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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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  • by ifreakshow (613584) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:35PM (#5043206)
    These companies probably don't allow linking because they are afraid of a slashdotting.
  • by _Sambo (153114) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:42PM (#5043217)
    An unenforceable rule is almost always a stupid rule.

    More Stupid rules/laws can be found here. [ahajokes.com]

    The fact of the matter is that it's impossible to hold any but the largest of businesses to such a silly policy. If they really don't want people to link to their stuff, don't put it where the public can get to it.

    It's that simple.

    • 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 EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:32PM (#5043572)
        >>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.

        And then the Judge says "show me where they agreed not to link to you" and throws the guy out of the court room.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Maybe their linking policy states:
          By linking to our site you agree not to link to our site...
          • AS funny as this is it actually wouldn't work in court. You cant say "if you do **** then you owe us a million dollars". Many of these :you may not link to us you may not read this from a machine with a hard drive or a cd burner or any form of non-volatile memory. Its like if someone says "by stepping into my store you are required to buy $100 worth of something. There are many posted requirments that would be throw own. Many of these conditions have to be agreed to.
      • HTTP_REFERER can be faked, or unused. It cannot be trusted.
    • by cioxx (456323) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#5043403) Homepage
      Ahahahaha.
      Chico, California: Detonating a nuclear device within the city limits results in a $500 fine.

    • It's an easily enforceable rule...

      If the user does not already have a recent cookie from me, user gets my home page instead. If the referal in the header is from anything but me, user gets my home page instead.

      There are plenty of stupid server tricks available to make it impossible to link from outside the site.
      • He was, I'm sure, referring to legal enforcement. As in, they wouldn't get anywhere if they took you to court.

      • 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.
    • We also need to take the time to recognize the contribution of incompetant judges to stupid laws.

      While we're sharing sites, don't forget Dumb Laws [dumblaws.com].

  • Nehmen die Plakate viel der Drogen kürzlich? Mit allem passenden Respekt uns ist zu informieren über jemand anderes, das bereits erfolgtes etwas tut - auf Deutsch nichtsdestoweniger - nicht dieses germane. Ich würde nicht sein, also störte, wenn ich nicht mehrere meiner eigenen Unterordnungen - die gute - zusammenfassend vor kurzem zurückgewiesen gesehen hatte.
    • I couldn't resist going to Alta Vista'a Babel Fish.

      Nehmen die Plakate viel der Drogen kürzlich? Mit allem passenden Respekt uns ist zu informieren über jemand anderes, das bereits erfolgtes etwas tut - auf Deutsch nichtsdestoweniger - nicht dieses germane. Ich würde nicht sein, also störte, wenn ich nicht mehrere meiner eigenen Unterordnungen - die gute - zusammenfassend vor kurzem zurückgewiesen gesehen hatte.

      Do the posters take much the drugs recently? With all suitable respect us is to inform about somebody else, already taken place the something does - on German nontheless - not this Teuton. I would not be, therefore disturbed, if I had not seen several of my own subordinations - the good - rejected in summary recently.

      Gotta love Babel Fish!

  • I am a WHORE! (Score:3, Informative)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <(teamhasnoi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:43PM (#5043226) Homepage Journal
    Translated Site [google.com]

    If this has already been posted, please mod /. as slower than poo. If not, enjoy the whore.

    Whore!

  • by AuraSeer (409950) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:47PM (#5043245)
    Maybe somebody has an underpowered server, or pays a high rate for bandwidth usage. Such people would prefer to avoid a /.ing that would kill their mission-critical machine or drive them into the poorhouse. That's a perfectly valid reason to deny other sites permission to link.

    I fail to see why this is a free speech issue.
    • Maybe somebody has an underpowered server, or pays a high rate for bandwidth usage. Such people would prefer to avoid a /.ing that would kill their mission-critical machine or drive them into the poorhouse. That's a perfectly valid reason to deny other sites permission to link.

      OK, but American Express? ExxonMobil? Orbitz? New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange? I sincerely doubt any of these sites have any bandwidth problems and if you do, tough cookies. Nobody is forcing you to host a public website. Put a password on it and force people to apply for a username and password to get access to your site. Sure, 99.999% of your customers will never bother but you won't have to worry about deep linking anymore. The web was built around hyperlinking information. If you start arbitrarily cutting those links to certain sites then the thing will collapse and be useless. So why even bother having a web site if you don't want anyone pointing to it?

    • by therealmoose (558253) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:11PM (#5043391)
      It's deep-linking that's the problem, not linking in general. It takes much more bandwidth to load the main page and click to the page you want then to just link straight to the page you want.

      The problem sites have is they want you to go through all the ads before you hit what you actually want, and hopefully get lost in the store or something, nothing to do with bandwidth.

      • If that's the case then why do so many corporate websites, stock exchanges, and the like prohibit linking? They don't have any advertising whatsoever.

        I think it's more akin to opening an office and prohibiting strangers from walking in off the street to use your bathroom.

        • They're afraid of bad PR by association...

          Remember how www.microsoft.com got associated in Google as the #1 return for "Go to hell" for a while. That's because even though that phrase was nowhere on Microsoft's homepage, an organized effort of people associated that phrase with www.microsoft.com, so Google picked up on that and declared Microsoft the net's leading authority on going to hell..

          Now, that's a rather tame embarassment for a company that you could argue deserved it, but a lot of Men in Suits are affraid that they could be associated with even less desirable terms in a way that damages PR.

          The only problem is, "don't link to us" is about as legally valid as "don't talk about our website" which just isn't gonna fly.
        • I think it's more akin to opening an office and prohibiting strangers from walking in off the street to use your bathroom.

          I would have likened it to putting up flyers in the town square, advertising an event, then posting guards there in the town square to keep ``undesirables'' from reading them.

          It isn't a matter of keeping strangers out of a private space, it's a matter of scummy, greedy fools trying to enclose the public space for their own, private use.

        • Many corporations of all sizes are very particular about controlling the manner in which information is presented. A mundane example is one whereby the price of an item for sale is revealed prematurely, before the sales pitch describing the benefits and language designed to preemptively overcome the objections of a prospective customer. The more general case is one of context; not that a particular piece of information might necessarily be misunderstood out of context, but more that information might be revealed without the "benefit" of carefully crafted supporting information and framework, i.e., "spin".
      • I don't think it's just about wanting to force people through all of your ads.

        I can understand objecting to another site repeatedly linking to yours to the point of imitating your content without attribution, getting a free ride on both your content and server load. Heck, you could mimic the entire site. There must be copyright issues if you misrepresent ownership of the creative material, or use them beyond fair use. The Tickets.com case [wired.com] didn't resolve everything.

        As for directing someone to a page, that seems very reasonable, especially because it's pretty hard to track down a page after the home page changes.

        Also, just as a matter of politeness, I would want to respect the wishes of the site owner. But they should make their wishes clear, say in the HTML of the page. Doesn't the referrer tag make it pretty easy to police your oen pages against casual intrusion? Anyway, a liberal linking policy in more in the spirit of the internet; I hope site owners think twice before clamping down.
      • Yes, and this can trivially be enforced by TECHNOLOGICAL means (cookie/REFERRER field or both). And by far, the vast majority of sites DON'T. The problem isn't people who don't want deep linking, the problem is thinking that the law should step in when they choose to put content out there that is accessible on the World Wide Web (i.e. publically accessible and retrievable hyperlinked documents that use the HTTP protocol). The legal system has no business making deep linking illegal, and unless the content is private and requires agreeing to and signing a legally binding contract stating that material may not be linked to, this doesn't have a remote legal or moral basis to stand on.
        • you are absolutely correct --- it's not very hard at all to force people with a non-local referrer or no cookie to redirect to the front page, and to allow those who have the correct redirect through.

          there is no need to hire a lawyer or a lobbyist even

          I think that if the server has the configuration options and they don't bother to use them, they have no right to expect people to follow some arbitrary rules they make up on their own.

          this keeps coming up over and over ...
    • Maybe somebody has an underpowered server, or pays a high rate for bandwidth usage. Such people would prefer to avoid a /.ing that would kill their mission-critical machine or drive them into the poorhouse.

      In cases like that, you simply don't put stuff on the web. You don't use publically accessible protocols, like http. Use your own protocol, and don't share it with others.

      That's a perfectly valid reason to deny other sites permission to link.

      Stupidly wrong. The web is ALL about linking. If you don't want links, there is no acceptable way to rule them out, and no excuse for trying. As I've already said, if you don't want it to be linked to, don't put it on the web.

      In anything, if you want to participate, you have to follow the rules. One of the most basic rules on the web is that linking is ok.

      • Stupidly wrong. The web is ALL about linking. If you don't want links, there is no acceptable way to rule them out, and no excuse for trying.

        So you're saying that a prerequisite for posting anything to the web is that it can handle a worst-case slashdotting load? If that were true, ironically the only people who could afford to be on the web are the major corporations that the article is complaining about.

        I agree that the situation should not be resolved by threat of legal action, whether empty or not. I'd like to see a linking etiquette, such as: if you manage a high volume site, don't link to geocities, and if in doubt, ask the site's admin whether it will be a problem, before you take his site down and bury him in excess bandwidth costs! How hard could that be? Is a little polite behaviour too much to ask for?

        • So you're saying that a prerequisite for posting anything to the web is that it can handle a worst-case slashdotting load?


          No, he's saying you've got to accept the consequences of the nature of the medium. Complaining that people link to your site in ways you don't like is like appearing in an art-house film with sex scenes and then complaining teenagers whack off to it instead of appreciating it as fine art.

    • fame sucks doesn't it? i mean, the internet is supposed to be about the dissemination of information. you put the info out there because you want to share it with others. if that bit of info happens to be wildly popular beyond your dreams and your server's bandwidth, well that just sucks for you doesn't it?

      huh!?

      the problem with this attitude is that it goes against the nature and purpose of the internet. it IS similar to the deep-linking controversy. it is just crazy for a site to not expect people to deep link to their site, or ask permission to, or expect remuneration. likewise with this attitude. both scenarios go against the spirit and purpose of the internet.

      the rule should be if you make it available on the internet, you get what you deserve. and what do you deserve? by placing it out there on the internet, you are giving up your right to decide what you deserve. public information is public information is public information. end of story.

      and if you get fame... i don't really understand what your problem is.

      it's like someone putting information out there for the whole world to see, and then complaining when the whole world wants to see it. i mean come on, you can't have it both ways.

      your post is hypocrisy and goes against the spirit of the internet and the freedom of information it represents. if you don't want to whine and bitch and moan about your server getting capped DON'T POST ANY WEBPAGES.

      if you want whatever your site is about to be only for your little circle of friends, put up a password, put up a robots.txt, etc. the internet is for EVERYBODY.

      this post whiffs of snobbery. whine, whine, bitch and moan. welcome to the world wide frickin web.

    • By hosting a public web site, you are implicitly giving everyone on the internet permission to view the pages on the site. Simply put, you have no way nor any right to "deny other sites permission to link" to you.
    • Yes, not wanting to be slashdotted is a perfectly valid reason for wanting to control how people link to one's website. However wanting isn't having. If one has published something and made it freely available to the public, then they do not get to dictate how users look at it or how others point to it (with legal means, technological is fair game). Others cannot copy it, we are just talking about pointing to it.

      I usually hate analogies, but here it goes: I think it is a bit like standing on the sidewalk in plain view and saying "No one is allowed to look at me from over there, you must come over here to look at me. And that guy on the other side of the street is not allowed to point at me." If you don't want to be seen from that angle, then cover up, or don't go out in public, but nobody gets to dictate what others do in public. If the other guy were threatening, or harrassing, or touching it would be different, but he is pointing, and that should be protected free speech.
  • taboo links (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asscroft (610290) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:48PM (#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

    • Re:taboo links (Score:2, Informative)

      by Snover (469130)
      If they didn't want linking, couldn't they just deny anything that had an HTTP_REFERER?
    • Is there a problem? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Afty0r (263037)
      From KPMGs dislcimaer:

      The following web link activities are explicitly prohibited by KPMG and may present trademark and copyright infringement issues:


      1- Links that involve unauthorized use of our logo
      2- Framing, inline links or metatags
      3- Hyperlinks or a form of link that disguises the URL and bypass the homepage

      Seems OK to me.

      1- You can't use their logo because it is trademarked. Doesn't mean you can't link to them.
      2- Framing or online links - this has already been found illegal under "Passing Off" laws in the UK and many other states. No problem here.
      3- Note the use of the word *and*. They'd like you to deep link, but only if your link shows the full URL. This doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

      Why exactly, is linking to KPMG taboo?
      • by zipwow (1695)
        Well, what do they mean by "disguises the URL"?

        If this is an extension of the "passing off", where you deep-link to their website and claim its your own work, then it seems fine.

        Or does it mean that every time I have to link to them, I have to show the full URL? This could be tedious, as seen in /.'s own style, which mimics the original purpose of links. Clicking on related words (not URLs in parenthesis) takes you to the content.

        It's not clear which is prohibited, which is the problem.

        -Zipwow
  • by TheWhaleShark (414271) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @05:56PM (#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 /dev/trash (182850) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#5043409) Homepage Journal
      And how do you expect to ever get traffic?
      • Just write the URL for the link w/o the link tags & write a damn browser plugin that converts URL's to hyperlinks a la Microsoft Word or virutally any e-mail client. thumb nose at link policy ???? profit blah blah blah.
    • I think you're missing the larger point. A hyperlink belongs to the person who creates it, not to the entity it points to. Saying otherwise is like saying I can't speak your name without your permission, or that I'm not allowed to send you a letter without your express permission..

      All a "linking policy" can logically be is some kind of policy a site has for adding/deleting links on its OWN website, not dictating which sites others can link from.

    • Linking is no more suspicious or unsavory than telling someone a phone number or a street address for some establishment you want them to know about. Linking is really nothing more than citing a fact: some document exists at this location. Can an author require libraries to cease indexing his works in the card catalog?Hardly! Any author that tried that would be looked at real funny, then laughed at real hard.

      You can't patent or copyright facts, nor control their dissemination, unless you treat the fact as a trade secret (and the information is in fact, not publically known). Nothing accessible on a public website could be reasonably considered secret. Forbidding linking is exactly equivalent to forbidding the publication of your phone number or street address.
    • It is, and should be, up to the owners and operators of a given website to determine their linking policy.

      Of course. But they are trying to set everyone else's linking policy, not their own.

      There's no reason that a website should be required to let anyone link to them however they wish.

      "Required to let"? They aren't required to do anything. They aren't "letting" anyone do anything. Just as I am not "letting" you write your post.
  • You don't forget the Tri-Force.

    And don't leave home without your magic boomerang either.

    .
  • by Chris_Stankowitz (612232) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:01PM (#5043313)
    Slashdot is the biggest offender of bad linking practices. Its users bring down a stagering 2 million sties a year due to its linking to anything with a "http://" in the address. Kharma Whores are thought to be at the top of the /. list of offenders. Catch the full expose on HardCopy at 9.
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:08PM (#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...
    • 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.

      Maximum profit margin? Eh-eh. I'd guess most content providers on the web are desperately trying just to break even.

      Not that I think it's particularly wise for content providers to irritate their audience with pop-unders and overly restrictive user agreeements, but I can at least see why they might try these things.

      Content isn't free, and anyone who expected things to stay the way they were in 1995 is a fool.
  • by miltimj (605927) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:09PM (#5043365)
    On occasion a web site will modify its linking policy in response to public ridicule. Perhaps their appearance in Don't Link to Us! will help encourage some of these sites to move forward into the 20th century. (emphasis mine)

    But perhaps they've changed their policies in the last 100 years??...
  • by Archfeld (6757)
    even mention not linking to them but has a dislcaimer to any third party links they post. Sorkin needs to proof read some of his stuff before posting it...I found numerous mistakes in his posts...
    • Try reading section 8 of the Amex policy, titled "LINKED INTERNET SITES":
      American Express prohibits caching, unauthorized hypertext links to the Site and the framing of any Content available through the Site...
  • Perhaps the solution to all this nonsense is to get the browser publishers to get together and tell all the webmasters (via press release or what have you) that if they don't stop pissing on the entire PURPOSE of the web, that the referrer functionality will be removed from the browsers, and then they'll NEVER know where their visitors are coming from.

    It's obvious these jackasses don't know their asses from their elbows when it comes to their asses and elbows, let alone how "teh Intarweb" works. They're not going to listen to reason, so just give them an ultimatum they can't ignore.
  • Seriously if you dont want deep linkers just use flash or use some other worthlessly NON-Navigable page designs
  • Links (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m0rph3us0 (549631) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:40PM (#5043609)
    Hrmm... with a few mod rewrite rules any site that doesnt wish to be linked to can redirect the request.

    If they don't want links from a certain site just add another rule, if you don't want people accessing the site put a firewall up or password protect it. This silly business of linking laws is akin to me preventing people from making references to my businesses location. Or a grocery store owner preventing me from telling someone that the grocery store has Peanut Butter in isle 12.

    I think people really need to grow up, anything I don't want linked to I password or otherwise protect.

    Personally, I'd like to know what you would think if people started linking to unprotected SMB content.
    • ...... with a few mod rewrite rules any site that doesnt wish to be linked to can redirect the request.

      Interesting thought: what if the sites with the stupid no-linking policies are the ones running the stupid web servers that can't do what mod_rewrite makes easy? I wonder if Netcraft can confirm that most of the sites with stupid polices have lame-ass web server software that can't easily do conditional redirects?
    • Hrmm... with a few mod rewrite rules any site that doesnt wish to be linked to can redirect the request.

      Whenever this subject comes up somebody suggests this solution. Does anyone in the world actually do this? And ... if someone did it, does that resolve the underlying problem of whether or not it's right to deny linking?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:41PM (#5043626)
    Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] has a very insightfull article about the ethics of linkage [kuro5hin.org].

    Check this out
  • by kalislashdot (229144) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:46PM (#5043650) Homepage
    I don't get it. Why do they even have linking policies. A simple few lines of code in the top of the page could check the referrer and if it was from "outside" then redirect them. Problem solved.

    You can also so do this for frames with javascript. A few lines would check to see if the page was in a frame and if it was it moves out of the frame.

    I have implemented both these solutions. I am so sick of threats in policies and EULAs. If you dont want people coming into your house just lock freaking the door. Simple as that.
    • American Express [americanexpress.com] doesn't really want no one linking to its site. From a marketing standpoint it's ludicrous to expect google to issue them a letter asking for permission to send potential credit card customers over. Rather, they want a basis on which to send a threatening, yet legally hollow, threat to the owner of a site that criticizes AmEx and does so with supporting hyperlinks.

      For instance, it would be difficult to pick apart AmEx's Privacy Statement [americanexpress.com] in its entirety without either linking to (linking policy violation), or reprinting it (copyright violation).

      However, if you make a statement in your blog regarding how much you love their blue card and include a link to the application page, don't expect an ominous letter sent certified mail anytime soon.

      • "...or reprinting it (copyright violation)."

        See, this is exactly the problem geeks have with copyright. They simply don't undertsand it. It is perfectly legal to reprint or reproduce intelelctual property for the purpose of commentary. While there are limits as to how much of the material you can reprint, I would find it likely that you could reprint a one or two page privacy policy for the purpose of picking it apart section by section.
    • 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.
  • by exhilaration (587191) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:53PM (#5043700)
    At the risk of violating the dmca, how can I block those HTTP refferer things? Does the browser produce them? It has to, right? Are there any browsers out there that allow you to "play" with that information?

    Why not simply put the destination site into every referrer you send? You'd be telling the site that you've already be there.

    I can't think of any specific reason to do that, just a fun exercise.

    • A while ago now I did some hacking on mozilla to make it set the referer on a per site basis. I ran out of time before I got it working properly, but since I'll be finished uni in 10 weeks I'll probably get back to it.

      Of course I want everything to be done on a per site basis. Cookies already are, since the spec requires them to be. Blocking images already is. Javascript settings should be (they were on konqueror last time I checked, but they aren't on phoenix - I don't have mozilla ATM), the referer should be, the user agent string should be.

      I'm hoping the code that does cookies can be reused to do everything else.

      I'll probably try doing it all to phoenix in a few months. Currently I don't have the time to even look at the code.

    • by glob (23034)
      >how can I block those HTTP refferer things?

      they are presented to a cgi script in the HTTP_REFERER environmental variable

      >Does the browser produce them?

      yes

      >It has to, right?

      no. and even if it does, there's no guarentee it's valid. it's trivial to fake.

      >Are there any browsers out there that allow you to "play" with that information?

      most "downloaders" let you set it explicitly. wget can.

      i have seen browsers which slap a simple interface around the IE engine that allow you to explicitly set the referer. can't find them now, of course.

      >Why not simply put the destination site into every referrer you send? You'd be telling the site that you've already be there.

      indeed. when i'm leeching stuff with wget, this is exactly what i do.

      >I can't think of any specific reason to do that, just a fun exercise.

      some sites still use it as a means of authentication.

      a lot of sites that host, uh, pictures, require referer to be sent on the image request to stop other sites linking directly to the images.

  • by zogger (617870) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:07PM (#5043795) Homepage Journal
    --yo, if any search engine doods are reading, please, take these websites' wishes to heart, don't have them show up in any of your searches! No links is "no links", give them what they want.

    %^)>

    that ought to sort things out better for the PHBs at these various webpages
    • There's a simple and standard way to tell search sites not to link to portions of your web site. It's the "robots.txt" file. It allows you to restrict access to your URLs by all or specific search programs. All of the established search sites read this file and honor its contents.

      It has a lot of valid uses. On one site where I have a lot of cgi scripts, there's a "tmp" directory used for the usual purpose. Its contents are deleted after an hour. Indexing this directory is pointless, since the data will go away so soon, so the robots.txt file tells all searchers to not bother searching it.

      Any site that seriously wants to keep part of its material out of the search sites' databases has a tool that does exactly this, and almost all search sites will honor it.

      --
  • by turingcomplete (633413) <slashdot@turCHEE ... te.net minus cat> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:12PM (#5043810) Homepage
    If corporations don't like the idea of people hyper-linking they should use a different protocol then http. It's that simple--if you use the web then you agree to the concept of hyper-linking. It's a foundation of the technology.

    If corporations find that http is too loose & free for their lawyers liking they can invent and use something else. They are trying to have it both ways--and in the process expropriate a public resource.
  • Why they do it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mnmn (145599) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:24PM (#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.
  • simple work-around. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fuzzums (250400) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:27PM (#5043881) Homepage
    there are several ways to block unwanted links to a server. you can prevent x-linking of pictures or detect a link from an other site with the http-referer.

    BUT.

    insead of linking directly to an other page you can use this:
    <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="1; url=http://www.forbidden.to/link/to/this/page.html ">

    this will generate no referer. or to put it differently, the referer looks the same as if it were a bookmark. ans if you would stop people from bookmarking your site you're really stupid ;-)
  • Big Hairy Deal... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jdreed1024 (443938) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:11PM (#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?

    • Isn't there some sort of automatic throttle, you could use, which lets only a pre-determined amount of traffic through in a given time?
      • Re:Big Hairy Deal... (Score:2, Informative)

        by grolim13 (110441)
        Indeed there is. Apache has mod_throttle which does this, and there are doubtless similar solutions for other web servers. Still, most people don't think about implementing them until it's too late.
    • 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.

      Say I want to dispel the myths of the Church of Scientology and wish to link to their sites to aid my argument? Do you think they would agree? Imagine what would happen to the web if these linking policies were legally enforceable. The Web would degenerate rapidly, new content would be stunted, and information as we know it could become as inaccessible as it was before the WWW.

      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?

      No it's not really fair, but those are the risks. Slashdot bears a lot of responsibility and doesn't always make courteous decisions, but the onus is really on you to deal with whatever happens to your site. Apache has throttling software and there are plenty of hosts out there which wouldn't leave you with over-the-cap fees. The wrong thing to do would be attack a fundamental structure of the Internet. I mean, where would you draw the line anyway?

      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.

      My answer would be c) Deal with it. There are ways to deal with a flood of traffic that won't leave you bankrupt or off the web for a month. There are ways to control access to your content as well. Posting content to the Internet is like putting a billboard on the Moon. Are you going to complain when the whole world looks?

      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?

      Linking policies shouldn't be enforceable that's for sure. If you make it public that you don't want people to link you site or flood you with traffic then they ought to respect your wishes. But shit happens. So be prepared for it.

    • 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?

      Is your cable provider's pricing policy fair? Are the telecom regulations that force you to choosing the one and only cable provider, or stick with dialup fair? How is it any of my concern that you can't afford to host your website in your area of residence?

      But even more imporant, if you had posted the policy, and gotten slashdotted anyway, could you afford the attorney's fees needed to attempt to enforce your policy, or collect damages for the violation? I think if you can't afford the bandwidth, you sure as hell can't afford an attorney. So your policy, if it existed, would be worthless anyhow.

      In other words, why are YOU getting your panties twisted over this issue? It's not like you could actually enforce your policy if it was posted. Sheesh! It seems like you went out of your way to invent an imaginary unfair situation, just so you could get all steamed up over something that hasn't actually happened.

      I'm just curious, but how often have you desperately wanted to post a website, yet found out you couldn't because you wouldn't be able to afford a slashdotting?
  • by handy_vandal (606174) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:13PM (#5044122) Homepage Journal
    The business section of my local (Minneapolis/St. Paul) phone book begins with a series of entries named "A", each with its own phone number.

    Curious what business goes on at "A", my friend and I called one of the numbers.

    We asked, "What do you do?"

    The man at "A" replied: "I can't tell you that."

    And I still don't know what they do at "A".
  • I wonder if Slashdot posting this counts as a link to links to forbidden sites... That's probably supposed to be illegal too.
  • <offtopic>A shameless but important plug. Please link to this site. [slaverready.com] It's about a temp company, Labor Ready, that is exploiting it's workers.</offtopic> If you are feeling particularly angry at the company after reading about them, post their logo on your website.

    Thanks!

  • How to be stupid... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovos AT chipped DOT net> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @11:37PM (#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.
  • Don't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by famazza (398147) <fabio...mazzarino@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @06:01AM (#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!

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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