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Another Publisher Challenges Legality of Links

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the where-is-the-commons-exactly dept.

The Internet 288

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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Breakin' the Law!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369358)

microsoft.com [goatse.cx]

Re:Breakin' the Law!!! (-1)

Rock 'N' Troll (566273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369387)

That is not Miro$oft it is Linux

What would Wil Wheaton say? (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369360)

meh?

More Importantly... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369384)

What would Trey from Phish say?

W00t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369364)

First Post

3rd, 4th, or 5th p0st (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369367)

Hey! Eat me fuckfaces.

Prior art for the BT patent (3, Funny)

Papineau (527159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369376)

about the illegality of linking to their content back in 1966 but have since

1966? Excellent prior art for the BT patent!!

back in 1966?? (0, Redundant)

VikingBrad (525098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369379)

Those New Zealanders are more advanced than I thought. But still not enough to get the World Cup. Go you Wallabies!

1966? (0, Redundant)

jfroot (455025) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369385)

Those guys had a website up even before Arpanet was functional? Now that's innovative.

Do NOT link to me! (1, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369389)

Under NO circumstances can anybody link to my site [ninenine.com] . There's nothing I hate more than seeing links to my site [ninenine.com] all over the place. Fucking links... [ninenine.com]

WOW.. WAY TO PIMP YOUR SITE!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369737)

Boy, way to go to pimp your shitty site. Anyway, I have to go beat off now.

Re:Do NOT link to me! (1)

krugdm (322700) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369744)

So sue me... [ninenine.com]

When I was your age... (3, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369391)

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.

Re:When I was your age... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369645)

Of course Bruce here was probably bypassing "Telescum" at the time and transmitting packets with his hover bag.

Eh eh, brucie?

Why can't they just block it (4, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369402)

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.

Re:Why can't they just block it (4, Insightful)

antis0c (133550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369468)

Simple, they get no money out of it.

Re:Why can't they just block it (2)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369622)

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.

Re:Why can't they just block it (2, Interesting)

PatientZero (25929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369681)

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.

WOW! Prior art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369406)

illegality of linking to their content back in 1966
Anyone looking for prior art on hyperlink patents [slashdot.org] should definitely check this out.

Wise up (2, Insightful)

russx2 (572301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369412)

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'.

Re:Wise up (2)

prockcore (543967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369500)

"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]

Re:Wise up (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369576)

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 (1)

broken_bones (307900) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369734)

I can understand your sentiment. No one want their work or knowledge to be misconstrued and mininterpreted in a way other than intended. However I don't think that links being "in context" can be an appropriate standard. First because context is vague and has no definition that can be objectively applied to all situations. Determining the validity of a link based on context may also lead to repression of free speach. If I want to link to a paper because I beleive it supports the notion that Slashdot is run by a group of psychadelic (sp?) cows I should be able to do so regardless of whether or not the articles author intended it in that context. The beleif oulined above may be wrong but (at least in America) I still have a right to speak in defense of that beleif.

A context requirement for linking would likely have a cripling effect on search engines as they typically provice information about only one page at a time. In my opinion search engines make the web usable as an information source. Without them there is simply to much information to look through to find what you are looking for.

In your last sentence you remak that another site might "lead people into thing [old content] is current." This highlights one great paradoxes of the internet. Vast amounts of data are available but large portions of it are not trustworthy. When an individual shops in the internet maketplace of ideas they must be critical. While deliberatly misleading visitors to your website is reprehensible we all have a responsibility to be objective and careful when getting information from the web.

Re:Wise up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369611)

All content is NOT for all public consumption. When you base your philosophy and your position of argument on a flawed premise, everything that follows is flawed. Back up, think and try that again.

Re:Wise up (1)

Craig Davison (37723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369678)

People like you have a hard time understanding this: If you as the content provider have a public interface to your content, it is public. Do you have a "private" phone number? Impossible. Anybody can dial you up. You just don't have to speak to them if you don't want to.

Private content must have a password or session ID scheme (plus timeout). If it doesn't, what the fuck are you doing putting it on a public network??

Deep linkin' (3, Insightful)

mixbsd (574131) | more than 12 years ago | (#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?

Why are they suing? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369419)

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.

Please Mod Parent to +5 Informative [N/T] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369457)

This message contains No Text because THE SUBJECT SAYS IT ALL!!!

Re:Why are they suing? (2, Funny)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369541)

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

Re:Why are they suing? (1)

xarfel (250123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369563)

oh, but don't you see? it is soooooo much better to make a law, based on the lowest common denominator (i.e. the idiots who have no clue what referrer means), waste everyone's time and money, and get a little free publicity. Jackasses...all of them. I am usually far from an elitist, but these idiots do not deserve to share the planet with those of us who 'get it'.

Re:Why are they suing? (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369594)

It takes about 2 seconds for them to configure their webserver to check Referrer headers and deny deep link requests from another site.

Almost nobody does this, and for good reason. Corporate firewalls regularly strip Referrer headers as such headers can easily be for an internal link. In fact checking referrer is so uncommon that only a couple sites (free hosting, generally) make a stink about referrer being stripped.

You're wrong. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369694)

This is the same Anonymous Coward speaking---

You're wrong about referrer checking being uncommon. Many sites that use the Adult Check system or other subscription/age verification service have one main page which allows ID checking and keep their artwork and content on other pages. How to protect the artwork? The referrer header is quite commonly used to ensure that only link requests from the same site are honored. Of course this header can be forged by a dedicated pir8, but the forger would have to have prior knowledge of where the artwork was located and probably has a Adult Check subscription anyhow to know that.... the real benefit is that "deep links" cannot be followed by the majority of people out there and cannot therefore consume the Webmaster's bandwidth without paying.

Pr0n has paved the way, and it is time for the rest of the world to follow. People will just have to learn to configure their proxy servers and firewalls to comply with something that is definitely a valid part of HTTP.

Re:Why are they suing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369662)

The referrer header is optinal to http. You may as well require your browser to have Javascript to view their site. Due to privacy concerns some firewalls remove the referrer header, and in most browsers have it as optional.

In summary - bad idea.

cloning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369430)

Holger Rosendal, spokesman for the Danish Newspaper Publishers' Association...

Is Holger Rosendal Danish for Hilary Rosen? They're cloning these assholes, those corporate jerks!

letter to the editor--please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369433)

here is an idea from now on write to the editor or webmaster of the wensite..asking permission if they get enough of these eamils then they will stop emailing

Re:letter to the editor--please (2)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369524)

You should see how confused a webeditor gets when you email them asking for permission to list them on your news site.

Why are you even asking? It's your website! they say. Some people don't even realise the implications of their own usage-agreements

"Dear sir, I've written a news article praising your site, but due to your terms and conditions, I've removed all links to your site, thus not allowing you to capitalise on this publicity. I have also taken the liberty of obscuring your website name so as not to fall afoul of trademark laws. If and when you see fit to change your website disclaimer, you're welcome to a link"

Re:letter to the editor--please (2)

ADRA (37398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369568)

hence the differentiation between links and deep links, whatever that is..

My assumed definitions:

Link - Meta request to access content from a discrete source that is ment to be accessed from any source.

Deep Link - Meta request to access content from a discrete source that is ment to be accessed only from a link listed in a content source authorized by their owner.

Now, define the difference on the web, and I will be impressed. Anyone can call any page a deep link if they so deam it, and this is the problem with the dual definition.

1966? (1)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369435)

Didn't realize that hyperlinking was so prevalent way back when I was still in 3-corner pants :-)

That aside;

"Deep-linking is the nature of the Internet. It is without question the killer application for the World Wide Web," Thorborg added. "It will be a very sad day for the entire Internet if the Danish Newspaper Association wins this case."

This quote says it all. When will these idiots realize that they aren't helping themselves? Don't they want traffic driven to their site? I thought that was the whole idea of having a web-site.

I dunno, maybe I'm the one who's missing something here...

Clicking links is theft (-1, Troll)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369436)

I pay for my bandwidth. People who go to my website without my permission are stealing, plain and simple. It's as though someone called me on the phone collect!

but (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369488)

You can do 2 things:
  • Put in code to redirect the user to a welcome page.
  • You change the page/linked being linked to to make a comment about the source, then redirect them.

It depends on how nasty you want to be.

Re:but (2)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369748)

Why should I have to put code into my webserver to stop people from trespassing? Are you one of those people who say that rape victims "were asking for it" too?

No, I don't have to do anything to stop you from trespassing on my private property.

Besides, your referrer solution doesn't work for browsers which lie about the referrer.

Re:Clicking links is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369516)

You are kidding, right? You do realize you are placing your web server
voluntarily on a public Internet? If it bugs you so much, why don't you
just use a firewall and block everyone except those lucky few who you
want to have access. Also, please post your web server IP address so
we can slashdot the hell out of it.

Re:Clicking links is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369690)

You are kidding, right?

Yes, I was making an analogy to spam.

You do realize you are placing your web server voluntarily on a public Internet?

Just as people are with their mail server.

If it bugs you so much, why don't you just use a firewall and block everyone except those lucky few who you want to have access.

I ask the same question of those who believe spam should be illegal.

Re:Clicking links is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369518)

Why do you have a website again?

Re:Clicking links is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369546)

Oh, so if I go to your website without your permission it is stealing? Well,

If website = on public domain then
I don't have permission = tough shit;
print("Take website out of public domain");

dont feed the troll (0)

phriedom (561200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369591)

sshhh

Re:Clicking links is theft (0, Offtopic)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369738)

If email address = on public domain then
I don't have permission = tough shit;
print("Take email address out of public domain");

Re:Clicking links is theft (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369583)

I just have my server redirect people that directly link to a page I don't want them to (irc channel server list for example) to a nice little javascript.open infinate loop a la beast & oldie porn ads, goatse.cx, and the little thing that resizes to full screen and says "Hey everybody, I'm looking at gay porno!" Oh, and I do mark pages I do not want linked as being so repeatedly. I figure if they want to be dicks, they deserve it.

Re:Clicking links is theft (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369616)

If you host an http server on the internet, you are inviting people to look around. The nature of the web is that a web page is open unless proven otherwise. It is like a store with no locks on the door. If it is locked then I won't go in. If the door is wide open, I will go in.

If someone puts a big sign up to tell me that they don't want me to go in and I go in anyway, then I am doing something wrong, but not until.

Re:Clicking links is theft (3, Funny)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369703)

The nature of the web is that a web page is open unless proven otherwise. It is like a store with no locks on the door. If it is locked then I won't go in. If the door is wide open, I will go in.

My website is not a store. It is more like my house. By accessing it you are trespassing on my private property. It doesn't matter whether or not I locked the doors.

Re:Clicking links is theft (2, Interesting)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369620)

I can't believe that none of you got the joke/irony here. Calling someone collect means that they get to choose whether to pay to talk to you. Requesting a page from a web server means that the web server gets to choose whether to give you the page (possibly based on your referrer, etc). It is exactly like calling collect - the choice is entirely up to the responder, not the requester.

Basically aozilla agrees with everyone else, he/she just didn't include the smiley so that you could get the joke. So here it is:

:)

Re:Clicking links is theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369675)

Bravo! Thanks for explaining that to the humor-impaired.

T'was a (almost) brilliant troll... hehehe

Re:Clicking links is theft (3, Interesting)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369726)

I can't believe that none of you got the joke/irony here.

I can't either.

Calling someone collect means that they get to choose whether to pay to talk to you.

True...

Requesting a page from a web server means that the web server gets to choose whether to give you the page (possibly based on your referrer, etc).

True...

It is exactly like calling collect - the choice is entirely up to the responder, not the requester.

It's also exactly like... Receiving spam!!!

Basically aozilla agrees with everyone else, he/she just didn't include the smiley so that you could get the joke.

Yes, I do agree with everyone else that we shouldn't have laws against accessing websites or making collect calls.

Or spam!

Even DDOS? (2, Interesting)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369757)

Yes, I do agree with everyone else that we shouldn't have laws against accessing websites or making collect calls. Or spam!

What about DDOS (distributed denial of service)? Should 13-year-olds have the right to flood you off the network by hammering your connection with thousands of well-formed HTTP requests?

indeed (5, Funny)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369440)

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.

Re:indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369491)

I laughed when I saw 1966. It's a typo, the article is from 1996. Duh.

Thanks for getting to the bottom of that! We were all baffled.

Re:indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369526)

"They call me the Game Detective."

My lawyer friends aren't assholes... (2)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369706)

This story makes these guys look like total assholes. What the fuck.

If someone deep links to one of my pages that somehow screwed up navigation, and I asked them to redo the link elsewhere, I would expect them to either comply or remove the link.

Sometimes it isn't what you HAVE to do, but what is polite. Of course one can do it with referrers, but why can't people be nice regardless.

Deep linking to an image is REALLY poor... <IMG SRC> directly to an image on my server is REALLY rude. Not only do you effectively steal bandwidth and copyrighted work (blah blah blah, letting anonymous access, etc., blah blah blah) you REALLY fuck up our ability to understand what is going on on our sites.

Alex

Get a Clue! (2)

ender81b (520454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369443)

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.

OFF TOPIC: Mac people, help me! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369444)

I bought a PPC 6400 off ebay. It boots up fine, and all seems well, but it didn't come with a mouse (only the KB).

I had already, before it arrived, gone and picked up a BenCole USB card. When i got the Mac, I installed the card, plugged in a USB mouse and hoped for the best.
Of course, it didn't work, as expected, so I used the keyboard to:
*Open the cdrom where I had burned the USB drivers.
*cmd-o to open and mount the .smi
*cmd-o to start the installed

Now's the hard part...the installed opens a dialog (modal of course) with 'agree/disagree'. There is NO KEYBOARD SHORTCUT!

I can't tell it to 'agree' so I can install and have access to my USB stuff (mouse, mainly).

Anyone have any ideas here?

Alternately, there is a subfolder in the .smi that contains a prefs file and a control panel. If I could somehow get THOSE to the appropriate location, I could bypass the dialog box.

I can go, this weekend, to get an ADB mouse I guess, but man oh man, I would feel pretty defeated if I had to do that.

Re:OFF TOPIC: Mac people, help me! (1, Offtopic)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369612)

... my only experience with macs is a 68040 I had, but there used to be a control panel that let you use the numerical keypad as a mouse.

Accessibility or Handicap Options or something like that.

Tim

mien kock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369448)

so who wants to see a picture of my cock?

Re:mien kock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369513)

n/m assfuckers, here it is!! [shuttles.com]

When are people going to realize . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369451)

. . . that if you don't want people linking to something, you shouldn't put in on the Internet! Come on, how hard is this? Anything that is on a public server is fair game. That's the whole point of the Internet.

Re:When are people going to realize . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369589)

Goodbye internet! I mean really. People SHOULD be allowed to post their own content and control how their own content gets diseminated. There should be more W3 standard controls for this. "robots.txt" and other half hearted solutions that exist today are completely inadequet. So crap like this (lawsuits) happen.

But then on /. any sort of content control of any kind is seen as universally bad. So we got:

* No internet at all because noone puts any original content up.
* People put content up hoping people won't just rip them off, but then sue whan people do.
* People put content up with proper content controls (Then lawsuits for people that write programs to break them).

Isn't the net a wonderful place? So what's your choice???

expect a lawsuit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369454)

from wired, slashdot. You deep linkin' fools.

1966??? (1, Redundant)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369465)

wow, so they had a problem with one of the 17 existing links back then?!

Fix your F$#%'n webserver then! (3, Informative)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369466)

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.

Not a lawyerly solution. (1)

Sand_Man (81150) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369502)

There isn't any way a lawyer would get billable hours for a solution like that, therefore it isn't viable.

Re:Not a lawyerly solution. (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369515)

Actually, most lawyers are pretty good at SSI, and bill quite a bit for it.

SSI: Stupid Shit Included.

MadCow.

Re:Fix your F$#%'n webserver then! (2)

realdpk (116490) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369542)

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.

This is something I just don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369467)

It seems to me that a company would WANT traffic to its website. IMO, linking is similar to verbally telling a person, "Well, if thats what you're looking for, then 'Company X' might be a good choice for you." Its basically a free form of advertisement, and companies are discouraging it?

Re:This is something I just don't understand... (2)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369565)

That depends. Is the link to the page that has the article with the original web site's "home" button and advertisements on it? (ok) Or is the links to the article's .jpg where people don't ever realise that the content isn't coming from the site that did the linking? (Not ok)

This (Like all other issues) is not black and white. Sometimes it's ok and should be fine, other times it's clearly not ok. But that descision is made on a case by case basis. Not by making armchair philosophical generalities.

Web site should of course do what they can to prevent deep linking if they feel it's aiding their competitors at their expense. But when the limit of technology to do so its reached, then people may have to go to court.

What if it were books? (2, Insightful)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369470)

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."

Sounds Pretty Ridiculous to Me (1)

Kaio (471336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369487)

I don't see what the problem with links is when the matter is thought about logically. Deep links may bring people past advertisements, but (how can any company not realize this?) it is generally going to be a 1-time bypass that exposes people to their content, and possible gets them more readers.

As far as the legality of it goes, claiming any types of links is just totally absurd. If I walk through the streets with a sign on my chest that says "McDonald's is on 18th street and 6th avenue," would my actions warrant a lawsuit? I admit IANAL, but let's hope not. It seems to me that all websites, unless they require registration (as suggested in the post), should be considered partially public places, as they are more or less freely accessible. Will it soon be illegal for me to bookmark webpages that aren't homepages, because I'm accessing material while bypassing the author's intended starting point? That does not seem like much of a reach if what ol' Bruce Sunstein advocates becomes law.

Oops, Typo... (1)

Kaio (471336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369521)

"...claiming any types of links is just totally absurd..."

That should be: "...claiming any type of links is illegal is just totally absurd..."

come and give it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369493)

hurry up, slashtards! get your valid, unique, and innovative opinion in on this subject, before some other sweaty no-pants-wearing nerd does!!!

The issue is that... (1)

ibsteveog (442616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369497)

the association is against "systematic" deep-linking for commercial profit

The problem isn't linking.. it's deep-linking for profit.

Re:The issue is that... (2)

toast0 (63707) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369700)

well shit, how do i determine if i'm doing something for profit or not?

I mean, on the whole scheme of things, everything I do contributes to my life, and I hope I get something out of it (ie make a profit)

im going to get modded low for this but (0)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369499)

Isn't this the same sort of thing as the virus/hacking type technology? I mean viruses and hacking are illegal, but its still a matter of measures/countermeasures. Is not the ability to link or block links going to be a function of measures/countermeasures regardless of whatever laws that may get passed?


--"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

Rights... (1, Interesting)

Heynow21 (573910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369507)

Just like with the Amazon used book controversy, author's of content should be able to control what happens to it when they create it. If someone doesn't WANT their story linked, they should be able to say no. If someone doesn't WANT their book sold used, then they should be able opt out of having a used listing next to their new one. I'm tired of seeing arguments like "well this is good for them so they shouldn't be griping". Let them make their own judgements about what's good for them

Re:Rights... (2)

3141 (468289) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369651)

What a very obvious troll.

There are so many ways of refuting your argument I don't know where to start.

How about the masterpieces that have arisen through derivative works? Most of Shakespeare's work, for example.

Then there's the argument that the Internet is a public place, and if people didn't want their material viewed they should not have put it online.

Then there's the technical argument of how they could have prevented deep-linking through the refferer values.

What else... how about people's legal rights? The first sale doctrine, for example.

Shall we even talk about how there is nothing immoral whatsoever in a straightforward link?

I think that's enough for now.

Text of Title 17, section 109 "Fair Use Doctrine" (1)

rebill (87977) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369718)

Cornell has the legal text for the Fair Use Doctrine on-line here [cornell.edu] .

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

In other words, the original author of the work has no rights at all to dictate to me whether I can resell a book that I legally purchased from him.

At least, not in the United States, he does not.

Slashdot affected by outcome? (1)

ibsteveog (442616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369519)

Just a thought - if the courts rule that you can't link into a site (bypassing the home page) and make a profit for doing it, wouldn't slashdot get reamed on this?

Either subscribers or advertisers are paying /. to post links pointing inside news websites...

In any case, I think this issue is rediculous. If someone can type in your URL and access the content there, then it should be linkable.. if you want to force people to visit your home page, check the referrer or set cookies or something.

suing eavesdroppers? (1)

Jon_Sy (225913) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369531)

If you were to hold a private conversation in a restaurant, it would be ridiculous to sue other diners for hearing what you said. If you were to hold a lecture series in a restaurant and try to charge people just for listening to you, you'd be an idiot.

Why is this any different? HTTP isn't a medium built for privacy. Intellectual property and the web don't mix...if you want something private, then keep it OFFLINE. Otherwise whatever you get (or lose), you deserve.

If only... (2)

ADRA (37398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369533)

"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?

Sad day ... Stephen King dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369549)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Why do people/companies do things? (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369570)

Because they can. It's not a crime to be or act like an idiot, so people and companies do all the time. Also, many companies file suits and challenges knowing full well that they either have a slim or no chance to prevail. Why? Several reasons. First, to delay. If I can delay but not ultimately something from happening, I may lose the battle, but wind up winning the war. Look at SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits for example. Second (and I'm thoroughly convinced that this is on its way to become the #1 reason), many courts and judges are so clueless these days that these (clearly wrong) people and companies have the best chance of actually winning that they've had in decades.

Google News may be in trouble (1)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369581)

Google News [google.com] utilizes deep linking from its indexing to create the most functional news portal on the web. Outlawing deep linking would kill one of Google's coolest services.

Also, so much for Matt [drudgereport.com]

hmm... (2)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369582)

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.

cancelled my BT (UK) sub, got though to BT lawyer (2, Funny)

fiddlesticks (457600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369584)

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.

This is why Dilbert is funny. (1)

hieronymous72 (454289) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369585)


Rather than spending oodles of dollars on lawyers and court fees they could have just submitted a work request to their web site administrator(s) to require all incoming requests that aren't referred by the site itself to redirect to the homepage. The homepage could be made aware of this and then *tell* the person whatever message they want to tell and then allow them to go on to the original content requested.

But noooo, they have to employ overpaid lawyers to suck more money from their coffers.

Will they ever learn?

where-is-the-commons-exactly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369590)

up-timothy's-ass

Google (2)

legLess (127550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369605)

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.

Blade said it best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369607)

"Some motherf*cker's always trying to ice skate uphill."

I just had a great idea. (0)

KingSlime (574547) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369608)

I'm going to press charges the next time someone says my name in public and points to me. No matter what it's about. If they're giving me credit for something, or just offering me money. I'm gonna sue. You know why? Because I'm offended by people saying my name. It's obviously some kind of ploy to steal my ideas and work without giving me credit even though the info is on a page that gives me credit! And even though the links give me credit! They're STEALING MY WORK. THOSE THEIVES. WITH THEIR LINKING. The utter stupidity of that argument just astounds me.

This is like trying to ban soundbites. (2, Insightful)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369638)

"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)

What is their deal (1)

cdf12345 (412812) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369647)

I don't understand why they are pissed?
I mean you typically put up content to have people access it. And then when they access it you're pissed becuase of the method they found your information and go and sue them?

That's just stupid.

That's like a newspaper saying you can read the sports section but you have to flip through every page before it first to get there

Whoa people.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3369670)


>But the association is against "systematic" deep-linking for
>commercial profit, a stance that angers many Danish site owners.
>
This is the problem here. It seems people want to *sell* acess to these links which is a whole diffrent kettle of fish.

M$ new deep linking policy (2, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 12 years ago | (#3369730)

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.

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