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Judge Rules Against Deep-Linking of Content 418

Posted by Zonk
from the this-makes-a-lot-of-sense-honest dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Texas judge has ruled that, if a copyright owner objects to the linking of content from another web site, that link must be taken down. This case, which may have some far-reaching implications, centered around a motorcross website. The site, run by a Robert Davis, provided links directly to live feeds of 'Supercross' events streaming from the SFX Motor Sports site. The company filed suit, claiming that the direct links were denying it advertising revenue. The article cites previous cases, where sites were prohibited by judges from linking to files which violated copyright law (such as DVD decryption software). From the article: 'But in those lawsuits, the file that was the target of the hyperlink actually violated copyright law. What's unusual in the SFX case is that a copyright holder is trying to prohibit a direct link to its own Web site. (There is no evidence that SFX tried technical countermeasures, such as referrer logging and blocking anyone coming from Davis' site.)'"
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Judge Rules Against Deep-Linking of Content

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  • by nick_davison (217681) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:39PM (#17342788)
    The moron chose to defend himself and likened the other party to Ghengis Khan.

    Cases are decided on the merits of the argument. If you're determined to enter a stupid argument, you're going to lose - the amount of money either side has or validity of the underlying concept doesn't matter at that point..
  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:40PM (#17342802) Homepage Journal
    Wow. They made the entire Internet illegal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      Wow. They made the entire Internet illegal.

      No, they provided some recourse for someone who was appropriately annoyed that some other guy was enriching the appearance of his site's by 'providing' material to which he doesn't hold a copyright, for which he wasn't paying bandwidth, and so on. Argue all you want about the nuances, but it doesn't pass the smell test, and that's what the court thought, too.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by n00854180t (866096) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:52PM (#17342954)
        Yes, but you miss the larger impact of the ruling, which essentially defines every link on the internet as illegal, so long as the owner of the target site cares to say "boo". And if you take it one step further, any site linking to any site that contains copyrighted material would also be illegal, covering all the rest of the content on the internet, that may or may not directly host copyrighted content or have bothered to copyright their site design.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Aadain2001 (684036)
          I think the key concept you are missing is the linking directly to copyrighted material that the owner does not want others to link to. A copyright holder can decide who and how their material is distributed (as it should be). What is this rules does is reverse the rule of thumb of "if you put it on the internet, you are publishing it for anyone to see, unless you protect access to it". Now, instead of having to protect the content through technical measures, they can use lawyers instead. All-n-all, I d
          • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by n00854180t (866096) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:05PM (#17343112)
            You miss the point that it isn't the government's job to secure profits for any business or individual. If the owner of the content didn't want it seen by the public, they should have made it available only to private users, and not via a public URL. This situation is 100% analogous to a painter displaying, in full public view, a prized painting, then demanding $10 to view it, and crying to the government when no one pays your $10 fee to look at the painting. If the artist wanted the painting to be inaccessable, it is HIS JOB, not the government's, to make sure it is not publicly accessible.
            • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

              by Aadain2001 (684036)
              The internet is a bit more complicated than that. To extend your painter analogy, imagine you have to be within sight of some sponsored advertisements at the public space the painting is displayed. Much like NASA car, you just cannot see the main attraction without also catching glimpses of the ads. Now, imagine someone walked up, took a super-high resolution photo of the painting. He could then display the painting around the corner, with his own advertisements, thus profiting off the painters copyrigh
              • Much like NASA car, you just cannot see the main attraction without also catching glimpses of the ads.

                I think you meant 'Much like NASCAR.' And interestingly enough, NASA does not sponsor any drivers/teams at NASCAR, that I am aware of.
              • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:24PM (#17343340)
                Except if you took a high resoluiton picture you'd actually have a copy, distinct from the original. A better analogy might be an artist puts their painting in a gallery window, and you open a shop across the street and put in a telescope so people can see the orignal painting, People still have to go *somewhere* to see the painting, and you *haven't* made an unauthorized copy, you just removed the original context (the gallery window) and replaced it with your own shop.

                Certainly it's not a nice thing to do, and I'd be angry if someone did it to me, but wouldn't you prefer that the gallery just to put up curtains (or check the referer header)? Do you really want the courts saying it's illegal to use a telescope across the street from any art gallery?
                • I was going to say used a mirror to show the painting around the corner rather than the photo, but you're idea is even better.
                  -nB
                • Chicago Cubs (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Kelson (129150) *

                  A better analogy might be an artist puts their painting in a gallery window, and you open a shop across the street and put in a telescope so people can see the orignal painting

                  This reminds me of a case in 2002, in which the Chicago Cubs sued businesses [metafilter.com] that sold access to nearby rooftops where people could watch the games without buying tickets at Wrigley Field.

                  From what I can tell, they eventually settled out of court.

              • by jevvim (826181) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:37PM (#17343538) Journal
                Since we're playing the analogy game, let's go for mine:

                Let's say the painter has constructed a maze, that anyone can enter for free. To get to the place to view the painting, one must follow a number of signs that provide directions through the maze. Those signs also have advertising placed on them, such that people viewing those signs might see the ads. Now one person takes the time to walk through the maze and writes down the sequence of turns to make it to the picture; left, straight, right, right, straight. This person then makes copies of those instructions and stands outside the entrance to the maze and offers those instructions to others, effectively allowing them to not look at the maze's directions or ads.

                That's a deep link; it gets you to a specific point without having to navigate the intermediate links yourself. If those intermediate points contain ads, then you might not see them. The final links on the plantiff's website seem to be direct links to the audio files, much as the defendant has been accussed of publishing. In the end, the act of listening is the same; if this was a matter of embedded audio with ads on the page, I agree the photograph analogy would be a better fit, since it would be changing the context of presentation of the copyrighted work.

              • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by n00854180t (866096) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:07PM (#17343870)
                It is still the domain of the content owner, not the governments, to ensure that access to content is restricted to authorized users (i.e., those that view your ad). Otherwise, you get into precisely the situation this has caused, i.e., the government takes the role of securing the profit of the content provider. If the content provider wants every one of its users to view an ad, it is their responsibility, not the government's, that third parties are not able to view their (PUBLIC! so it cannot be "theft" as some others here are saying) content without seeing ads.
            • You miss the point that it isn't the government's job to secure profits for any business or individual.

              One can argue that the patent and copyright systems are all about the government securing profit for businesses and individuals.

              • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

                by ScentCone (795499) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:35PM (#17343512)
                One can argue that the patent and copyright systems are all about the government securing profit for businesses and individuals.

                There are plenty of non-profit people and organizations that still make use of their copyrights. Not least so that other unscrupulous people can't make money off of their volunteered time, etc. Everyone has those rights to their own work, whether they're personally choosing to make money or not.
          • by russ1337 (938915)
            >>> I think the key concept you are missing is the linking directly to copyrighted material that the owner does not want others to link to.

            If the owner is really that scared of someone linking to their content, I say don't fucking post it on the Internet.

          • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

            by croddy (659025) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:18PM (#17343986)
            A copyright holder can decide who and how their material is distributed (as it should be). What is this rules does is reverse the rule of thumb of "if you put it on the internet, you are publishing it for anyone to see, unless you protect access to it". Now, instead of having to protect the content through technical measures, they can use lawyers instead.

            The problem with this line of thinking is that content isn't "up" on the web for anyone to "see". The server is actively responding to requests for that content by serving it up. Sending a 403 when you don't want to distribute your content isn't actively blocking access -- it's merely not distributing it.

            If you configure a server to your distribute content to anyone in the world who asks for it, that's exactly what you're going to get. You don't solve this problem with lawsuits. You solve with with a fucking text editor and a couple of brain cells.

        • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ScentCone (795499) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:03PM (#17343098)
          Yes, but you miss the larger impact of the ruling, which essentially defines every link on the internet as illegal, so long as the owner of the target site cares to say "boo".

          They didn't make anything illegal. This was a civil suit, where one guy was, despite being asked not to, leveraging someone else's material and bandwidth to fatten up his website with owning the content or doing the work or paying the bills. The guy who sued and won had to take an action for this to be stopped by a court, just like any copyright holder would have to in the future... but for now there's a precedent that says (so that everyone can get out of court quicker and spend less on lawyers) "that's some BS, piggybacking on that guy's material and bandwidth, and everyone knows it, so stop now and save us all the same grief in yet another case." Infringing on someone's copyright has always been a no-no. And as usual, it's up to the copyright holder to tell someone to knock it off. This isn't any different. The leech should have just quit while he was ahead, but he's obviously an idiot.
          • This was a civil suit, where one guy was, despite being asked not to, leveraging someone else's material and bandwidth to fatten up his website with owning the content or doing the work or paying the bills

            Correction: This was a civil suit, where one guy was doing exactly what the World Wide Web was designed to do, who nevertheless lost because the judge was apparently a dumbass!

            And as usual, it's up to the copyright holder to tell someone to knock it off.

            No, what's usual -- and appropriate -- would be fo

            • by ScentCone (795499)
              No, what's usual -- and appropriate -- would be for the copyright holder to take down content he doesn't want other people to see, not whine to the court (using up public resources) to cover for his own stupidity!

              So, Time Magazine should stop putting its magazines on the shelf because otherwise they can't stop you from taking out your digital camera, making a copy of the cover, and using it on your web site as if the artwork were your own material?
            • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Maserati (8679) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:33PM (#17344112) Homepage Journal
              No, this isn't what the Internet was designed to do, which is provide links to other information sources. It's still a little vague in The FA - which is still clearer than the summary - but what the case is here is that the defendant was effectively embedding the streams into his own page, complete with his own advertising. That's a no-no. What would be perfectly legitimate would have been a link to the plaintiff's page with the video streams. That's the appropriate thing to do. Notice that embedded YouTube or Google Video content (among many others) is both branded and provides a link to the video's page at the hosting site; they're set up that way because they explicitly allow embedding. In this case the content was just plain hijacked (to misapply another concept to copyright law). The plaintiff had contacted the defendant prior to bringing suit.

              Embedding others' content = bad
              Linking to others' content = good
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dircha (893383)
            "Infringing on someone's copyright has always been a no-no. And as usual, it's up to the copyright holder to tell someone to knock it off. This isn't any different. The leech should have just quit while he was ahead, but he's obviously an idiot."

            It certainly isn't clear how copyright law restricts posting a reference to non-infringing published media or documents, so I don't think it is unreasonable that we should expect you to provide some explanation for your claim. Your entire post is just rhetoric and a
          • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by croddy (659025) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:14PM (#17343950)
            The guy who sued and won had to take an action for this to be stopped by a court, just like any copyright holder would have to in the future...

            If you don't want to distribute content to someone, you configure your web server to deny them access to the resource. If you're running a server that's handing out 200 OK in response to requests for content, your server is doing exactly what it's configured to do. If you don't want to? Well, you'd better start handing out some damned 403 Forbiddens instead.

            Basically, this judge has given webmasters grounds to sue people in lieu of learning how to do their damned jobs properly.

      • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dr. Zowie (109983) <slashdot@@@deforest...org> on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:58PM (#17343032)
        No, actually, they pretty much broke the internet. There are well-established ways of preventing linking from outside pages (using cookies, checking referrer: tags, etc.).

        A link isn't a copy of the information it links to. A link is instructions for where to find someone else's server that is willing to give you the information. Outlawing links is like outlawing giving directions.

        If someone is linking to your site from outside and that annoys you, the solution isn't to take that person to court -- it's to stop serving data to people coming from outside your site. That's 90% of what the referrer: tag is for.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kpau (621891)
          A poor defense coupled with an idiot judge who doesn't do his own homework and a moron plaintiff who can't manage their website .... Talk about rolling "1" on a 1d20 3 times in a row... Internet broken, film at 11 - o wait, never mind we can't link to that now....
        • The Internet is fine (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ePhil_One (634771)
          No, actually, they pretty much broke the internet. There are well-established ways of preventing linking from outside pages (using cookies, checking referrer: tags, etc.).

          No, you are over-reacting and ignoring numerous prior precedents. The practice is known as Deep Linking and claiming the technical tricks to block such practices mean its OK to do so is liek claiming Spamming through open relays is ok because there are RBL's that might be able to block it.

          This decision in no way forbids linking to dee

        • It's entirely possible for someone to create an active pages site that inhibits deep linking. The judge is just saying that just because the site does not actively prohibit deep links that you are entirled to deep link. You can of course do so, but if you are asked to stop then you are supposed to stop.

          it's not entirely unlike trespassing. I can put up a 20 foot concrete wall topped with razor wire to compell you to knock before you enter. Or I can leave the borders of my property open and put up a nice
        • by bunions (970377)
          > No, actually, they pretty much broke the internet.

          No they didn't. That's a little too close to an reductio ad absurdum argument. They just made being a shithead punishable by fines.

          If I ask you to stop direct-linking to my content - content which I pay to transfer - and you don't, you're a shithead, and you should be fined.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pclminion (145572)

          A link isn't a copy of the information it links to. A link is instructions for where to find someone else's server that is willing to give you the information. Outlawing links is like outlawing giving directions.

          No, it's not quite that simple. Things like frames make it easy to be deceptive with links. Let's toss out everything we know about physics for a second and consider this scenario:

          Suppose I have a brick and mortar store. Because I am an alien who has total control over spacetime, I am able to

      • by m0rph3us0 (549631)
        That is like having a big billboard in front of your store and free stuff in the back, and suing someone because they are telling people that you can bypass the billboard and go straight to the back.
        • by ScentCone (795499)
          That is like having a big billboard in front of your store and free stuff in the back, and suing someone because they are telling people that you can bypass the billboard and go straight to the back.

          No, this is like a neighbor running a business that depends on people thinking he's cool and has a lot going on, and who helps with that image by giving away the stuff you keep in your back yard, which you otherwise would provide under different circumstances. Who cares how good a fence you could put up if yo
      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        You say "No" as though both can't be true.
      • by afidel (530433)
        The thing that makes this and all deep linking cases STUPID is that there is a simple technology solution, simply redirect traffic from referer's other than your own site to your main page! It's a 3 minute httpd.conf rule if you've ever written an Apache rule, otherwise it might take you an hour or two. The other possibility is to lock up your content behind a membership frontend, either pay-for or simple signup. If you don't use these type of methods of limiting access and you have a publicly available web
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:41PM (#17342810)
    The government isn't kept around to guarantee that businesses will make a profit. If these sites want to protect their ad click throughs then they can use techniques like unique per-user URLs or validating that the Referrer field in the HTTP request came from within their site.
  • This isn't really a big deal or very surprising. Most judges aren't too familiar with the internet and technology and at the non-appealete level where they are dealing with a big well funded company who is likely suing someone who hasn't put much money into the legal defense it isn't surprising that one would get bad deciscions like this in unsettled areas of the law.

    What really matters is what happens when these issues reach the appealete (damn lack of spellcheck on IE) courts. By that point hopefully th
    • (damn lack of spellcheck on IE)

      You have no one other than yourself to blame for this lack of spell-check. The same way the site complaining about deep linking has no one other than themselves to blame since they publicly posted the pages and used none of the measures available to them to prevent deep links.

      FireFox 2.0 has an embedded spell-checker for all text boxes.

      The Google toolbar for IE includes a spell-check facility.

  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sciros (986030) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:42PM (#17342828) Journal
    This has nothing to do with copyright and everything to do with trying to make more money off ads. The judge should have told the greedy buggers to take care of it on their end if they wanted the cash. In fact, they could have engineered it so that the generated *extra* revenue from those links but sadly they're complete idiots. What bothers me is stupid decisions like this are then regarded as "precedent" when they should actually be regarded as 100% BS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:42PM (#17342830)
    Deep link from me
    And it is goatse you will see

    The end.
  • I'm a bit torn here, for while I think that lawsuits over this issue are a bit over the top, I do have some sympathy for SFX. I fight leeches and deep linkers from Myspace all the time. They will deep link to audio files on my site, sometimes 10 clips at a time, and have them autoplay every time someone visits their profile. As you can imagine, this sucks the bandwidth right out of my site. I've had to resort to referrer logging so I don't have a huge bill at the end of the month.

    Still a lawsuit seems un
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Still a lawsuit seems unnecessary, especially when there are countermeasures out there that work well.

      Sort of like if your neigbhor keeps plugging his 2kw Christmas display (off of which he makes money!) into your house's exterior outlet, and no matter how many times you ask him to stop, he keeps doing it, and so you have to buy locks, build fences, and eventually hire an electrician to help you? If someone is doing something completely unreasonable (never mind that it costs you money!), why should your
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        And bringing a lawsuit (against one individual) is cheaper than turning on referrer logging (which solves the problem in perpetuity for all leeches)? What colour is the sky on your planet?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ScentCone (795499)
          And bringing a lawsuit (against one individual) is cheaper than turning on referrer logging (which solves the problem in perpetuity for all leeches)? What colour is the sky on your planet?

          What's your point? That principle should mean nothing? That the only structure we should have in place to stop people from ripping you off is a physical barrier to their ability to do so? How about a more open situation where most people are reasonable and don't rip you off, and you tell the few people that do to knock
        • Referrer logging is pitifully easy to defeat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Sort of like if your neigbhor keeps plugging his 2kw Christmas display (off of which he makes money!) into your house's exterior outlet, and no matter how many times you ask him to stop, he keeps doing it, and so you have to buy locks, build fences, and eventually hire an electrician to help you?

        This is nothing like that. Whatsoever. It's a stupid simile. The difference is that a URL or other network stream that permits connections without checking to see who you are is like a building with an unlocked

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hahafaha (844574) *

        Your logic is heavily flawed. It would be much more like this situation if the guy was embedding their videos on his page. However, he was linking to them. That would be like you putting up a Christmas decoration, and your neighbor putting up a sign, saying ``Look at the decoration next door'', and as a result of this, the concrete next to your house getting worn, and you having to pay to fix it. Can you sue your neighbor for this?

        • by ScentCone (795499)
          I'm always amazed at how carefully someone will pick apart a casual analogy in order to avoid actually conceding that a leeching jackass is a leeching jackass.

          To work better with your framework, though, it's more like someone cleverly positioning a mirror on their house to make it appear that the neighbor's display is actually his own, and using that illusion to bolster his own reputation among his visitors and prospective advertisors. You really don't have to disect analogies to conclude that the guy -
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hahafaha (844574) *

            An analogy is a tool to present an idea in a more understandable and universal light. It is, IMHO, unfortunate when an analogy presents something incorrectly, as it gives people the wrong idea about the issue.

            Now that I think about it, TFA actually never mentioned anything about how these links were presented. If it is more like my example, where the neighbor tells someone to look at the Christmas decoration, then, the plaintiff has no case, IMO. If it is more like your example, then at least they have an

      • "and eventually hire an electrician to help you?"

        Come come now, I dont think you really need the help of an electrician to flip a circut breaker...

    • What about people that disable their referrers due to privacy concerns? I think a better solution would be to dynamically assign the links to individual users that expire after a certain time. Of course, you could also make any given link go to your main page(or ads) pretty easily. Like for example, send each link from your podcast first to a short ad and then redirect it to the stream.

      Like you said, pretty standard countermeasures but in this case these people's understanding of the legal process greatly o
  • by JoshJ (1009085)
    I'm no lawyer, so someone help me out here.
    This case is in Texas, therefore:
    *This, at MOST, only applies to websites in Texas
    *This may or may not set a precedent for other websites in other states
    *Depending on case-specific issues, this may not set any precedence at all (see earlier post about defendant stupidity)

    Is all that right?

    That said, this is yet another ridiculous abuse of copyright. Copyright is not supposed to protect "your ability to generate ad revenue".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950)
      Copyright is not supposed to protect "your ability to generate ad revenue".

      Um, that is EXACTLY what copyright is. Copyright gives you the exclusive right to decide how your "information" is used, whether it is a book, a painting or a website. In exchange for protection, you have to give it to the public domain after a fixed number of years, currently 75.

      If I write a book/website/etc, I have every expectation that you will not go sell photocopied versions of it without my permission. I wrote it, I get to
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *
        If not, then wtf do you think copyright is FOR?

        The basis for things like copyright, as explicitly stated in the Constitution, is "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts." As such, copyright must be designed to do that. If you disagree, you're necessarily claiming that copyright is unconstitutional.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        If not, then wtf do you think copyright is FOR?

        Copyrights, like patents, are supposed to provide motivation to create, by giving limited protection of the rights for commercial exploitation.

        HTH. HAND.

    • by Daemonstar (84116)
      *This, at MOST, only applies to websites in Texas *This may or may not set a precedent for other websites in other states *Depending on case-specific issues, this may not set any precedence at all (see earlier post about defendant stupidity)

      Is all that right?
      If a judge is making a ruling, he can see how other judges have ruled in the past. If this (or something similar) comes up again, a judge can take that info into consideration in making his judgement.
  • A Texas Judge? (Score:2, Informative)

    by atamido (1020905)
    This is a "United States District Judge" in Texas, not a Texas judge. Not quite the same thing.
  • by troll -1 (956834) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:46PM (#17342884)
    In some sense this provides for an absurd definition of the term "public internet". I mean linking is the same as telling someone that something exists. I wonder if I met someone at a party and I said, hey you should check out this link and I just "told" them about the URL, would I be violating the law if the URL's owner objected? What's the difference in speech between telling someone at a party and posting the same info on my blog?
    • Well, one's on a computer and you can click on it using a mouse. The other is a bunch of words spoken by one person to another. I don't think there's a judge on the planet who couldn't distinguish between these things.

      I've never understood these "What's the difference...?" posts where someone then proceeds to describe two completely different things.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by n00854180t (866096)
      That's probably the next step. Likely this judge will rule that thinking about content on the internet is an infraction punishable by death or absurd fine, and that by no means should any link URLs be thought of or transferred by way of non-digital medium (i.e., speech, paper text, smoke signals etc.).
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      I wonder if I met someone at a party and I said, hey you should check out this link and I just "told" them about the URL, would I be violating the law if the URL's owner objected?

      The difference that matters is, using your example, you're not running a web site and trying to make your site more popular by appearing to have richer content that's really someone else's (and served using that other person's bandwidth!). That's an easy distinction to make, and the judge did it just fine.
  • by joNDoty (774185) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:47PM (#17342896)
    If you don't want your content to be linked to, don't make it accessible through a URL!
  • by thekm (622569) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:51PM (#17342938)
    ...if they don't like it, they should just stop it. By tighting the rules about the referrer header, you can make sure that people browsing your site do so in the exact way you want.

    Just look at the more savvy porn sites... they've started using referrers to make sure the images is being loaded from their site, but the more trickier ones are actually making sure that the image you want to look at was first loaded by the detail page that it was meant to be served from. It's made directory browsing terribly hard lately... :)


    But either way, these morons would rather throw money at lawyers, and making people shell over money and such things, rather than tightening the technology of their own house. They define the rules, but with all those front doors openly accessible, they don't like it when people use them.

    Many shops have doors out in the back alley... if you don't want people to use it, lock it, stupid!
  • Where Does It End? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCrayfish (73892) on Friday December 22, 2006 @04:58PM (#17343026) Homepage
    So, now linking to a publicly-accessible file on a web server is a copyright infringement? What if I simply publish the URL on my site but without the hyperlink? What if I publish the URL of an "unlinkable" file in the newspaper? How can telling people the LOCATION of information infringe on the rights of the copyright holder?
    • "How can telling people the LOCATION of information infringe on the rights of the copyright holder?"

      Well thats the logic/laws that they take bittorrent trackers down with.

  • Quote: "A Texas judge has ruled..."

    Another ignorant [stickergiant.com] influence coming from Texas.

    The proper defense against deep linking is technical. A judge should not get involved.
    • by mabu (178417)
      The proper defense against deep linking is technical.

      WRONG.

      Just like the proper defense against spam is technical right? If you don't like spam, it's the fault of the ISP because they can't filter it well enough right? Never mind that spammers steal resources, infect computers, violate privacy, and drive up the cost of everyone's service and drive down the performance. It's the fault of the providers for not implementing tighter security in lieu of enforcing legitimate laws regarding theft?

      Your rational
  • The way to deal with this is for browsers to look for standard redistribution licenses, like Creative Commons gradations, in a standard place, like http://website.domain.tld/copyright-license.xml [domain.tld] , much like robots.txt against searching. Then the browser should display a big brown "BULLSHIT" stamp across any page published on the Web without access control.

    And make posting messages to maillists with 40-line ".sigs" threatening torture and nuke attack when anyone redistributes some message posted from some c
  • Does this make it illegal to link to the "printable view" of a newspaper story instead of the advertisement view? Will Drudge start changing the way he links?

    (I always linked to the advertisement view from my blog, just out of fairness.)

  • How can they be sure that the people that used this guy's website would have watched this podcasted event otherwise? This guy should have been paid for free advertising he brought to this event instead of getting sued. Also instead of putting the ads in the podcast itself, they put it on the website. That is just poor business decision making.

    "SFX will likely suffer immediate and irreparable harm when the new racing season begins in mid-December 2006 if Davis is not enjoined from posting links to the li

  • Why not have/require that the robots.txt protocol should also be followed for deep linking. While obviously voluntary, it would allow an easy line in the sand to indicate if anyone has broached the limits you've set by obviously publicly publishing your pages on the web. The pages are clearly public if you can go directly to them without some referrer code added by the site.

    The biggest problem I see here is that these issues are being decided by judges who never attended a Computer Science class in thei

  • by symbolic (11752) on Friday December 22, 2006 @05:20PM (#17343294)

    IF someone includes a link in their writing to what is supposed to be a specific item of interest, but cannot because of rulings such as this one, they're forced to leave a link to the home page of the web site instead. Does anyone honestly think users are going to waste their valuable time trying to locate the item of interest being referenced by the writer? When I'm confronted with these kinds of links, the very next click is on the "close" button.
  • It's not nice to pick on mentally handicapped.
  • From TFA: U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in the northern district of Texas granted a preliminary injunction...

    TFA was misleading when it said "A federal judge in Texas has ruled that it is unlawful to provide a hyperlink to a Webcast if the copyright owner objects to it." That is borderline lying, IMHO. A preliminary injunction is a temporary order.

    Things like restraining orders and preliminary injunctions are granted if they appear to have merit, without a full hearing, in order to prevent major injury.
  • This isn't really such a big deal. It is the decision of a trial court, not an appellate court, and so does not establish any kind of binding precedent. Moreover, it looks like it wasn't a good test of the merits of the case. The linker represented himself and apparently threw a tantrum instead of presenting a competent defense.

  • Let's say you are window shopping.
    You look in the window but, like some stores, there is no curtain behind the maniquens(sp).
    You therefore can see throughout the store.
    You can even see to the end, past the perfume counters.
    You can order the product online and avoid the perfume and hence potential to buy it.
    With deep-linking illegal it is like forcing you to go to the other end even if you can see there.
  • Haven't RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creysoft (856713) on Friday December 22, 2006 @06:10PM (#17343912)
    I just want to combat some misinformation I've been seeing.

    Linking, at its most basic level, is not stealing. It's not even copyright infringement. A link is merely a reference to an existing resource. Nothing more. By linking to the PDF of your book on your website, I'm no more infringing your copyright than if I told someone where to find a free copy (perhaps in the free box of a yard sale.)

    A lot of individuals seem to think that anything that prevents them from making money from their work is inherently a violation of their copyright, but I'm sorry. The internet just doesn't work that way. If you want to protect your work, put it behind some kind of basic barrier (a login, a CAPCHA, something.) Then you can sue deep linkers under the DMCA for circumventing your copyright protection mechanism. A blanket ruling stating that any webmaster can object to and remove a link to any "deep" (read: non-home) page on his site is just a bad idea. Many website TOS's already (unenforceably) forbid deep linking. If this ruling spreads, any website that generates ad revenue, or relies on branding, will start adopting similar language. And since that constitutes about 85%* of the useful web, this is unquestionably bad.

    Some people can't seem to understand the role deep linking plays in the useful web. Almost any informational article or resource of any length references very specific pages on other websites. This type of thinking will eventually require any web developer to do careful research on any website he wants to link to, checking their TOS policies to find out if deep linking is illegal.

    Now, one slightly more rational view seems to be that one can safely deep link, and need only remove links when a content owner specifically objects. Other more disturbing views insinuate that a web developer should "just send an e-mail" before he establishes a deep link. This would turn every website article into an arduous process of research and documentation, cataloging permission for every link in every page.

    Eventually, this will lead to the web being broken down into mostly web sites linking to the homepages of other websites. References in articles will become like this [domain.com] (Click on Articles, click in the search box and type 'Pandas'. Go to page 3, click the 3rd article from the top ('Panda Lifecycle'.) The search results may be different, so you might have to hunt around.)

    If you disagree, you obviously don't understand the nature of the web. To those of you who argue that "everyone should just be reasonable", nobody is ever reasonable when it comes to money. And believe me, the web is now very much about money.

    Now, I'm not talking specifically about this ruling, which may or may not embody all of the above ideas. I'm speaking more to the concept of conflating deep linking with theft, and many of the ideas and beliefs which have been espoused in this thread. The bottom line, this is a technical problem that requires a (simple and inexpensive) technical solution. Attempting to involve the courts will only harm the useful web.

    * Source: My Ass
  • by cwsulliv (522390) * <cwsulliv@triad.rr.com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @09:02PM (#17345168)
    Using the logic accepted by the judge in this case, the next step would be a decision that referencing the actual page number of an article in a magazine or newspaper deprives the publication of the additional advertising revenue they could expect if the reader had to search for it in the issue.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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