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The Internet Your Rights Online

You Can't Link Here 325

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

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @06:43PM (#5043226) Journal
    Translated Site [google.com]

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


  • Err...history (Score:1, Informative)

    by Dr_Ish ( 639005 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:10PM (#5043381) Homepage
    If my recollection is correct, all this linking silliness was started a few years ago by http://www.ticketmaster.com getting annoyed about deep links to their site. The really silly thing about this whole issue was that the possibility of links is what motivated the very development of the HTTP standards. Do the outfits that want to regulate linking really expect us to turn back the clock? Even the venerable old gopher system encouraged links! What is that old line about folks who forget their history...?
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:10PM (#5043386) Journal
    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...
  • by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:32PM (#5043568) Homepage
    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...
  • HTTP_REFERER can be faked, or unused. It cannot be trusted.
  • Re:taboo links (Score:2, Informative)

    by Snover ( 469130 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:40PM (#5043621) Homepage
    If they didn't want linking, couldn't they just deny anything that had an HTTP_REFERER?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @07:41PM (#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 @07:46PM (#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.
  • simple work-around. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fuzzums ( 250400 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:27PM (#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.


    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 ;-)
  • Is there a problem? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @08:32PM (#5043895) Homepage
    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 glob ( 23034 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#5044227) Homepage Journal
    >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?


    >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.

  • Re:Big Hairy Deal... (Score:2, Informative)

    by grolim13 ( 110441 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @10:16PM (#5044411) Homepage
    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.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @11:57PM (#5044897) Homepage Journal
    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.


I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright