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Lawyers are killing the internet.

2005-11-19 20:15:29.340911+00 by meuon 5 comments

Today at the cre824 web design festival, this Lawyer (Mitra Vahdat) said in print in her PowerPoint slides, and in person, and defended it vehemetly when asked in front of others (by me) that "you should obtain permission before linking to another party's page". Specifically if you link 'deep' into a website to a relevant page or excerpt of the the site as a whole. Specifically, she said, this might cause a loss of advertising revenue, or a copyright/trademark violation.

Talk about killing the goose that lay's the golden eggs.. .

Oops, I just violated that legal advice 3 times.

[ related topics: Intellectual Property Interactive Drama Law Consumerism and advertising Graphic Design Copyright/Trademark Fashion ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-20 02:19:19.151193+00 by: mvandewettering

So it's up to me to make sure that links to someone else's site generates revenue for them? If they didn't want you to link directly to internal pages, there are techniques that they could deploy to keep you from doing that. I'm not sure why it's my responsibility try to enforce some model for revenue generation.

Nevertheless, the case law on this matter hinges around a copyright holder's right to control "public display" of his works. It's been some time since I followed this issue, but Kelly vs. Arribasoft would seem to be at least one relevent case with a puzzling outcome.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-20 04:26:56.562987+00 by: meuon

"there are techniques".. Funny, you sound like me! - She did not care, lawyers like here are completely out of touch with most of the real world, unfortunely, they are more 'in control' of some aspects than us technocrats.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-20 14:17:32.480914+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

The problem I have with lawyers is that they can generate income and cost me money based on their own legal opinion that has no basis on any other aspect of life other than their own interpretation of the law. Jesus even had something to say about that:

"And he said, Woe unto you also, [ye] lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers." (Lu 11:46 AV)

This shows that this nonsense has gone on for at least two thousand years.

If I was a judge listening to these arguments I would want to know what the copyright holder had done from a technical standpoint to protect the rights to that copyright from deep linking. If they hadn't done a thing from that aspect I would decide that the deep linking outside of frames or iframes was fair use. I think that in future arguments with lawyers over this matter the question of what a reasonable judge would decide needs to be addressed.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-21 01:10:06.012207+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

I was going to try to track down a bunch of precedent as to why deep linking (unless in a frame or included in another document) is legal in almost all venues (there's a recently slightly wacky decision in Belgium, I think, Denmark that may have an effect on the EU laws, but there have been some heavy precedents elsewhere in the EU), but this weekend has been way full.

But one of the things to bring up is that HTTP[Wiki] has a mechanism for dealing with this. There's a technical solution for telling users that you don't want deep links from other sites, and it's part of the protocol. Anyone who doesn't want such links should use the provided means.

Unless you're a clueless lawyer who'd rather pontificate than be correct.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-21 02:52:17.743966+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Unfortunately, it's not about what is correct, it's about what you can get a Judge to agree with, and set fines/fees and such for. I've been to a handful of seminars about trademark, copyright, patent and licensing lately while I work on projects with other people, what a disasterous morass. Although I'm probably delusional about it, I think I have a strong sense of "what is right", very little in this world is "right" in that sense. Alan Cox said it something like: Patent/IP Law is gambling for lawyers, only the jackpots are bigger and more often.