Latest on UK WWW links copyright infringement case
25 Nov 1996 15:53:09 +1100
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Latest on UK WWW links copyright infringement case
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org at DSS-INTERNET
Date: 23/11/96 12:26 AM
At 11:51 22/11/96 +1100, you wrote:
>>>...You can read about it on the Shetland News <www.shetland-news.co.uk>,
>>>under the title
>>> Help fight the legal battle for free WWW links...
>This issue came up concerning links to academic publications in the IT
>field. at the meeting of computer society presidents I attended. We agreed
>someone should write some guidelines about it (but I can't remember which
>country volunteered to write them).
>My two bobs worth is this.
If I write a page and some-one wants to link
>to it thats fine if they ask.
So would you also say "if I write a book and someone wants to mention it in
another book that's fine if they ask"?
I always do.
>The published material we put up costs money to produce. If a competing
>commercial company wishes to utilise the links to produce the illusion of
>critical mass on their web site. Then they can ask, and if need be, pay for
Most of the references to links on the net are not of this type. Everyone
seems to agree that you are entitled to protection from this kind of
misuse, but the concern is that to protect you by making any linking to
sites, or to pages within them, a breach of copyright, or by accepting that
you (and other site publishers) have a moral right to control links to your
site by giving or withholding permission for them, would be to cripple the
>There is a huge cost difference between producing and publishing information
>and building "signpost" pages. If the industry is to survive it must be self
Surely having a lot of signpost pages is broadly in the interests of people
who publish for profit - and if you want parts of your site to be accessible
only through your own front page, you can set up the site in that way.
>After all there is nothing but advertising to pay for the pages and a
>competitor may well take a paying customer who doesnt know any better, and
>there is then no funds to support the true production of information.
>In a perfect world where the production of pages is for academic purposes
>and funding is no problem then the links would of course be free to all.
>But if I dont want to link to another site, and I dont want them linking
>to me then I wish to be able to have my say on that.
The net is what creates your business - not the other way round. Sites are
produced for a whole range of purposes - academic, artistic, social, private and
commercial. Your assumption that your set of purposes are the real/important
ones and that the others should only be respected "in a perfect world" is
gratuitous. If I were feeling uncharitable, I would say something about the
leech's view of the value of the human blood supply. The protocols need to
accommodate all these needs and can only do so if they retain the distinction
between stealing your material and linking to your page.
>I do not see the Shetland issue as a fight for free educational/academic
>links, rather I see it as a small publishing company fighting for the right
>to parasite of the information gathered by a directly competing comercial
>company publishing in the same area.
>If I publish a newspaper it is my perogative to charge you for it or give
>it away as I see fit. The same holds true as I see it in this case.
If you publish a newspaper or book you have no legal right to prevent me
from mentioning it or quoting from it (within the constraints of
copyright law) and no moral right to expect me to ask your permission
before doing so (within the sub-legal constraints of the ethics of
plagiarism). You do have some rights if I steal your material or
pretend to have written it myself. Those distinctions have been worked
out over centuries and they need to be implemented on the net, not
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