Another Threat to Blogging...and the Internet Itself. Posted by: Dale Franks
on Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I suspect that Federal judges, for the most part, ain't got them too much book learnin' about high technology. That suspicion is confirmed by rulings like this:
U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in the northern district of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against Robert Davis, who operated Supercrosslive.com and had been providing direct links to the live audiocasts of motorcycle racing events.
Lindsay ruled last week that "the link Davis provides on his Web site is not a 'fair use' of copyright material" and ordered him to cease linking directly to streaming audio files.
Essentially, this ruling means that deep linking to copyrighted material is a copyright violation. As tech columnist John Dvorak points out, this is simply absurd.
A link is a link. Banning deep linking is a step towards banning all linking, and what does that do for the Google business model? Where are the Google attorneys helping out in this case? Are they helping out on the appeal? If not, then why not?
How do we even use the Internet if deep linking is illegal for some reason? We don't, that's how.
Almost every link is a deep link—whatever "deep link" means. This blog post, will, when a another 29 posts have been written, become inaccessible, except through deep linking. In fact, if you want to link to it directly, it's a deep link now.
Moreover, if you don't want someone to deep link to something, then all you have to do is lock it down by blocking the link. It's not difficult to do.
This is what baffles me the most. If you think deep linking is so bad, then block it.
To me, it's like leaving your house unlocked with the doors open and being gone all the time. Then you wonder why everything is missing, so you blame the police and demand more laws...
The message a judge should hear is that if a site technically allows deep linking, then it is tacitly and overtly allowing it — perhaps encouraging it. The links are fair game, period. If it tries to block it, then it is not allowing it. That's that. Simple. It works. No more complaining.
What needs to happen is also simple. Lawyers from Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, Digital, and all of the other big Internet companies should descend in droves on courts where deep linking is at issue, pouring as much money into defense of the principle as possible, and explaining the technological facts to the court.
After all, it directly affects their business model, so they have a stake in such cases.
And, maybe the message will get out: If you don't want someone deep linking to your site, then...prevent it. Perhaps you could set up a protected part of your site, and hide the juicy material there.
Maybe you could call it...oh... I dunno...TimesSelect.
On Apache, There is an environment variable containing the URL of the referring page. One can test this to disallow access to content not linked from your own site. This is used quite frequently to prevent other sites from including your images on their pages (with you paying the bandwidth bill)