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Ziff Davis To Website: License To Link, Updated

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the ominous-creaking-noises dept.

Media 277

An anonymous reader writes "Apparently Ziff Davis is threatening pocketpctools.com with legal action for posting a snippet from and link to a Ziff Davis story. Is it just me, or is this sort of the IDEA of the internet? From pocketpctools.com: 'We are currently being threatened with legal action by a large organization that produces news stories (I am trying to find out if I am "allowed" to post the emails they have sent me). A while back (about a month and 70 posts ago), one of our admins posted a story that introduced you to one of their stories. Needless to say, there was a small editorial about the said story, a short quote from the story, a link to, and full credit given to them for the story.'" Update: 08/08 23:55 GMT by S : To clarify, Ziff Davis/EWeek (and not ZDNet, as the submitter and linked story suggest) are involved in this story. Update: 08/09 02:08 GMT by T : Matthew Rothenberg of eWEEK writes with a clarification (below); it seems like this is just a tempest in a teapot, and linkers can breathe easy.

Rothenberg writes: "Hey! I'm the executive editor in charge of eWEEK.com -- and before this situation unravels any farther, I need to make a couple of quick clarifications about our reprint policy:

While I haven't gotten all the details about what happened, this legal warning to PocketPCTools seems to be a result of miscommunication within our company. We understand and embrace the principles under which sites such as PocketPCTools link to and excerpt our content. There are plenty of occasions when a professional media company needs to question the wholesale appropriation of its content or the use of its marks. From everything I understand about the PocketPCTools case so far, this is NOT one of those occasions!

We're moving to correct the situation now ... PocketPCTools was apparently acting within the appropriate bounds of Web etiquette -- actually, doing us a favor by sending us the traffic -- and Ziff Davis was apparently mistaken in issuing this warning.

My personal apologies to anyone inconvenienced by this error. We're investigating the situation now and will act accordingly."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916021)

Watch out /. you're next. Or at least, Jon Katz.

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916208)

That's his last name? "Schnitzel"?

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916236)

Jon Katz's last name is Schnitzel?

Bush (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916022)

George W. Bush is, like sooooooo cute! I saw him on TV the other day and he gave me that look and I was like OMG WTF ^__^!!11 I'm gonna vote for him even if it means I can't marry my gay lover. Sorry bout that, Rob.

Re:Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916237)

Gentoo?

Re:Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916251)

You bet!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916024)

.----------------.
|_I_I_I_I_I_I_I_I]___
| _ sh0rt bUz: ___ ; _ )
='-(_)----------=-(_)-'

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916075)

mod parent up, mad FUNNNY DUDES

Re:fp (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916180)

or better yet, mod it and you both down for trolling or offtopic, yea, that w00d be FuNNi3z d00dz.....

(god damn, l33t wannabes suck)

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916263)

i like acsii art.

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Uh Oh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916034)

Did Slashdot get permission to link to this story?

Re:Uh Oh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916116)

I dunno, but I like spam.. echyde@bellsouth.net

Re:Uh Oh (0)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916120)

I don't know.... but here [com.com] is one without asking :)

Jeroen

Re:Uh Oh (3, Informative)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916197)

No no no, ZDnet is apparently not owned by Ziff/Davis anymore.

eWeek, is though. [eweek.com]

Jeroen

Blogs (5, Insightful)

Scalli0n (631648) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916036)

I'm going to make a very obvious statement and ask what this means for blogs. If you can strongarm anyone into un-linking something, then where will blogs be able to go?

Also, what the hell was ZDNet thinking, the folks at pocketpctools.com were sending them traffic!

Re:Blogs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916072)

OMG! These guys making blogs might have to use some creativity of their own! Perhaps some of them may even start writing some of their own conent, or thinking for themselves!

Perhaps it's just me, but I'm bored to death by the blogs that seem to just go "gee, today I read this article [slashdot.org] . Isn't it c00l" endlessly. C'mon bloggers - noone (except pagerank) cares about you re-hashing someone elses drivel.

I think the best thing that could happend to the blogging community is if they had to start creating rather than just rehashing content.

Re:Blogs (4, Insightful)

siliconjunkie (413706) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916199)

While I agree with the gist of your post, what you fail to acknowledge is that blogs of the nature you are referring to simply aren't bookmarked/linked to/visited again.

While there are many good blogs out there with unique, original content, there are also many blogs that are creative in the way that they cross-reference and explore a given topic by linking to several external sources and providing insight into how those sources are connected philosphically/intellectualy/topically/whatever. On a good day, I would say Slashdot is a good example of that concept.

The beauty of a well-crafted blog is that it can elaborate and further external articles so that the "whole is greater than the sum of it's parts"

I agree that there are MANY blogs out there like you illustrate in your post, but these blogs are avoided by those who appreciate what a good blog (original content or not) have to offer.

Re:Blogs (3, Insightful)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916247)

I can't tell if you're being serious, but aren't you reading one right now? Slashdot is little more than a glorified tech blog, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Besides, if all you want is pure creativity, you can go to the bookstore and buy a novel or something.

Re:Blogs (5, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916086)

Well, it's an obvious sign that they don't want people reading their publications.

So, I canceled my eWeek subscription.

Re:Blogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916161)

You mean the magazine they keep begging me to take for free?

Re:Blogs (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916289)

I did get it for free. The reason they sent it to me for free was that I'm a target audience for their advertisers, which is where this sort of publication gets the majority of its money.

Re:Blogs (0, Flamebait)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916204)

Well done [slashdot.org]

Re:Blogs (2, Funny)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916273)

Congratulations on being the first individual to wander along and comment on my purported action without reading TFA. From the aforementioned FA:

It is Ziff Davis (ZDNet) that has forced us to remove the story mentioned above. The original story was on eWeek.

Therefore, whatever parent company harrassed them must have been involved with eWeek.

QED.

Re:Blogs (5, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916268)

Instead, I sent this letter to randy_zane@ziffdavis.com who handles media relations at ziffdavis, according to their site.
---
Dear Sirs,

According to a recent article on Slashdot.org, you are demanding licensing for sites to link to material on your site (specifically pocketpctools.com). They say they linked to the article proper, and gave proper credit for the material in their review.

If the article was briefly quoted and proper credit given, via Fair Use Doctrine, then I would consider this to be a misinterpretation of Copyright law on your part, and would see this as an agressive action against weblogs in general. As someone who subscribes to your magazines, I find this very disturbing that you would act to suppress free speech in this way.

I don't have enough information to draw a conclusion since they claim the original article was removed and can not be examined by myself, but I wanted to ask that you please explain further so that I can make an educated decision whether to cancel my subscriptions and discontinue use of your website.

Because I consider this to be an important issue, but do not want to assume your company is guilty of this type of activity, I would request a reply as soon as reasonably possible.

Thank you in advance.

[name, city, state]

----

We shall see if I get a response to what is a polite and reasonable request by a customer.

Re:Blogs (3, Interesting)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916099)

To be honest, most of the tech orientated net could take pre-emptive action and just stop linking to them at all... pretend they don't exist, less linkage and (maybe) less visitors.

Let ZDNet commit htmleppuku if they wish to.

Re:Blogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916137)

To be honest, most of the tech orientated net could take pre-emptive action

The be more honest, they couldn't.

It's amazingly rare for the "tech oriented net" to be coordinated or organized enough to do anything whatsoever. ( groklaw being the exception that proves the rule ) You can't get the "tech oriented net" to remove all the dead links to long dead .coms. What make you think they'd remove the links to one of the few "tech oriented" pages left.

Re:Blogs (2, Insightful)

siliconjunkie (413706) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916135)

I think the result would be similar to the P2P situation: There are simply so many individuals out there that it makes litigation far too cumbersome to be comprehensive. Entities that believe their "rights" are infringed by linking would either have to go after the "worst offernders", a la the MPAA/RIAA vs. P2P clients, or just freekin' get over it and realize that the internet has spawned new ways of disseminating information and that they must evolve or be subject to de-evolution.

I would *hope* that modern industry is capable of the latter, but sometimes I wonder.

Re:Blogs (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916192)

I don't think so. Will ZDNet send a C&D to every blog owner? Will every blog owner simply roll over and comply?

ZDNet isn't going to spend the time and money to try and change the Internet in this way. Nor would the efforts do much to change things anyway.

Re:Blogs (3, Interesting)

Weirdofreak (769987) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916261)

I think I might vaguely understand.

It's a case of territoriality. The got the story, they want it. They figure that since a lot of other sites with the story will link to theirs, if they stop that from happening, they'll have the story to themselves. Or at least they'll have the original, and presumably best/most reliable/trustworthy/informative/whatever. Therefore, people will stop reading the competition and come to them, the source of all power tee emm.

It's still dumb, but what else can we expect from the human psyche?

#include <standard-disclaimer.h>

Re:Blogs (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916267)

I'm going to make a very obvious statement and ask what this means for blogs.

I'm going to make a very obvious statement and point out that no one (as usual), including the submitter (as usual) and editor (as usual), has bothered to R the FA. The issue was the posting of copyrighted content -- the article does not claim that the complaint was over linking. In fact, it sounds like they have a perfectly good fair use defense of the posting, but the linking is simply not an issue.

If I may make an obnoxiously pedantic statement as well, hyperlinks are not "sort of the IDEA of the internet".

Don't Worry... You're Covered. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916037)

They have no case because you provided only and excerpt, gave the source, and provided a link. If it were pay-for-use content - it would be different. Sounds like they are just trying to bully the small guys of the net.

Re:Don't Worry... You're Covered. (1)

WebMasterP (642061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916240)

Even if it was pay-for-use, part of your copyright fair-use rights allow you to use some of the content as part of a larger piece. If the excerpt was short (say, less than 5-10% of the article) and was part of a seperate work (e.g. the comments made about it), he has every right to quote like he did. It's like when you buy a book. You can quote sections out of it even though you don't own rights to the book; you just own the PHYSICAL book.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916038)

Well, either ZDnet people don't know the difference between a product, and press coverage or that other guy is not officially.. press.

Let's send a message... (4, Interesting)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916039)

... let's boycott ZD websites for the next month or so.

I'm fairly certain that if the /. crowd stopped visiting ZD et al. for a month or so, they would realize the err of their ways.

A tech mag/publisher should know better.

Anyone have a list of Ziff/Davie sites we shouldn't visit for the next few weeks?

Re:Let's send a message... (3, Funny)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916053)

Actually, to send the right message we should post a story about ZDnet and /. their servers. See how much traffic you would have missed if there was no link? Damn, ZDnet should pay /.

Mod parent up (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916056)

That's just the kind of thinking that gets stuff done (with no excessive legal fees, either). Screw ZDnet, if they're going to act like bullies, I'm taking my mindshare elsewhere.

Re:Let's send a message... (4, Funny)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916065)

boycott ZDnet India! [zdnetindia.com]

Re:Let's send a message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916080)

Listen to parent, editors. Don't approve any links to ZDNet Articles.

Re:Let's send a message... (3, Interesting)

WNight (23683) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916126)

Let's boycott them by not linking to them. The way Google ranks a page is partly by the popularity of the site. If less people link to ZD they'll show up lower in the rankings.

Like a reverse google-bomb. Less powerful because anyone can post a link, whereas only people who already had ZD links can remove them, but it's still worth a try.

Or, just google-bomb "Ziff Davis" by linking to the page describing their over-zealous legal team. Let people find them, just make sure that damaging information is the first thing they find.

Re:Let's send a message... (1)

robochan (706488) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916193)

That would also cover Cnet. Cnet==Zdnet: the same articles word for word.

Re:Let's send a message... (2, Informative)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916221)

I'll boycott linking to them, for sure.

I have a medium-sized website (about 170,000 pageviews a month and 1,300 members) and while I'm sure they aren't even going to NOTICE a lack of links from my site, I'll do my small part and not link to them ever again.

If everybody did the same...

Re:Let's send a message... (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916264)

Posting such a list would be counter-productive, since so many of the Slashdot zombies would just click away... we'd be sending them more traffic, not less.

Ziff-Davis != ZDNet (5, Informative)

buzzdecafe (583889) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916040)

For the record: In 2001, CNET bought ZDNet. Ziff-Davis magazines were spun off to another company, Ziff-Davis Media. eWeek is Ziff-Davis, not ZDNet.

Re:Ziff-Davis != ZDNet (0, Redundant)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916206)

The original deal with CNET sold the rights to all of ZD's web properties, including the exclusive right to publish all ZD magazine content on the web. It wasn't until a later deal that Ziff-Davis Media recaptured the web domains and right to web publish their own magazine content.

So, in simple terms, the story summary is wrong... (5, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916213)

The bad guys in this case are Ziff-Davis Media, publishers of the print magazines and the www.eweek.com/ website that was linked to in pocketpctools.com's article.

ZDNet, which originally was Ziff-Davis's umbrella web prescence now has nothing to do with Ziff-Davis, and thus ZDNet is an innocent party here, so mentioning its name (as the story summary does twice) is completely inaccurate.

In fact, as it stands, the Slashdot story summary is highly actionable, as it places ZDNet in a very negative light for the misdeeds of a totally unrelated company. But, despite the fact that they're almost certainly libelling ZDNet here, the chances of the Slashdot editors actually doing something about it and changing the story summary are minimal.

Yes, confusing Ziff-Davis Media and ZDNet is a mistake that pocketpctools.com themselves make but the Slashdot editors should know better. Some basic fact-checking on their part wouldn't go amiss but that would involve an actual editorial review process, something that Slashdot has never really had, hence the dupes, fakes, spelling and grammar mistakes, inaccuracies, etc that plague virtually every story summary.

Maybe ZDNet initiating legal action against Slashdot would be a good thing. It might actually wake Taco and co. up to the fact that getting it right does matter.

Re:Ziff-Davis != ZDNet (1)

Richard Whittaker (759551) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916225)

That's good to know! I was just thinking about canceling my Computer Gaming World subscription!

Link Link Link Link (1)

yodaj007 (775974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916043)

ZD-Net [zdnet.com]

Re:Link Link Link Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916096)

So this is the idea of /. boycotting the site. Nice.

Re:Link Link Link Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916097)

Link link link to the wrong company!!!!

You want..

http://www.ziffdavis.com/ [ziffdavis.com]

(I think, although this whole story could be made up, for all we know)

Oh no. (2, Funny)

modifried (605582) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916044)

Slashdot just posted a snippet from pocketpctools.com, and a link to their site. Let's hope pocketpctools.com doesn't threaten legal action.

Ha. (2, Interesting)

protocol420 (758109) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916045)

There is no way this will stand up. No laws are being broken (IANAL), and it would kill pretty much every postnukey news site

Hard to Believe (5, Interesting)

Scalli0n (631648) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916049)

I find this hard to believe, let's see the emails that they 'might not be allowed to post'. Otherwise, it's just them trying to get attention and traffic, in my opinion.

Why use legal means? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916055)

There are easy technical means to stop people from linking to you. You check the referer header, and if it's from a site you don't like... you block it! Yes, a few people will have blank/fake referers, but they are in the minority.

Example... Mozilla's Bugzilla doesn't want Mozilla to link to their bugs, so they block them [mozilla.org] ! Easy.

Re:Why use legal means? fixed 4 u (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916256)

Mozilla's Bugzilla doesn't want Mozilla to link to their bugs, so they block them! Easy.

...doesn't want slashdot to link to their bugs...

Wankers. (2, Insightful)

Aldric (642394) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916057)

I say boycott ZD until they stop smoking crack.

If the content's protected (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916058)

with a password, then yes, you should need permission/a license to link to the article. However, I believe posting snippets for editorial/review purposes is _always_ legal. It's fair use and newspapers rely on it daily.

If there's no password protection then it's publically available information. As long as you're not cut and pasting, you're not copying, so copywrite doesn't come into play. Heck, as long as the data comes off ziff's servers, the only copying taking place is onto the users computers (which you have an implicit right to do so). This is kinda like me giving a speech in the park and sueing passers-by for infringment.

Now, in the fscked-up world of US copyright law, all the common sense outlined above probably doesn't mean much. All I can say is, good luck to these guys.

Re:If the content's protected (5, Informative)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916090)

Remember though, the courts are stupid. They ordered 2600 Magazine to not link to anything ever having any remote thing to do with DeCSS. That looked like a pretty damn clear cut case of violations on 2600 Magazines' rights to freedom of speech, and also was kind of contrary to the entire point of HTML, but the courts did what they did anyway.

Re:If the content's protected (3, Informative)

HrothgarReborn (740385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916147)

Yes but linking to DeCSS would be contributing to a crime (in the view of the court). They were not told they could not do so because it voliated the IP of others. It would be like prohibiting a site from linking to kiddie porn. It is contributing to people distributing illegal material. I disagree about DeCSS but the legal principle is sound.

This case is about not being able to review _legal_ articles without paying a fee and getting permission. That means thay could silence any nay sayers, and it contradicts previous rulings on fair use.

Is this really a big deal? (4, Insightful)

TROLLCmdrTaco2 (156021) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916059)

After reading Slashdot for a while, I get the impression that these things happen all the time, and most of them are due to an overeager employee/lawyer who can be easily shut up with a polite letter pointing out why you aren't breaking the law, or, if that doesn't work, then a letter from a law firm which says the same. This isn't DeCSS-like infringement

It's unfortunate you have to do this, but this kind of stupidity seems like something web-authors will have to live with no matter what kind of copyright laws your country has.

I think the most important thing is just to know that this happens, and not to panic.

Re:Is this really a big deal? (1)

HrothgarReborn (740385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916194)

I have to agree with the parent. The test of our laws is in what the courts decide, not what threats a lawyer can make.

The system is broken however when it is too expensive and difficult to get the courts to step in and make a ruling allowing the little guy to loose simply on the basis that the big corporate lawer can beat up his low budget/pro bono/fresh out of law school lawyer.

Watch out slashdot! (5, Funny)

Muerto (656791) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916061)

Your days are so totally numbered.

Dumb (1)

KangXii (785324) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916064)

ZDNet must be going bankrupt or something to do something this dumb. If you can sue someone for referencing something from another source other than thier own or even mentioning them, a lot of people would be broke right now. Isn't this why the concept of "Works Cited" was invented? As long as you tell where you got your information from, it should be ok, right? Apperently not.

Good Press (0)

attobyte (20206) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916068)

This should give the the press they want.

Assholes

Purpose of the internet? (1, Insightful)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916076)

What's it matter what the internet was designed to do? It's the duty of corporations to bend laws and technological infrastructure to suit their own needs, right? ZD is only doing what any good corporation looking out for their shareholder's interests would do. /sarcasm

Absurd (3, Insightful)

PabloJones (456560) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916082)

This is absurd. If it's just a snippet of information from the website, given proper credit to the source, what could be the problem?

What happens when Google News takes the first sentence of one of their news stories and uses it on their front page?

The point of making news is for people to actually read it (along with the ads displayed along side it). Barring access to this news doesn't make much business sense. Sounds to me like Ziff-Davis has an overzealous legal team, which acts in self-interest rather in the interest of the company as a whole.

Wait a min... (2, Informative)

strredwolf (532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916092)

They followed MLA spec for literary works! ZDMedia has no right to demand removal when it's been properly quoted.

What's in their robots.txt file? (2, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916093)

We should send an email to Google, Yahoo, MSN et al. telling them to remove all link to ZD-Net sites.

That and otherwise stop linking to them altogether.

Not Likly... (2, Insightful)

Demanche (587815) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916094)

I'm sure ZDNet itself has links to other news sources in many places... maybe they should set a standard and pay some royalties to those sites also .. ;)

Looks like Yahoo must have bought out TechTV!!! (1)

Mnemennth (607438) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916101)

This is just the kind of unenlightened ignorant self-destructive money-grubbing BS I've come to expect from them... demanding a nickel in cash over internet traffic worth a hundred bux.

Dipsh!ts.

It's Fair Use . . . (5, Insightful)

HrothgarReborn (740385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916105)

I thnk pocketpctools has a pretty solid stance. If they cannot give a short quote with a reference then why is it legal for me to do the same in a research paper? How will anyone ever be able to do a book review? This type of useage is what makes research and debate possible. I mean Bush can quote Kerry (and often does) in order to make a logical debate, and he does not need a license from Kerry. This is an example of our failed system, where corporate thugs can make any demand and win because the system is too difficult and costly to use to defend one own legitimate rights.

PS Any one who laughs at Bush being logical should get -1 offtopic. Of course, I should get +5 funny for saying it :)

Click through email license... (1)

BlabberMouth (672282) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916108)

Maybe someone needs to invent a click-through email license. Microsoft will probably produce it and thereby force all recievers to install spyware and viruses on their computers to read email.

Contact the EFF... (1)

Romeozulu (248240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916124)

They can help you fight this. If they turn you down, please post why.

Perhaps you don't... (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916128)

Even if they don't have the money to fight this, perhaps someone [eff.org] does. They should ask someone [eff.org] to do something about it.

Idiotic (0, Troll)

i wanted another nam (726753) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916130)

Idiotic accusations made by an idiotic website run by idiots, and trusted by idiots.

I never visit their site anyways. Idiots.

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916242)

I never visit their site anyways.

Which, of course, would explain how you know the quality of their site so well...

zndet sucks now (4, Interesting)

mantera (685223) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916132)

I used to read zdnet a while ago when David Coursey was there, but ever since he got squeezed out it totally sucked. They have this self-promoting Esther Dyson working there whom they interview every now and then and headline her on the front page for a whole week or so; she's such a bore to listen to and her "release 1.0" monthly newsletter is priced at ~$800 yearly subscription. She made me hate the word "visionary".

Well, welcome to the United Reich of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916154)

I've been saying for years that copyright and patent are stealth fascism, but would you listen? Well, yeah, actually, most of the time people do listen, but then still go do amazingly dumb stuff.

Oh well. NUKE THE USPTO!

Sounds like... (1)

PinternetGroper (595689) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916165)

National Public Radio a while back ago...

coincidence (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916168)

Just got a postcard asking me to renew a subscription to one of their mags.

Really have to think about it now.

Who else is on their list (1)

rant-mode-on (512772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916179)

Holy cow, Somebody [google.com] is gonna get sued big time.

What are you supposed to do... (0, Offtopic)

Electrawn (321224) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916190)


What are you supposed to do when Slashdot links your smalltime site...you get a ton of hits and suddenly have a huge bill for gigs of transfer...

Meanwhile, the guys at OSDN made $400 or more serving ads on the comment links while your server is a smoldering ruin?

Is it fair for one commercial site to link to another sites content - producing a leech effect - and not compensating the other site for linking?

-Electrawn

Re:What are you supposed to do... (1)

realdpk (116490) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916299)

First off, you don't have to publish your content on the Internet, where everyone can view it.

Second, you can trivially set up a download limit on your site by removing (moving elsewhere) the content automatically if it gets X many hits in an hour (say).

Re:What are you supposed to do... (1)

bwt (68845) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916305)

Is it fair for one commercial site to link to another sites content - producing a leech effect - and not compensating the other site for linking?

Yes, it is. When you place your content so it is accessible by HTTP, you know that this means that people can link to it. If you don't want others to link to it, you have many options. You can password protect it, you can check the referrer page in the HTTP request header, you can check a cookie, or (gasp) you can take it off the web. You are in complete control. By placing something on the web you inherently agree to allow it to be used in web-like ways that you take no technical steps to prevent.

Besides, all a link does is create an HTTP **request**. It seems that every six months or so, somebody knew gets confused about the difference between copying somebody elses content and automatically asking for a copy to be made. Courts have already rules that deep-linking is legal because there is no copying by making a link and because the originator retains full control.

As always, the summary is wrong. (5, Interesting)

xigxag (167441) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916203)

This is not about linking. This is about Ziff-Davis (or probably a bot) catching pocketpctools.com (over-)quoting their article. They claim it was plagiarism, ppctools claims it was fair use.

Note that pocketpctools.com still links to the article in dispute at the end of their statement. So linking is obviously not the issue.

That is all. Carry on.

What's the matter with Ziff Davis...? (1)

Zathras26 (763537) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916207)

Pocket PC Tools quoted a short passage (which comes under "Fair Use") and gave full credit. They were also giving free publicity to Ziff Davis and guiding traffic to their web site. Threatening legal action? Ziff Davis should be saying "thank you" -- or, at the absolute worst, "Thank you, but please ask us first in the future."

The news post has this all wrong! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916211)

ZD isn't objecting to the link, which everybody here has decided they are. Instead, they are simply objecting to their copyrighted content (the "snipper") being posted on another site.

This is much more reasonable than the news post and the responses to it make it out to be. There is no mention in the article about ZD objecting to the link itself.

Re:The news post has this all wrong! (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916230)

Except, at least in the United States, such a snippet falls well within the guidelines of "fair use."

Re:The news post has this all wrong! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916277)

Yes, but that's not the point, the point is everyone is making a huge deal over ZD objecting over the link... Which they didn't!

Referrer checking (1)

vuvewux (792756) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916223)

Why don't they just check HTTP referrers?

ZD is shooting itself in the foot... (3, Interesting)

rarose (36450) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916231)

I'm sure like many busy professionals, I don't have time to sort the wheat from the chaff on all the different computer news and magazines sites. I've come to rely on a couple of specialist/niche weblogs to point me to the stories that I need.

ZD's actions are going to result in nobody linking to their material, and thus ZD will effectively disappear from the eyeballs of people like me.

The real question, the business question, is how long it'll take them (or their advertisers) to figure that out.

This just proves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916244)

the olds saying:

"Lawyers are the suck"

The solution seems quite simple. (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916250)

Everyone on the internet should quit linking to Ziff-Davis.

Re:The solution seems quite simple. (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916295)

excellent idea, but everyone needs a page to link to instead of ZD explaining why the link isnt there. Oh google, you know you want to do this for us?

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9916255)

Glad to see that Ziff-Davis Media's legal department is as incompetent as its writers.

From the same company that brought you PC Magazine and Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine comes this next bit of inanity.

I'm actually surprised the company has lasted this long - the entire corporation seems to exist in a no-competence zone. Ziff Davis shines as a beacon of light to the incompetent organizations of this world, for it proves to the mediocre masses of corporations that talent, skill, and hard work aren't required to succeed in the world of business.

Oh yes - http://www.ziffdavis.com/press/inthenews [ziffdavis.com] is pretty much a page full of links to articles on websites that are in the same huge-ass media conglomarate that Ziff Davis is a member of - many of which link to other sites on the internet that AREN'T on their websites.

Durr...

No-go, sorry, not having it, fuck you. (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916282)

Copying a snippet might be questionable (if that) but linking is just not debatable, a link is the same as a book reference and there ain't no way in hell anyone is going to pry that bit of free speech out of our hands.

Z-D's Within Their Rights, But Being Stupid (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916288)

There is no absolute yardstick for fair use. The law doesn't specify that quoting anything below a specific percentage of a copyrighted work is fair use, or that anything above is not.

That's why copyright is a civil, not criminal issue. Ziff-Davis probably sends these letters to hundreds of sites every year. (And, it seems to work. When was the last time you saw someone pointing, regularly, to Z-D sites?) Most sites lack the money and means to challenge Z-D in court. Z-D knows they might lose a Fair Use case, but also knows that the recipients won't take them to court. Hence the letters.

It's a silly thing to do -- driving away potential traffic -- but Z-D has the right to do this. And, they will keep on doing it until someone takes them to court and wins.

This is not the first time... (1)

onegear (802747) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916294)

Wasn't there a story a year or two ago about NPR (National Public Radio) doing the same thing?

I thought we had outgrown this. (2, Interesting)

Blue_Lizard (228992) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916296)

Here's a suitable reaction to this kind of thing...

Don't Link to Us! [dontlink.com] links to sites that attempt to impose substantial restrictions on other sites that link to them. The Linking Policy for Don't Link to Us! [dontlink.com] precludes us from requesting permission to link to a site, and compels us to link directly to the targeted page (i.e., a "deep link") rather than to a site's home page. Descriptions of sites' linking policies generally are accurate (though often not complete) at the time they are posted here but are likely to change over time. 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.
Don't Link to Us! is published by David E. Sorkin [sork.com] .

Fixed Fonts (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 9 years ago | (#9916309)

Not to nitpick, but I think it should be illegal to use 6 point fixed-css-based font sizes. Dear lord, I'm still in the 18-24 age bracket and I could barely make out the text, and that's on a 19 inch monitor at 1024x768.
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