are only 50,000 pages there - good luck."

    I mean, seriously - this is what makes me think that all the marketroids talking about "branding" and "intellectual property" were dropped once too often as children. What good is branding or intellectual property if you piss off your customers by denying them access to your content? Last I checked it was customers paying your bills, most likely by downloading all sorts of flashing, whizzing, beeping banner ads. Have these people decided that it's too easy for people to get at their content? That you're somehow not pissing them off enough? It's like an Onion article.

    The other issue is that most sites have terrible support for their own content. Hands up everyone in the room who's used Google to find content on another site because that site's search feature sucked? But I bet these dumbshits never thought of that - as many people have already pointed out, the technical fix for this is trivial. Tell you what, give me root on your web server and I'll fix your problem for 10% of what you're paying the lawyers.
  • "When someone provides a link without my permission, which grants a user access to a part of my website without going first to my site's home page, the user may experience something different from what I intended when I established my website," Bruce Sunstein, an intellectual property law attorney, said.

    Hrm... let me give this a try...

    "When the news picks an unapproved soundbite, which provides viewers access to a part of my speech without enduring the other twenty minutes of my doublespeak, those viewers may think something different about me from what I intended when I ran for office."

    Ignoring the stunning technical incompetence shown by those trying to ban links, this is just ludicrous. If you make the item & you publish it, you can't then control absolutely how it is used. This is akin to banning bookmarks, reading lists, commercial search & index mechanisms (like Books In Print and Lexis), and so much more. Rappers use music segments, narrow-minded people burn books, artists make montages from media scraps, and satirists and critics deconstruct content every minute of their working day.

    Me, I'm all for using this guy's legal opinion for toilet paper:

    "I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment, it shall be behind me." -- Max Reger (letter to critic Rudolph Louis, 1906)

  • M$, USA

    Today M$ announced a policy banning deep linking to the Internet for all Windows users. All users, upon logging onto the Internet from a windows machine, will be presented with new license terms that will, in part, only allow them to enter the Internet from M$N.com, and will only allow them to navigate through certified hyperlinks.

    To facilitate this new policy, a new version of Internet Exploder will be automatically downloaded, using existing security holes, to the user's machine. This version of IE will have www.m$n.com hard coded as the startup page, the URL box will removed to prevent users from manually deep linking, and most navigation controls will be disabled. All other browsers on the user's machine will be destroyed. To further insure that users are not deep linking, each page accessible to the Windows users much be registered and verified by M$ employees. M$ has stated it will perform this service at costs. As an additional safeguard, all links will be automatically verified and recorded by MS servers before the user is allowed to load the requested page. MS says this information will only be used to protect and serve it customer base.

    A M$ spokesman stated "Microsoft has a great respect for intellectual property, and we feel it is our patriotic duty to protect all IP. Deep linking is the greatest threat to IP, and MS will work will all copyright holders to protect such property. We feel that to offer maximum protection all deep linking should be banned. As such, and to protect our users, we will only allow access to the Internet through M$N.com." M$ is rumored to be hiring lobbyist to codify such a policy into law.

    In a related story, M$ has also formed an alliance with BT to push the hyperlink patent. It has pledged an undisclosed amount of money to become the sole licensee of the patent.

  • Yes, having a link to their content DOES improve search engine ratings.

    Yes, it does bring potentially new customers to their sites.

    Yes, links in no way violate copyrights, at least, no more so than telling someone the title of a book and where to find it at the library.

    If the company didn't want people to find their content, then they wouldn't have put it on a public website.

    So if someone sends you a C&D about it, remove the links and reply with an email. Mention all the disadvantages of NOT having you link to them, and be sure to mention the potential economic impact as a result. Also mention to them that you will gladly save them the trouble and cost of further legal pursuits by doing search engine checks for their website and contacting everyone who links to their site. You will inform them of the potential consequences of linking to that site and send a copy of the C&D as proof.

    Soon they will have nobody linking to their site, and therefore no new customers. But this is WHAT THEY WANT after all, by all means, do them a favor!

    -Restil

  • Links don't kill pages, slashdot kills pages.
  • It's not really that hard to prevent people from doing it. Why try to stop an individual when Google's going to find it anyway?

    If you don't want to have pages directly linked to, you have a few very simple options:

    1.) You can identify a search engine spider from it's logs, and set up your site to present it with different content. If you're using PHP, for example, all you have to do is create an if/then statement that basically says "if it's google, send them no data. Anything else, let them on through." It's not very hard to write this type of script in PHP. It'd take me minutes to do.

    2.) Frames setup: There are some sites there that use a frames setup where by default a bookmark set in any portion of the site will only be established to the portal into it. It's easy to get around, but you could get your message known.

    3.) You can trap the right mouse button so that an error box comes up that says 'Please do not link to this page, send them to the home page instead.' Being polite about it, like that, would be useful in preventing somebody from doing something you don't want them to do.

    4.) If you really really want to prevent somebody from deep linking, you could provide a registration page so that somebody with a valid username/password can get to it. Kind of like NYTimes.

    As you can see, there are steps you can take before you get the lawyers out. Try those first, being polite to the user and letting them know what you do/don't want is far more effective than challenging their rights.
    • 1.) You can identify a search engine spider from it's logs, and set up your site to present it with different content. If you're using PHP, for example, all you have to do is create an if/then statement that basically says "if it's google, send them no data. Anything else, let them on through." It's not very hard to write this type of script in PHP. It'd take me minutes to do.

      You've never heard of robots.txt? It's certainly the easiest and preferred way to keep robots from visiting your site. Now, presenting different information to search engines, that sounds familiar...
      • "You've never heard of robots.txt? It's certainly the easiest and preferred way to keep robots from visiting your site."

        I didn't fully articulate my thought, sorry about that.

        I'm not sure if a site'd want to totally give up being searchable, so one alternative would be to have the main page present different info to the spider. If the text it provided was 'search bait', then when people click to it they'd enter through the front door.

        Just to be clear, I'm *not* suggesting what porn sites did when they made a bunch of 0-sized text saying 'ass ass ass ass ass', I'm talking about a legitimate preview of what site they're entering.

        Granted, I'm sure it'd easily be abused, but still if somebody doesn't want links to content on their site they can take simple steps to contrl it.
    • 3.) You can trap the right mouse button so that an error box comes up that says 'Please do not link to this page, send them to the home page instead.' Being polite about it, like that, would be useful in preventing somebody from doing something you don't want them


      Useless. Turn off javascript and you're powerless. In fact everyway that would prevent deep links is circumventable (I don't think that's spelled right ;)) just use the right browser. The openness of the internet is it's strength, it's very difficult to stop someone from doing something they are determined to do. It really pisses me off that, although the government started the net, it was the hackers, computer geeks, usenet posters ect. that made it strong. And now corporations want to jump on something we built and take over. That's bullshit.

  • by securitas (411694) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @07:45PM (#3369931) Homepage Journal


    We have no problem with people linking to our site [geartest.com].

    What we DO take issue with is individuals and companies stealing our content by linking directly to it and representing it as their own.

    This is most rampant with graphics. We try to provide high-quality images about the products we review and the items we write about. Everybody likes big and clear pictures.

    Many of these have to be converted from massive TIFF files into Web-sized JPEGs or GIFs. It may not seem like a big deal, but it takes someone's time and effort to optimize every image and fit it within our internal site guidelines to make it as accessible as possible to Web surfers at large. That adds up to a lot of time and effort.

    There are those companies who steal our content outright without any attribution whatsoever. A friend was talking to one of his colleagues, who told him that his previous employer regularly visited our site specifically to steal our graphics. (That site has since gone out of business).

    And there are those offenders who link directly to our content on their sites -- again without attribution -- causing us to bear the bandwidth costs of transmitting hundreds of megabytes worth of data without any credit, benefit or return to us.

    We have found our content abused on major sites (household names), without any response from the Web staff of those companies when we try to contact them about it.

    Most of our content is available for syndication. If you like it and want to use it, ASK.

    As a footnote, we are considering acquiring and implementing some form of digital rights management, which is something we don't want to do. However, if we continue to see this kind of content theft, then we need to get it under control before the costs reach a point where we are forced to shut down our site.

    • Run a script to change the names of all your pictures and all the references. This will break everybody who linked to you.

      Comon, none of this requires legislation!

      • That doesn't work if someone is ripping images directly off the site and posting them on their own site.. someone who doesn't need bandwidth, they need to steal content from other sites. The problem is it's extremely hard to track or find stolen images. DRM (meaning watermarking) can help prove that content was stolen from you, even if they stripped out the meta-information from the file.

        Also, who said anything about legislation? I think you've heard one too many CBDTPA arguments and it's spilling over into your other thoughts... :)

    • How's this? Find out the most rampant abusers from the logs, and anytime a referral comes in from there, hit 'em with the goatse.cx guy.
    • If your problem is people doing <img src="http://your.site/image.jpg"> then disallow nonlocal referrs on .jpg files.

      If the problem is people coming to your website, downloading the images, and posting them on their website, make sure that the image comment (most image files have an editable comment field) contains "Copyright © 2002 Your Site, Inc." and sue them for copyright infringment.

      In no case do you need to sue someone for linking to your site. If they're linking to an .html file, that should be a *good thing*.
    • Sorry, but the internet existed long before your company did.

      Now, because you and your company came along -- and a bunch of others like you and your company -- and you've decided that you don't like the way things are done on the net -- the way they've always been done on the net, the way that was essential to the net's success -- you want to punish all of US and destroy the internet WE'VE worked so hard to create.

      Corporations are ruining the internet with their corporatization, spam, pop-ups, pop-unders, banner ads (yes, that includes slashdot -- there's a reason I block these fucking ads), promotional materials, and high-glitter low content web-pages.

      Even "respectable" sites like the Wall Street Journal (wsj.com) are sickening in their lack of ethics. I pay money to get access to the Wall Street Journal online. And for paying that good money to them, what do I get? ADS. Fucking ads. I have to use an ad-blocking hosts file for wsj.com, a site which I PAY TO HAVE FULL ACCESS TO!!!!

      People act like companies have brought the internet to life. No, companies are to the internet as street-trash whores are to city-dwellers: sure, they're fun for a while; but then you get sick.

      Corporate websites are a plague to the internet, a plague that comes in a candy-coated package. Companies are like the white man that came over to America and pretended to be nice-nice to the Native Americans while offering them virus-loaded blankets and "firewater".

      We need to resist this corporatization of the net.
      • by Kirruth (544020) on Friday April 19, 2002 @02:42AM (#3371761) Homepage
        Corporate websites are a plague to the internet, a plague that comes in a candy-coated package.

        Damn right! Corporations are a disease of the Internet. In e-mail, people get more spam and viruses than any other kind of message. On the web, the ads take longer to download than the content. Cookies and spyware are being secretly loaded onto thousands of machines. We made the Internet, and the corporations are trying to kill it for profit.

        It doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to live in the world they would like to create. All we need are the right skills and the determination to use them. Let's make it happen!

    • Most of our content is available for syndication. If you like it and want to use it, ASK.

      You're posting your content on a free, publically accessable network. Although I may not copy it and claim it as my own, I may make hyperlinks to any and all content that is deemed "public" (this includes your images). If you feel that I should not be able to [img src="YourHighRezImage"], don't make YourHighRezImage publically accessable to all websites. There are a number of ways to make content (images/binary or HTML/text) viewable to people visiting your site while disabling the ability to directly link to it.

      The web is a web of hyperlinks linking to publically available information. It may be a common courtesy to ask to link to your content, but if it's on a public network I should not legally have to. Repeat after me, "Hyperlinking is NOT theft"!
    • If you're so pissed off about companies "stealing" your images then why don't you just watermark your url into them ?

      Or check the referrer, as everybody has pointed out about a billion times.

      How some dumb post like this, especially when it happens to be a commercial entitiy whining about people "stealing" from them got modded up is totally beyond me.

      In fact I bet you got your employees to mod you up, didn't you ?

      graspee


    • I suggest that most of you go back and read what I wrote. It's clear that some didn't even bother to read a word of what I said.

      Again, We have no problem with people linking to our site [geartest.com] .

      Nowhere did I say that I am in favor of any legislation that outlaws deep linking.

      BACKOV: Ignoring the condescension, your reply assumes that the natural tendency of people is to steal and the problem will get worse. What is necessary is education about the value of other people's work.

      ANONYMOUS COWARD: Ha Ha Ha! Good one! =)

      SPITZAK: We don't want to break everyone's LINKS to us. We want to prevent people from taking our work and representing it as their own -- also known as plagiarism -- and profiting from it without any recognition or recompense.

      CAPTAINSUPERBOY: You appear to be one of the few who read and understand what I said.

      J09824: You, too have missed the point. First, we are not 'in business' in the sense that you mean. We are a group of individuals from various professional backgrounds who contribute to Geartest.com [geartest.com] in addition to our regular jobs. How many of your favorite sites have disappeared because they could no longer afford to pay the bandwidth costs? We aren't looking to get rich from our site, just to help people make informed decisions and hopefully break-even while doing it. If you want to know more look here [slashdot.org] or visit the site [geartest.com]. If you can come up with another suggestion among the 'zillions' that you think are out there, we'd be glad to hear them. None of the ones you offered are practical for a whole host of reasons I'm not going to go into here, the least of which are privacy and usability issues. By the way, we don't have any 'web hackers'. If you're interested in helping out let us know.

      Finally, your stereotypical, reactionary name-calling and accusations don't help anyone. The actions of your legislators is your responsibility. If you are too apathetic to make your views known to those people who are pursuing legislation against yor interests, you have nobody else to blame but yourself for any consequences.

      PHXBLUE: Thanks for your suggestions. They are already on a list of options being considered as we're planning and working on our 3rd-iteration site design.

      DAHGHOSTFACEDFIDDLAH: Hilarious! =) We'll put that one down as a back-up plan!

      CHANDON SELDON: Again, see the above comments on linking. We'd rather not spend our time in the courts over what we consider to be a fun project. Hopefully it won't come to that. I agree with you that LINKING to our .html files is a good thing. TAKING our content (writing, images, etc.) without permission and without crediting us isn't.

      DH003I: you want to punish all of US and destroy the internet WE'VE worked so hard to create.

      Please enlighten everyone exactly what it is that you created. I suppose you are the REAL creator of the Internet and not Al Gore.

      As for your outrage about corporatism, does your hypocrisy know no bounds? You vote with your dollars. If you don't like the WSJ service then don't pay for it. Why support an organization that is so obviously against your stated interests? Your protests sound hollow.

      And next time you can leave your manifesto at home. Just don't forget to adjust your tin foil hat on your way out.

      TSHAK: Thanks for your considered opinion. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. Please clarify what you mean when you say 'free'. You say that others should not be able to copy and claim our work as their own. But if they directly link to an image and embed it in their pages without even a mention of where it came from, ignoring our requests to remove it when we ask, then they are de facto claiming our work as their own. Repeat after me, 'Taking content and representing it as your own is theft!' (Or you can call it plagiarism if you like).

      HERBIEROBINSON: The distinction you make is an important one. See above re: litigation.

      GRASPEE_LEMOOR: I'd rather not spend my time chasing down referrers when our page-views are consistently in the 5-figure range and on their way to 100,000+ territory.

      On the remainder of your post, because you are so obviously responding from a place of ignorance -- especially with regard to commercial entities and a supposed conspiracy of 'employees' modding the post up (you might want to check your tin foil hat too) -- I'm just going to refer you to what I've written above.

      Thanks to all for an interesting discussion!

      • CAPTAINSUPERBOY: You appear to be one of the few who read and understand what I said.

        Hey, you really shouldn't pay the slashdroids any mind. They just reload the stupid site all day, waiting for someone to say something that goes against party lines. Then they say some kind of /. cliche.. like "Those who would give up eternal freedom for temporary safety deserve neither," or "How can you buy DVD's while at the same time criticizing the MPAA?" Or the all-time favorite, "Lunix r00lz." You seem to have irritated the "information wants to be free" crowd by actually expressing a desire to not have your content stolen. Shame on you.

    • In a way I kind of agree with you, but the moe I think about it, tough shit. You have no right to make money on the internet. If you can good for you, but we don't have to make it easy. Furthermore, it's pretty simple, if you play with fire, expect to get burned occasionally. I'm not saying I agree with anyone copying your text and placing it on their site as their own, but I can't say that I really care either. Corporate rights on the internet are not a big concern of mine, and never will be.
  • Linking to Images (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Icar_Cryston (525066)
    One thing I'm curious about is what would the general consensus be on someone who inlines an image on their page that comes from your webspace?
    I have a lot of pictures which I've taken myself, and lately I've discovered that they're showing up on other peoples pages, directly inlined from my own.
    Myself, I dislike this, as I end up having to pay the bandwidth for someone elses webpage.

    • you cheat, put some vile disgusting photo or pr0n pic in its place and rename/relink yours on your own page, the only ones hurt would be you for your time and the thieves. a friend of mine noticed someone was steeling images and using them in ebay ads, imaging what a quilting page looks like with "teen pussy" and appropriate picture tiled all over their ad...
  • I can't think of a good refutation to the following analogy:

    Your right to swing your arms ends at my face; Your right to link ends at my webpage.

    To the average person, an argument such as this would probably seem entirely reasonable. Why isn't it?
    • Your face's right to be present ceases to matter when you're hiding in my punching bag? Sorry.. couldn't resist that one..

      Because hitting somebody is not the same as pointing to an uri? Arguing by analogy is always suspect... but I'll do it anyway.

      Mommmy! Billy keeps pointing at me! Even when I'm 600 miles away he's still pointing right at me! Even if I move 3 feet to the left he's still pointing at me!

      Would be closer, if you insist on analogies. So Sally can only answer her front door, and ignore anyone who followed Billy's pointing. Or she can move around and try and make Billy point to the wrong place. Or she can whine to Mommy, who'll may say 'That's not polite, Billy. Stop pointing at Sally and clean your room.' or tell Sally "That's not my problem. Now go weed the garden because you interrupted me." Or perhaps tell her "You're a big girl, figure it out yourself".
    • How about "My right to swing my arm ends at your face, but if you are dancing nude in a public park, don't get mad if we choose to watch."
    • Forget the analogy. It's irrelevant.

      The web is a public domain. You publish in a public domain and want to protect your content in from certain forms of linking (which is the *basis for the entire technology*) then it's up to *you* to take the appropriate measures. Whining about others not doing the job for you is inappropriate, not to mention an advertisement for gross technical imcompetence and a complete lack of understanding of how the web works.

      Max
  • These jag-offs want the ease of linking, but don't want others to link to them. It's like putting up a sign on a public street, and then telling people not to give each other directions to reach the sign that don't pass the other signs posted. There are numerous ways to make it so that content needs to be accessed sequentially, and the onus is on the owner of the content to not simply put the stuff out in the open!

    I wonder if authors of regular books bitch about readers who read then last chapter first. What legal right does the author have to dictate how the work is used, as long as it isn't used commercially or taken credit for?

    BlackGriffen
  • If you don't like hyperlinks, then take your page off the fucking world wide web. Linking is the very nature of the web. In my mind, posting a multipage web site is granting implicit permission for people to link to your site - don't these people understand Berners-Lee's intentions? Hypertext? An interconnected network of content? If they don't, they shouldn't HAVE a web site. You know, those of us who were around before the commercialization of the net realize how screwy this all is.

    There are always technical solutions, too.. why not generate a session key on the home page and require it to be part of the request for any other pages? That'll stop that pesky Google too.. It will probably stop many users from browsing your site, but that's what they want to prevent, right?

    They are free to use other protocols. May I suggest a raw telnet BBS? That way they can have people log in, enter their e-mail, sell their firstborn children, before they are allowed to access the precious content. Putting a page on the web (including internal hyperlinks of course), and then getting pissed when someone 'deep links' to that page, is like putting numbers on your door and getting pissed when someone sends you mail.

    • Exactly exactly exactly exactly, I can't say it enough. Deep linking is the nature of the web, and openess is the nature of the internet. Sure you can put up closed sites, and you have every right to, but don't attempt to pervert the nature of something good that you've done absolutely nothing to contribute to.
  • I mean, how fucking hard is it to block pages with forign refers? Not very hard at all, actualy.
  • Is it really so hard to understand that an attack on "linking" is an attack on the very fabric of the Web? The very thing that made it popular to begin with? If you discourage linking, then the Web is NOTHING. There's a reason it's analgous to a spider web. If you remove the strands that connect to form the web, well, you don't have one anymore. I cannot believe that such intelligent people fail to understand something so trivial.
  • I liked this quote:

    ""When someone provides a link without my permission, which grants a user access to a part of my website without going first to my site's home page, the user may experience something different from what I intended when I established my website,""

    In further news a new police force has been formed to arrest all book buyers who read the last three pages of a book first. After all, by placing these pages at the back of the book the author intended them to be read last.

    This is complete horse crap. Sure someone may have gone to great lengths to design an "experience" at their web site, but hey, lots of people aren't out there for an experience. They're out there for information.

    I suppose if they really wanted to site admins could add a plug-in to look at the HTTP-Referrer link and redirect to the front page if people don't link from within the site, but then we might as well throw out bookmarks.

    Ever since people started to think that Digital Rights Minimilization was legal things have been going down hill in a hurry.

    I guess we might as well shutter Google right now. It's a regular deep link pimp daddy.
  • Seems to me that if folks dis-allow "deep linking" as policy, then the Internet powers-that-be should help them out by removing such addresses from the DNS registery to help them avoid this terrible deep linking problem.

    This way they won't have to worry about anyone voiding their copyright.

    As one other poster (at least) said - if you put content out there that isn't password protected, then IT'S PUBLIC INFORMATION. That is the whole IDEA of the internet in the first place.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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