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You Can't Link Here 325

Posted by timothy
from the watch-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last year several news sources reported about the website dontlink.com from David Sorkin, associate professor of law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. His website fights 'stupid linking policies' that attempt to impose restrictions on other sites that link to them. Now a German law student joined the fight against linking restrictions and starts getting media attention in Germany. His list of stupid German linking policies can be found at the website Links & Law. Contrary to the model of dontlink.com, the German site refrains from linking to companies that prohibit linking without their consent. The site only states the URL of the websites with the linking policies. The page with the linking policies is in German, but the rest of the website is in English and covers many legal aspects of linking."
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You Can't Link Here

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  • Hypocrisy ?? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by RallyNick (577728) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:46PM (#5043238)
    Most ./ers would like others to obtain their explicit permission before emailing or calling them (spam, telemarketing, etc). Also most ./ers would like to be able to link to anyone else's wesite without restriction. Wasn't that called hypocrisy?
  • taboo links (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asscroft (610290) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:48PM (#5043251)
    www.kpmg.com [kpmg.com]

    silly bastards, if they don't want to be linked, they shouldn't have a web page. They should invent thier own non-http protocol that doesn't allow linking, or more importantly, allows restriction of linking. As long as their using our protocol, they have to play by our rules.

    nah nah nah naaaah naaaahh

  • by TheWhaleShark (414271) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:56PM (#5043281) Journal
    But if you don't like someone's linking policy, don't link to them.

    It is, and should be, up to the owners and operators of a given website to determine their linking policy. If said policy is stupid, so be it, it's stupid. There's no reason that a website should be required to let anyone link to them however they wish.
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:08PM (#5043360)
    I wonder if anyone at /. has considered the implications of restricting cross linking. It's really sad what the Internet is being relegated into. Not do we all have to battle spam, pop-ups (pop-unders), banners and other type of promotions, reducing the average site's visible editorial content down to less than 50% ... P2P is being curtailed of course and cross linking might be illegal at some point or might be so restricted that forums such as /. might risk a law suit or an injunction every time it adds a story.

    Is that really what we all envisioned the Web would turn into? It's just further proof that powers in charge do not consider us to be individuals with an intellect but just as simple-minded consumers who must be herded towards maximum profit margin. Sorry for sounding so disenchanted, but when I remember the 'old' Web - I find it just disgusting what this is all turning into...
  • by $$$$$exyGal (638164) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:11PM (#5043394) Homepage Journal
    It's not completely unenforceable. You just need to look at yer HTTP_REFERER log to see who is linking to you. Then you just bring up their site, print it out, and take it to the judge.

    How does the linker not get caught? Just add this to the web site:

    Warning: You must get written permission before printing this site. If you print this site without prior written permission from noprinting.com, you will be fined $50,000 per offense and/or 3 years in prison.

    --naked [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:45PM (#5043646)
    Some people just don't get what the web is about.

    An example: A web site at a university that hosted previous exam papers as PDF documents. This was available to everyone in the World until some Professor thought that this was a bad thing because some other schools might "copy" courses by studying the old exam questions.

    So now, it is restricted to on-campus IPs. ANYONE could just forward the documents on though and ANYONE can just come into a library and photocopy the exam papers. Dear god.

    They want to publish but not hang the dirty laundry out ...
  • by mverrilli (147811) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:05PM (#5043787)

    There are plenty of stupid server tricks available to make it impossible to link from outside the site.

    Yes, but many of those tricks also make it impossible for people to see your site at all. Cookies are disabled on some clients, referrer headers are removed on some proxies who like privacy, not everyone enables javascript, etc.
  • Why they do it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mnmn (145599) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:24PM (#5043858) Homepage

    I think this is an extremely stupid law that says dont refer to me. They could extend it to "pointing a finger (any) at anyone is illegal". Suddenly referring to people in text also becomes illegal and so do all newspapers and history books.

    "A certain somebody created 3 laws of Physics. A certain somebody else disproved him".

    The real concept of illegal links is to enforce the reader to read everything from the home page and navigate to the point of information. They want to push popup ads and not have misconceptions by people who read only part of what the site has to say. But the solution is smarter design of websites..

    Another reason why they do it is to have the person download files from their site after reading their text and possibly filling out their forms. Most sites have successfully achieved this by random subdirectories as in fileplanet.com. Companies with highly inept web maintainers are recommended to use laws rather than smart site designs to achieve their results. Since the tech world is economically down and skilled technicians commonly available, such companies are requested to quitely do a seach on dice.com and workopolis for resumes, and replace their System/Network Admins with people who can get the job done.
  • Big Hairy Deal... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jdreed1024 (443938) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @09:11PM (#5044107)
    Why do so many /.ers get their panties in a twist over this issue? Site $foo doesn't want you to link to them - so the fuck what? Were you _really_ going to link to them anyway? Really? It seems like people go out of their way to find sites with restrictive linking policies, just so they can get everyone all steamed up about it.

    I know this whole post sounds like a troll, but really, I'm curious - how often have you desperately wanted to link to a site, yet found out you couldn't because of restrictive linking policies.

    Also, here's another serious question. Say I publish a cool Lego Mindstorm project on my website, with a bunch of JPEGs. I'm hosted via a cable modem, so if I exceed a certain amount of bandwidth, I'm SOL and have to pay more money. Some guy finds my website, and submits it to Slashdot. Suddenly, my traffic spikes, and I'm over my monthly limit in just 24 hours. Is that fair?

    Yes, you can say "You shouldn't have put up the page if you didn't want people to see it", but do you, honestly, every time you put up a website, anticipate that it will be /.ed? No, of course you don't. So now, this huge traffic spike costs me real money. I have two choices: a) Create a linking policy; b) Remove my content. Chances are I'll choose (b), since I know /.ers will thumb their noses at (a). So now, the web has lost some content, and nobody benefits.

    You want to say linking policies are stupid? Fine. Want to say they're useless? Fine. That's well within your rights. But what do you propose sites do to combat the /. effect?

  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @10:17PM (#5044420)
    Please please please stop posting this as a solution. It is such a joke of a solution, and creates more problems. The referrer header is not authoritative, you can set it to anything you want in a browser that supports that feature. Why is that a bad thing? The referrer is actually useful to some people, it lets people follow the paths of their users, search queries used to find the site, etc. If you start using your useless javascript (client side checking of the client sent referrer field, even better...) then more people will be inclined to spoof their referrer and make the referrer field totally useless. And there are plenty of webmasters with legitimate uses for that referrer to stay around. So please find some other way to stop bad linking policies, like fighting the policies themselves.
  • How to be stupid... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <(ten.deppihc) (ta) (sovong)> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @12:37AM (#5045040) Homepage Journal
    It would be trivial to write a web-server rule to check the HTTP-REFERER and not display the page if it is being linked from outside the site... Of course, if you did this, you would lose out on th eexpense and bad press that you get from taking Joe's blog to court for linking directly to your order page for your product.
  • Bookmarks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mestoph (620399) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @12:43AM (#5045060)
    Okie, i reckon 90% of peoples bookmarks will be deep links. So that means bookmarks are illegal. If you want to take that to the next stage, you can look at a bookmark list as a Bibliography for a project or paper you are writing. As you are technically deep linking into journals, archives or librarys. So that would mean bibliographys are illegal (esp. As papers are more and more being handed in a pure digital format, with there bib's as hyperlinks). So why does every school /collage/uni insist on you writing illegal texts. When they jump on any illegal practice.
  • Don't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by famazza (398147) <fabio.mazzarinoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @07:01AM (#5045989) Homepage Journal

    Don't link
    Don't point
    Don't recommend
    Don't support
    Don't save
    Don't forward
    Don't cite
    Don't comment
    Don't argue
    Don't protest
    Don't ask
    Don't learn
    Don't remember
    Don't read
    Don't look
    Don't think!
    Don't live!
    Don't exist!

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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