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Archive.org Sued By Colorado Woman

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the legally-binding-http-requests dept.

797

An anonymous reader writes "The Internet Archive is being sued by a Colorado woman for spidering her site. Suzanne Shell posted a notice on her site saying she wasn't allowing it to be crawled. When it was, she sued for civil theft, breach of contract, and violations of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations act and the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. A court ruling last month granted the Internet Archive's motion to dismiss the charges, except for the breach of contract claim. If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search."

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By reading this post... (3, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386333)

...you agree not to mod me down for being First Post!

- RG>

Posted notice? (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386335)

Did she post the notice properly, though? There are laws about how you must post a 'no trespassing' sign on physical properties.

Similarly, there are ways to post that notice on your website as well. robots.txt comes to mind. If she didn't bother to post the notice correctly, the case should be just thrown out.

Re:Posted notice? (4, Funny)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386379)

Don't read this post.

Re:Posted notice? (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386473)

OK

Re:Posted notice? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386493)

Ol ernqvat guvf lbh nterr gb abg nggrzcg nal qrpelcgvba bs guvf cbfg.

Re:Posted notice? (0, Redundant)

IndigoParadox (953607) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386779)

Qnzzvg! >_<

Re:Posted notice? (5, Informative)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386399)

No, she didn't post the notice properly:

Her suit asserts that the Internet Archive's programmatic visitation of her site constitutes acceptance of her terms, despite the obvious inability of a Web crawler to understand those terms and the absence of a robots.txt file to warn crawlers away.

The case should be thrown out, period. She should just have learned her lesson and used a proper robots.txt file next time. If you're going to post stuff on the Internet and don't want it to beb indexed or archived, you should know what you're doing. If you don't, it's your problem. The lawsuit is frivolous and inane.

Re:Posted notice? (5, Insightful)

jrockway (229604) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386497)

A case should be thrown out even if robots.txt was ignored. What if robots.txt contains a parse error or was temporarily inaccessible?

If you want something published on the public internet to be private, require viewers to enter a password or present a cryptographic certificate. Everything else is public.

Re:Posted notice? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386659)

It's not about keeping something private. To demand that people not look at unprotected webpages would indeed be ludicrous (although it has been tried more than once.) It's about making copies for other people: You can't go around the web and copy other people's websites. If you don't believe me, register a domain and make a copy of cnet.com.

Re:Posted notice? (5, Interesting)

jrockway (229604) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386721)

The case isn't about copying, it's about the act of spidering.

Also, if copying is illegal, what about copying the website to your browser cache when you display the page? Let's ban that; that will be GREAT for the web.

Re:Posted notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386541)

I mostly agree, but note that robots.txt is a "SHOULD" standard and as such cannot be used to reliably exclude robots/spiders. Anyway, if something is on the web and not password protected, requesting the data from the server is OK (legal even if you ignore robots.txt.) That's just the way the web works. There is only a problem if you republish the data, which is copyright infringement, plain and simple. Now that there are many caching services, one might assume that people who don't use robots.txt, HTTP META headers or HTTP-EQUIV tags implicitly agree to have their content cached. That's where these exclusion standards become relevant: They indicate that such an agreement can't be implied, which would make non-transient caching copyright infringement.

Re:Posted notice? (1)

Looke (260398) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386713)

Archive.org re-publishes other sites' content. That's breaking copyright, period.

robots.txt is a nice convention, but its absence doesn't allow anyone to break copyright. Where does that idea come from??

Re:Posted notice? (2, Funny)

jokestress (837997) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386441)

FYI, the Susanne Shell website Profane Justice. [profane-justice.org] It's got that crazy Time Cube type font usage, indicating a high kook factor.

Re:Posted notice? (5, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386475)

Gotta love it:

IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT. SEE COPYRIGHT NOTICE & SECURITY AGREEMENT (READ BEFORE ACCESSING THIS WEBSITE)


This notice is posted (where else?) on her web site...

Re:Posted notice? (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386585)

There is a link to the copyright notice, but it has a clickthrough which requires you to agree to the copyright terms before allowing you to see them.

Re:Posted notice? (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386677)

Worse, when you click the policy link, this nutjob asks you (without swowing the policy) whether you agree. Then, if you click cancel, it tells you that by even looking at this site, you have already agreed, and the only option is "Ok", after which it takes you to the page where you can actually see what you just agreed to.

As such, even if contracts were binding upon spiders (which they should not be), this is not a legitimate contract because it is not possible to read the contract prior to agreeing to it. IMHO, all the archive.org people should have to do is videotape someone clicking the policy link and show it to the judge, and she will be thrown out of court on her you-know-what.

.

Re:Posted notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386653)

"High kook factor"? Her kookiness is off the scale. She's one of those types who will sue somebody for walking down the street cross-eyed.

Or for calling her a kook online. That's why I'm posting anonymously. :D

Re:Posted notice? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386787)

Not to mention that 2880x659 pixel 826KB jpeg hogging bandwidth at the top of the page, and that the javascript terms acceptance click-through accepts "Cancel" as well as "OK".

Re:Posted notice? (2, Insightful)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386461)

What a stupid bitch. I'm ashamed to live in the same state as her.

The way I see it, there are certain ways to make sure spiders don't index your pages, and we should agree that if one is smart enough to put a web site on the net, one should also be smart enough to learn how these work. Good spiders like any of the major search engines and archive.org will restrain themselves if you setup a robots.txt file (or meta tags) that tell them they aren't welcome.

If she really didn't want her data to be copied, she should have stuck it in a password protected directory, and she could have made her nifty copyright exclusion/contract agreement to apply after users entered the supplied passwords.

and the archive.org crawler obeys robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386513)

so i don't see what the problem is, other than this woman's ignorance.

Re:Posted notice? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386577)

If she didn't bother to post the notice correctly, the case should be just thrown out.
While I agree with you in principle, the law suggests that she did post the notice correctly, since (from what I gathered FTFA) the law doesn't make any distinctions between a human eyeball and a robot eyeball.

...attorney John Ottaviani, ..., says the issue is "whether there was 'an adequate notice of the existence of the terms' and a 'meaningful opportunity to review' the terms."

I'd suggest that not using robots.txt & putting the contract terms at the bottom of the page does not provide a bot with "'an adequate notice of the existence of the terms'" since the bot has to grab the entire pade before getting to the notice... which is why robots.txt gets checked before anything is spidered.

The Judge may disagree & say that spiders will just have to learn to read.

There's also a meta 'robots' tag [robotstxt.org] , which bots may or may not recognize.

Re:Posted notice? - RTFA (1)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386751)

Shell's site states, "IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT," at the bottom of the main page, and refers readers to a more detailed copyright notice and agreement.


No robots.txt ... how should a crawler read this information?

If she didn't want it crawled.. (4, Informative)

Red Cape (854034) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386347)

she should have put a password on it.

Re:If she didn't want it crawled.. (1)

xSquaredAdmin (725927) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386579)

Not even a password would be necessary. Nearly all crawlers will pay attention to robots.txt [wikipedia.org] , so if she merely had that in place, the entire issue wouldn't have come up.

Is it just me, or is this woman... (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386673)

Ms. Sue Happy?

robots.txt (5, Informative)

knothead99 (33644) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386367)

TFA clearly states that there was no robots.txt file. I suppose she expects us (programmers) to rush out and perfect natural language processing so all our spiders can read her stupid notice.

Re:robots.txt (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386643)

No robot.txt insured that a spider, a simple program would at least look at her page as it was so bad no human with the power of reason would be likely to. /me stands on a crowded sidewalk in the buff screaming at the top of lungs DON'T LOOK AT ME!!! then sues each of the surounding thousands who casually look his way..

Re:robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386711)

You do understand that a spider reading and obeying a robots.txt file is simply a courtesy, right? The spider doesn't have to read the file nor does it have to stay away from the areas listed in the file.

Re:robots.txt (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386723)

That's true, but the fact she didn't even attempt to take one of the basic precautions and is now suing over it is, frankly, ludicrous.

If she had a robots.txt file, then she could at least claim she'd attempted to stop her site from being spidered.

Maybe I'm new here... (3, Funny)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386369)

Maybe I'm new here, as you can see from my slashdotid.

But *WHY* in hell would someone want to have their site excluded from search engines, and archive.org?

It's not like she's being deprived.

And even if they did, why the fuck didn't she use a ROBOTS.TXT file? Isn't that what it's for?

Stupid bitch.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (2, Insightful)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386389)

And even if they did, why the fuck didn't she use a ROBOTS.TXT file? Isn't that what it's for?
Clearly she should have. However, she didn't and that's the issue at stake here. Is ignorance of the procedure an excuse?

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386483)

Clearly she should have. However, she didn't and that's the issue at stake here. Is ignorance of the procedure an excuse?

No it's not an excuse. By placing her information on the internet, she must comply with the standards of the internet. The important thing is that there was a legitimate way to prevent this which she could have implemented, but she didn't. Just as the cartoon advertisement got in a shitload of trouble in Boston. It's not that they weren't allowed, but rather they simply needed to file the proper form.

If you were to use a felt tip marker to put your copytight notice on a braille flyer, but didn't put the notice in braille, and someone who read the braille and was incapable of reading the marker then sent that notice to their friends, I suspect they would not be in violation of the copyright notice.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (1)

mp3LM (785954) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386393)

I believe you answered your first question when you called her a "Stupid bitch."

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386405)

"Stupid bitch."

That's an interesting way to sign your post.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (1)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386423)

Uh-oh... faux pas... replying to my own comment...

I found her site: www . profane-justice . org (don't want to actually link to it.)

Two Words:

O. K.

maybe three:

O. MYFUCKING. GOD.

Aside from the obvious criminal lack of good taste and design, this bitch is pretty fucked up.

-- feh.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386527)

Yep. Funny thing is if you click on a link from the front page, you get a popup window saying "You agree to this site's terms of usage and purchase", with OK and Cancel buttons. If you click Cancel it tells you that clicking on the link or reading any document created an "express agreement" to the "terms of usage and purchase". She really is kind of insane. IAAL and most of the stuff I've seen is complete garbage, btw, so I wouldn't recommend anyone rely on her. But you probably all realized that already.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386607)

what a gem.

"Permission and limited, non-exclusive license to reproduce this web site, by any method including but not limited to magnetically, digitally, electronically or hard copy, may be purchased for $5,000 (five thousand dollars) per printed hard copy page per copy, in advance of printing. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, check, money order or cash."

O dear, will I be sued now?

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386611)

Good call not linking it, that 825KB jpg for a header graphic would be sure to kill her bandwidth in mere seconds if it were linked from /.

(Not that I advocate the slashdotting of a website owned by someone who, after reading said website, clearly deserves it IMHO...)
=Smidge=

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386439)

What boggles my mind is that this is considered news. It's just some person exploiting the US Courts YET AGAIN to sponge some ca$h from deep pockets. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386621)

What boggles my mind is that this is considered news. It's just some person exploiting the US Courts YET AGAIN to sponge some ca$h from deep pockets. Nothing to see here, move along.


Isn't that what the courts were made for?

Re:Maybe I'm new here... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386739)

I had archive.org erase my old blog from its memory because I posted a lot of stupid stuff I don't want anybody to read now. I have no idea what this lady's beef is, but I think the ability to remove personal information from search engines and archive.org is needed in this day and age.

Imagine interviewing from a job, and having your top hit in Google being, "John Doe: OMG that black dude is such an unfair bitch he hit me with the fucking rocket launcher when I was trying to give money to this hooker" just because GamePostings.coom happens to have a high siterank. People change, and the internet is old enough now that people in the world looking for jobs, loans, girlfriends, etc have crap like that posted all over.

I'd love it if Google and other search engines had a policy of booting forum posts from their index after a period of time, say 2 years. That said, I don't think the government needs to be involved.

robot rules? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386381)

isn't there something like robots.txt which contain rules for what aprt of the site a robot is allowed to crawl?

Um...robots.txt?! (1, Informative)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386395)

The article states that a crawler can't read, but they can -- robots.txt.
--
Franklin Brauner

A link to the site in question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386415)

http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

Bigger question to be asked.... (1)

KeyThing (997755) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386417)

In the early fight against spam, there were a number of automatic replies that stated if the sender continued to send email messages to the address, that they are agreeing to a "Handling and Reading Fee" of some amount. I still occasionally see it.

I think the bigger question that needs to be asked is how will someone prove they own the site? An email confirmation with an opt-in button won't do it. I could submit someone else's site. They can't force it to webmaster@example.com because not everyone uses a webmaster@ account, nor do people always use the same domain name for email and web.

I've got my own little spider project http://www.linkplan.net/ [linkplan.net] in the works, and something like this tends to make me want to rethink that whole little project...

Guess this is one I'll have to watch closely.

Re:Bigger question to be asked.... (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386693)

Go forward with your project, just host it in another country. Don't let stupid people like this lady scare us away from our hobbies, which were our hobbies long before her kind ever even used a computer.

The site in question? (5, Interesting)

John3 (85454) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386421)

This [profane-justice.org] appears to be it.

Oh, and Ms. Shell, 1996 called. They want their website design back.

PS - By clicking on the link above you are agreeing to all the stuff Ms. Shell posted on her site.

Re:The site in question? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386569)

There isn't even a clickthrough!

Even the most basic protections to safeguard whatever rights she might enjoy to that content are lacking.

Re:The site in question? (1)

Kpt Kill (649374) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386589)

Oh, and look, i can print out a single page for 5000 dollars per hard copy. I'm sorry, but this shouldn't be legal. If she wants her content protected, it should not be placed on the public internet. (password protecting the site would be OK) Oh, and clicking on any link (according to one of the buttons) binds me to her EULA. Even, apparently, the link to read more about her insane copyright policy. I hope the the wayback machine can counter sue her out of existence. good riddance.

Re:The site in question? (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386605)

Oh, and Ms. Shell, 1996 called. They want their website design back.


Jesus fucking Christ my EYES! Why so many fonts and colors?

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:The site in question? (1)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386649)

On her Navigation menu go to "Contact Us" -> Copyright. Click "Cancel" on the dialog (yes, there's a dialog). This site isn't just old, it's bad.

A more relevant link (5, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386737)

Check out her current robots.txt [profane-justice.org] file.

Re:The site in question? (1)

kassemi (872456) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386747)

Hell, it even has a keywords meta tag... No internal search engine that I can see, so she must have been expecting something.

it would actually be nice if ... (1)

boxlight (928484) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386427)

It would actually be nice if when you decided to take something down off the web, it was gone forever. How many embarrassing photos and postings have we written over the years? There's something about people being able to google or way-back-machine your past that's makes you feel *exposed*.

I often wonder about all those girls that are nude on the web -- aren't they going to grow up and wish all that stuff would be taken down?

Still, that's life -- once it's out there, it's out there. The lady in the story doesn't (or shouldn't) have a chance.

Re:it would actually be nice if ... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386499)

I'm too lazy to look this up right now, but can't you request that archive.org remove your site's content from the archive (assuming it is actually your site)?

Re:it would actually be nice if ... (2, Informative)

xSquaredAdmin (725927) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386537)

She did request that they did, and they did so. Then she asked them for $100,000 in compensation for copying in the first place. You can read more here [phillipsnizer.com] .

Re:it would actually be nice if ... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386603)

Ahhh. Thank you. So, does my local cached version of the site constitute a "copy" that I've made? If so, I think this woman finally discovered what the elusive Step 2 is...

Re:it would actually be nice if ... (2, Informative)

Looke (260398) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386647)

Technically speaking, yeah, sure it's a "copy". You don't have the copyright for it, so you're not allowed to re-publish it. That's what Archive.org is doing.

Re:it would actually be nice if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386613)

"I often wonder about all those girls that are nude on the web -- aren't they going to grow up and wish all that stuff would be taken down? "

Many years ago a friend and I were joking saying "wouldn't it be cool if you could look up any girl naked on the Internet?". We are getting dam close to that. I would be horrified to have myself naked online for all of eternity.

Hey ladies, when that "friend" of yours promises that he won't publish those party pictures of you online don't believe him. That or you could like stop showing your tits on your webcam constantly.

Vying for No. 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386445)

Does this make her the most hated person on the Internet now? http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/14/22 20210 [slashdot.org]

I understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386451)

why she doesn't want any references to her website for the future.
If you check out her website at http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org] , you'd wish you were blind.

A bit about Suzanne Shell (5, Informative)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386457)

She's quite a a firecracker. From http://www.westword.com/2005-02-10/news/beyond-con tempt/ [westword.com] :

She's been ejected from courtrooms by judges and attacked in a hallway by a convicted child molester she was trying to capture on film. She's been arrested in Wisconsin for refusing to turn over her video equipment to a police officer and detained at the Colorado Springs Airport because she forgot to remove a .380-caliber pistol from her carry-on items.

Much more about Suzannne Shell (fun to read!) (5, Interesting)

Diordna (815458) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386729)

Oh, don't worry, there's more on page 2 (emphasis mine):

In 1974, when Suzanne Shell was seventeen years old, her father punched her in the face...despite being a straight-A student, a cheerleader and a member of the marching band at her Minnesota high school, she was labeled an "out-of-control teenager" and placed in a foster home for her entire senior year...At seventeen, she also gave birth to a daughter that she gave up for adoption.
I find it interesting how information is used selectively here. She is cast as the victim in the second and third paragraphs, with the standard foster home sob story. She was supposedly a wonderful person, but then we find, buried in parentheses a paragraph later, the bolded text above. Hmm, pregnant...cheerleader...

It also looks like her own kids reported her for child abuse and went to live with their father, and she's pretty ticked about that.

She wonders why she's disliked by the court system. Well, the evidence is all over the article:
  • "Every phone call that goes in or out of my house is recorded."
  • She's with the "pro-spanking, home-schooling, families-first forces."
  • "Shell urges her readers not to cooperate with the child-protection system at any level."
  • "If you see a child whom you suspect of being neglected or abused, you probably shouldn't report it...since the kid could be victimized further in foster care."
  • "Tape everything. If it looks like the brutes might try to remove your precious dumplings from the home, hide them. If they snatch Junior anyway, plant a bug in his teddy bear so you can monitor what goes on in the foster home."

And look how effective she is!

"I don't think I've ever had a case where she's been involved where we have not ended up terminating parental rights," says Rocco Meconi, Shell's nemesis in Fremont County.
Heck, this belongs on Fark not Slashdot.

The notice in the cupboard (1)

Philomathie (937829) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386459)

Is it just me or is this a bit like having a sign saying "Trespassers will be shot" on the INSIDE of your house?

Suzanne Shell's Website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386469)

Hop to it, Slashdot:

http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

GRRRRRRRRRR (0, Flamebait)

ico2 (817589) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386471)

robots.txt? NOARCHIVE?
People should have to take an exam or at least an IQ test before being allowed near a computer, Women doubly so

Re:GRRRRRRRRRR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386717)

With a statement like that it's clear you'd fail said test.

Re:GRRRRRRRRRR (1)

LinuxIsRetarded (995083) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386761)

People should have to take an exam or at least an IQ test before being allowed near a computer, Women doubly so
You're a confirmed bachelor, aren't you?

Dangerous but good (1)

AnonymousCactus (810364) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386481)


Cases like this are good for the Internet because they have the opportunity to officially set the rules so little guys don't have to be worried about being sued. And, sure, some idiot court could say that her rights were violated, but I'd suspect at that point some group of companies with a combined trillions of dollars will enter the case and it would be overturned.




It would be great if robots.txt somehow got the force of law. A lot of stupid lawsuits would go away.

Her "contract" is mistyped = null and void (1)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386495)

Quote from her website in the "contract" notice (bold is my emphasis): "The content if this web site is intended to generate income, it is not free if you intend to archive, copy, print or distribute anything electronically fixed herein."

Since the wording of the contract is wrong, the entire contract should be null and void.

Re:Her "contract" is mistyped = null and void (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386615)

Since the wording of the contract is wrong, the entire contract should be null and void.
Ummm no. That's not exactly how contracts work.

I'm assuming she's proceeding under a browse-wrap theory of assent to contract, which seems stupid. See Register.com v. Verio and more on point the realnetworks case (I believe). While I enjoy archive.org, if they are literally "archiving" by storing copies of pages for recall by users, she should just pursue it as a copyright case. The situation is fundamentally different from a search engine storing the page for indexing, (google cache aside). A contract case in this instance would be much harder to push.

Now, I would love to see the court declare that robots.txt is the way you should dictate whether or not you consent to indexing/archiving and if you fail to do so, tough. That would be common sense. I like common sense.

Crackpot (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386503)

If anybody had bothered to look at the web site in question, they'd instantly see that this woman is a real crackpot. I can't even figure out what in the hell her web site is about. She obviously has some serious mental issues. This case simply can't be taken seriously.

So be it (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386509)

If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search.
I don't mind if garbage like her site disappears from Google and Archive.org. Not saying that I want this 'opt-in' situation, but I believe that stupid webmasters and perhaps some spammers would be eradicated from the Web if it ever goes that way. Hey, it's a miracle that large search engines don't require us to pay for being crawled!

World is bigger than the US... (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386521)

' If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search."'

No that would only change the nature of the web for US citizens, just like the online internet gamble thingie, the rest of us will shrug and move about our businesses as usual.

Statute of Frauds (3, Informative)

gravesb (967413) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386547)

I'm not in Colorado, so I don't know their particular statute of frauds, but in general it requires a contract, signed, in writing for things over $500. Since, according to the contract on the bottom, one page is worth $5,000, I would argue they need my signature to imply that I agreed to the contract. Also, basic contract law requires a meeting of the minds and an agreement. There isn't one with a crawler. Finally, I don't think you can eliminate fair use rights in the manner that she is doing. That's a basic part of the law. She's trying to extend copyright in a manner that definitely isn't settled, and may have sufficient precedence against to make this a forgone conclusion. I hope that the judge didn't dismiss the claim so that he can establish some precedent on the matter, showing how stupid it is, and prevent future law suits of the same kind.

Court dismissed most charges (5, Informative)

Sabotage (21481) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386553)

It appears her site is at http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

Check out this article here: http://www.phillipsnizer.com/library/cases/lib_cas e456.cfm [phillipsnizer.com]

According to this, she requested that the site be removed from the Archive in December, 2005, and they complied. They're actually countersuing her. They moved to have her claims dropped for various reasons, but the court chose to only drop the ones related to conversion, civil theft and the RICO claims. The issue of breach of contract and copyright infringement still apply.

I think it's absolutely ridiculous that this can go forward, especially when there are two established methods to stop the Archive's activity: The opt-out, which will remove history, and robots.txt (which she didn't use and appears to still not use), which will prevent that spider from ever archiving her site again.

Her site shows up in Google, I wonder why she hasn't sued them? Could it be that she likes the exposure of the big search engine, but doesn't want any history of her site archived by the Internet Archive?

robots.txt (1)

Gunark (227527) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386561)

It's called a robots.txt [robotstxt.org] file, and all reputable webcrawlers/search engines respect it. We don't yet have the technology to read arbitrary exclusion notices posted in English, but we do have a widely used machine-readable standard for requesting that your pages not be indexed. If the person in question was so adamant about her site not being crawled, she should have spent the 5 minutes needed to read up on robots.txt.

Spidering and storing (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386567)

It seems like a matter of fair use to me. Looking at every web site and making word indexes is almost certainly fair use. But making exact copies and redistributing them is not fair use. She wrote the content, and therefore she owns it. Putting it on the web implicitly gives you the right to look at it, but not to give it to others.

Potentially, it deprives her of ad-based revenue, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that she owns it and should have something to say about who gets to distribute it. She can't retract something she said; if it's embarrassing then it's out there. But to have somebody else using her content for another purpose just feels wrong to me.

Maybe I'm behind the times in terminology, but I think of "spidering" as looking at every web page by following links. That's not the same as making and distributing exact copies. (Is "crawling" any different from "spidering"?)

Archive.org should work the same way YouTube does: if she sends in a notice saying that she doesn't want her site mirrored there, then they should take it down. Along with a snarky note about how if she'd just put a robots.txt file there in the first place, she wouldn't have this problem.

Re:Spidering and storing (1)

Looke (260398) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386623)

Indeed. I hope she wins.

Archive.org doesn't only crawl and index like a search engine, but it re-publishes other sites' content. Archive.org doesn't only offer one recently cached instance of the site, like proxies and Google's cache, but it publishes a row of snapshots from different times.

Archive.org is a flagrant breach of copyright, and most certainly should be opt-in. The lady in the story should have a strong case.

robots.txt is merely a convention. Absence of that file doesn't allow anyone to break copyright.

Re:Spidering and storing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386769)

Guess reading the article was a bit too much to ask, but the IA did remove her content when requested.

Site already "entered" by reading the home page... (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386571)

Since one has to read the home page of her site to read this "contract notice", the site has already been entered. Thus the contract terms are already invalid. Its not like you are posting a notice on the outside of your house. In order to see the home page, the webserve has to serve up index.html or default.htm. There is no distinction between serving up the home page, which is already on the *inside* of the site, and serving up any other content file on the inside of the site, at least from the top level directory of the website. It would be more like posting a sign on the *inside* of your house saying "If you have entered this house, you are now in a contract." And further, having a mechanism in which, if a passerby knocked on the front door, the door automatically opens and the passerby is shoved into the inside, immediately forcing the passerby into a contract.

The only distinction between serving up index.html or default.htm and the rest of the website is the *convention* that index.html is the home page. Well, following the robots.txt rules for controlling spidering is another *convention* that is every bit as much a part of the innate SOP of building a website as posting index.html.

If she had really wanted to construct a contract making a distinction between "entering" and not entering, she needed to put a password (.htaccess) on the top level directory so that the webserver would not automatically serve up parts of the website without some form of mutual agreement.

How would this effect the internet at large? (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386591)

I'm actually asking. B/c as I see it, this will only effect sites physically located in Colorado. For that matter, even if US federal law made this possible, how would this effect any site outside of the US?

Seems to me that there's more than just a little bit of hubris going on in the assumption of how far this ruling will reach.

When asked, I clicked no (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386593)

Because I don't agree to this:

--QUOTED IN PART WITH FAIR USE--
IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT. SEE COPYRIGHT NOTICE & SECURITY AGREEMENT (READ BEFORE ACCESSING THIS WEBSITE) - Copyright 1996- 2007, Suzanne Shell and individual contributors where appropriate. The content if this web site is intended to generate income, it is not free if you intend to archive, copy, print or distribute anything electronically fixed herein.

Reproduction and distribution prohibited without permission. This web site is licensed to be viewed on a computer only.Permission and limited, non-exclusive license to reproduce this web site, by any method including but not limited to magnetically, digitally, electronically or hard copy, may be purchased for $5,000 (five thousand dollars) per printed hard copy page per copy, in advance of printing. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, check, money order or cash. WE DO NOT ACCEPT GOVERNMENT PO'S - this fee schedule specifically applies to any state agency, employee, contractor or CP$ service provider or any person listed on American Family Advocacy Center Bad Advocates pages. CP$ agencies and coconspirators have found this site to be extremely valuable, preferring the contents of this site to any other site. Hence, the premium price. Family Rights activists or advocates may obtain reduction or waiver of license fees upon request.

All online purchases are nonrefundable. In the case of a dispute involving a purchase, the purchaser agrees that the record of electronic delivery generated by the online document delivery service shall constitute incontrovertible proof that the item charged was delivered to an authorized user of the credit card or online payment service account. If the card owner contests the charge the document was delivered and we are charged fees for a charge back, cardholder agrees to pay to us the amount of the purchase plus $50 or double the purchase price, whichever is greater, upon demand.

If this intellectual property is stolen, infringed or used to harm any member or associate family of any Family Rights group, the copyright holder will seek appropriate remedies under applicable laws. Anyone visiting this site consents to jurisdiction and venue remaining in El Paso County, Colorado.
--QUOTED IN PART WITH FAIR USE--

Not to be a technical smart-ass, but everyone with a modern browser with default settings makes an electronic copy of her website every time they visit (in their memory cache immediately and their disk cache shortly thereafter.) If the system doesn't have enough physical memory to keep everything in ram, it might even get dumped to swap. Making it possible to have a round total of 3 copies without even trying. Since she hasn't sued every visitor one could argue she's given up her right to do so.

Also, I don't agree to something simply by reading it. I have to indicate it (see: Electronic Signature [wikipedia.org] ) in a legally binding manner. And the 1996-era pop-up (that does no checking to prevent me from clicking no and continuing) certainly doesn't constitute a legal agreement.

Sounds like someone just wants to make a buck through the legal system.

technological ignorance. (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386731)

I particularly like the place where the site says "Why can't I print this." I clicked through to see what the reason was (they seem to want a pile of money - $5000 - for every page printed since the site is "so valuable"). The claim was that they'd disabled the print and copy functionality on the page, but firefox had no trouble at all producing a print preview page (though their style sheets are broken so it doesn't render correctly). Nor did firefox have any trouble saving a copy. And I had no problems viewing the source. I didn't try wget, but suspect it works nicely (really, it must, since they're complaining about spidering).

That they also have a recommendation (on their "problems" page) that you disable virus protection "for this site only" is just further evidence of something odd somewhere.

Re:When asked, I clicked no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386735)

I know this is off topic, but look at that return policy. If you charge back, you have to pay back the purchase price + $50 or double the purchas price, whichever is greater. That's completely nuts.

Re:When asked, I clicked no (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386775)

Also, I don't agree to something simply by reading it. I have to indicate it (see: Electronic Signature) in a legally binding manner. And the 1996-era pop-up (that does no checking to prevent me from clicking no and continuing) certainly doesn't constitute a legal agreement.

There was a popup? I guess my Firefox settings blocked that one.

Send her love. (1, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386639)

dsshell@ix.netcom.com

wget -r -l0 --delete-after http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

Big deal? (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386675)

Ok so lets say the judge rules in her favor. Would it be so difficult if robots.txt becomes opt-in. Meaning the no robots.txt equals no spiders. If you want your website on a search engine you have to put in a robots.txt. It would alter the equation for sure, but things would continue working.

Re:Big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386709)

Hey - that might actually mean technically incompetent fundies would lose the internet as a platform for spewing their bile since no one could find their stupidity!! BRILLIANT!

an improvement (1)

Geno Z Heinlein (659438) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386681)

"If Shell prevails... Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search."

For the better.

As clichéd as the g-phrase has become, people that don't want Google to index their sites just don't "get it", and we're better off without them. The internet is a new system that is profoundly more co-operative than any built before. (I say this in the context of all modern culture, which could not have been built without consistently high levels of co-operation for millennia.) I hate leaving anyone behind, but we all have to choose, we all have only 24 hours in a day, and I'd rather work with those people who believe in working together.

robots.txt (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386683)

Nothing to see. Move on. And if that does not help, anything which is not online cannot be "craweld"...

A stupid person (1)

onescomplement (998675) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386695)

She is a stupid person. Bring us back to first principles about the Web and connecting information. Please.

robots.txt (1)

TheCoelacanth (1069408) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386703)

If she does win the case there will the opt-in will probably just go in robots.txt The same place where she should have put her opt-out.

I wonder if she has an answering machine. (4, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386707)

Call it, then replay a message including:

"If you don't agree, say 'NO', otherwise we consider you agree to our contract."
[short silence]
"Thank you. You have agreed to our terms and conditions. We will send you the invoice in..."

(and proceed.)

Since agreement to her conditions is supposed to be implied by a visit of a second party, human or not, agreement from side of the second party, human or not, containing correct reply (or correct lack of thereof - implied consent like in case of her license) is just as valid legally.

What nerve! (1)

DGMavn (1077045) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386719)

I went to www.profane-justice.org and clicked the "copyright" link. I get a OK/Cancel clickthrough stating "I agree to this site's terms of use and purchase" (in first person, no period, and not in question format). Not wanting to pay $5000, I click "Cancel". So then the site tells me "Entry onto this page or clicking on any document link indicates your express agreement to terms of use and purchase." And then it sends me to the page anyway! IANAL, but I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with that series of events.

No Robots (1)

boxxa (925862) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386733)

Use the NO ROBOTS Meta tag and also, there is even a GOOGLEBOT Meta tag to prevent your page from being stored.

Re:No Robots (1)

alexjohnc3 (915701) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386749)

But if she did that, she wouldn't be able to sue the Internet Archive!

My goodness, what an eyesore... (2, Insightful)

Magneon (1067470) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386745)

I wish I could sue this woman for inane stupidity. Seriously, when I was 12 I made a website, and it had robots.txt. Sure, for no particular reason, but it had the file. If this woman overlooks a simple web protocol that a 12 year old can understand and implement, how can she hope to offer advise in anything online? And for that matter, the site is an eyesore.

By putting material on the web, it is understood that any publicly accessible material is copied multiple times every time the page is viewed. The ISPs get it, the browser gets it, the disk cache gets it, the user reads it. The internet is a *protocol* for copying data. To put a silly notice with insane demands at the bottom of the page is not simply futile, but laughably ridiculous. To sue over having content copied from a webserver (which to put it in terms that she might understand is basically like a public photocopier with her webpages permanently installed for every passerby to simply push *copy* and read the material) is like suing people for having a picture of that happens to have your billboard in the background. You put the data out to be seen, but as soon as it's not exactly where you want it, you get angry.

Above and beyond that, it is clear that Archive.org is not trying to steal her profit. You can opt out. You can tell it not to archive in the first place. You can even make a simple script that blocks access to the rest of the site until you click "I agree" to the terms. None of these solutions would take more than 5 minutes.

sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18386753)

i live in denver and i've heard of this lady. she's an abuse survivor who really should be heavily medicated and in a treatment program, but instead we, the public, get to deal with her crazy bipolar ass doing shit like this. it's funny, if you break your arm or get hit in the face with someones cat, you go see a doctor...but if you've got any sort of brain disorder, it musn't be talked about as a motivator for doing crazy things...things like suing the owners of a web index without doing anything to prevent your shit from being indexed. it's like running out in to the middle of a busy street and then getting pissed the fuck off when you get hit, because you were holding a sign that said "if you run my dumb ass over, you're entering into a contract..."

What contract? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#18386785)

If she didn't want it crawled, she should have used robots.txt. If she didn't do that, then how could she possibly claim to have notified anyone about the contract?

You can't create a contract just by claiming you have one.
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