Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Today's Headlines | Contact | New Sites | Press Bin | Job Centre | News Search
Mind that link 23 August 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Hypertext links are the foundation of the world wide web and have become a ubiquitous component of every webpage on the Net -- so much so that we seldom give them a second thought.

However, a court decision in the USA has meant that you may have to pay extra attention to who and when you link to other sites or risk incurring the wrath of the law.

As someone who has a long history of standing up for "the right to link," I was disturbed to read that New York District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the hacker e-Zine 4 2600 was prohibited from linking to sites that carried the DeCSS code which allows DVD movies to be decrypted.

Even the judge appears to admit however, that his order is aimed mainly at links which, if clicked, would automatically start a download of the code in question. He says links to web pages on other sites that carry the code are "potentially more troublesome."

I suspect that this ruling doesn't bode well for the Napster case where, in effect, the Napster site is in some cases also effectively linking people directly to copyrighted material.
Readers Say
Having written 30,000+ words on linking - Rick

Have Your Say

Unfortunately as the Net becomes increasingly commercialised and as companies come under increasing pressure from shareholders to start showing a profit, I expect that we'll see a lot more litigation over the issue of linking.

For example -- eBay recently sued another company which was crawling the eBay site to build its own index of auctions. eBay claimed this was tantamount to cyber-trespassing and that it was producing actual loss to eBay.

If you want to stay on the right side of the law (as it currently stands in the USA) then I highly recommend you read 4 this page at Nolo's Legal Encyclopedia which has some good reference cases and background and 4  The Link Controversy Page which also contains a wealth of cases and opinions.

My concern with the way the legalities of linking are being resolved at present is that we might end up with a string of court rulings that produce a rather fragmented framework of rules that makes life very hard and dangerous for website designers.

We're gradually building our selves a minefield of liabilities here and I believe the only way to avoid shrapnel damage is for someone to produce a set of guidelines or a code of linking practice with industry backing -- before the legislators step in and ruin things for everybody (except maybe the lawyers).

I began my attempts to get an industry-backed linking standard more than two years ago after an encounter with, at that time, a rather backward-thinking Nando.net. (See 4 this CNet story for more background)

At the time there was quite a bit of interest -- likely driven by Nando's silly attitude to the matter but enthusiasm died out after even they fell into line with the rest of the world. I suspect however, in the light of the looming Napster case and the 2600/DeCSS case, that now might be a good time to revive the issue.

What do you think?

You Heard It Here First
There was quite a bit of fallout from yesterday's column regarding the magnetic fuel saver device.

There's a 4  follow-up story in today's NZ Herald.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

Latest
Security Alerts
Input Validation Problem In rpc.statd (CERT)

Experts corroborate Windows, IE security hole (CNet)

'IE Script"/Access/OBJECT Tag Vulnerability

Netscape Allows Java Applets to Read Protected Resources

Latest
Virus Alerts
New strain of "Love" virus steals passwords (CNet)

ILOVEYOU Virus Rides Again - As A Resume  (NewsBytes)

Bookmark This Page Now!

Sites In Trouble
Streamline.com
CarOrder.com
Living.com
Kozmo.com
Value America

 

MORE NEWS
NZL Sites
IDG.Net.nz
NZ Netguide
NZ Herald Tech
PC World NZ
Scoop

AUS Sites
Fairfax IT
Australian IT
AFR Tech
AUS Netguide
NineMSN Tech
APC Magazine
Corporate IT

USA Sites
Wired.com
CNet
CNNfn Tech
TechWeb
Yahoo Tech
ZDNet Tech
USA Today Tech
7am.com SciTech

UK Sites
The Register
BBC SciTech

 

The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Dollar-saving plan flushes out hacker
When Christchurch-based Xtra user Donna Brydon switched her internet plan from a flat-rate account to an hourly-charge rate last June she thought she would save money. But making the change uncovered...
NZ Herald

4  Bank aims to protect online shoppers
The Bank of New Zealand has updated its credit card services to make them more relevant and safer when used in the Net world. The bank has developed NetPledge and NetPromise, written commitments to protect cardholders’ interests online...
Netguide

4  Auckland firm in on Flash 5
When Macromedia launches version 5 of its Flash software next month, it will come bundled with art from Auckland firm Inkspot Digital...
IDG NZ

Other

4  MP3.com: Four Down, One to Go
MP3.com settled its copyright infringement suit with Sony, leaving the Universal Music Group as the lone holdout...
Wired

4  Napster parody pulled under pressure from Warner Bros.
The record company whacks a Web cartoon that pokes fun at the file-swapping service and Time Warner's popular cable show "The Sopranos."...
CNet

4  Fans volunteer extra cash for Stephen King serial
The author is considering making future installments of his online novel longer--and more expensive--as fans send extra cash to make up for readers who download installments without paying...
CNet

4  Some countries being left behind in e-commerce
Some nations are falling behind as the world becomes increasingly reliant on information technology and e-commerce, according to a consultant group headed by the former leaders of the International Y2K Cooperation Center...
CNNfn

4  AOL Gets Most Visits; Napster Moves Into Top 50
America Online Inc. held onto the No. 1 spot on the list of top 50 U.S. digital media and Web properties in July while song-swap company Napster Inc. broke into the top 50, Media Metrix Inc. said Tuesday...
TechWeb

Australia

4  Microsoft tunes in to ChaosMusic plan
Microsoft Australia has confirmed plans to donate thousands in cash towards a scheme initiated by ChaosMusic to commercialise the swapping and downloading of music files over the internet...
Australian IT

4  Tech Shocker: Melbourne IT shares plunge
Melbourne IT's reign as one of the glamour tech floats ended dramatically yesterday when investors wiped 30pc off the market value of the company after it flagged slwer sales growth...
AFR

4  Senate begins digital privacy hearings
Officials began their investigation into proposed digital privacy laws this week...
NewsWire

4  Digital laws under fire
A LIBERAL backbencher has slammed the government's digital broadcasting regime as last gasp laws designed to protect commercial television broadcasters at the expense of consumers...
NewsWire

Other

4  AltaVista Aborts Pioneering UK Net Plan
U.S. Internet firm AltaVista Co has aborted its trail-blazing plan to offer flat-rate Internet access in the UK, pointing an accusing finger at the country's dominant telecommunications carrier, BT...
Yahoo

4  K-Meleon browser part Mozilla, part IE
K-Meleon uses the Mozilla rendering engine on the inside, but looks like Microsoft's Internet Explorer on the outside....
ZDNet

4  BBC Moves Web Units to U.S. Venture
The BBC said on Tuesday it was moving its commercial Internet operations into a new 240 million pounds ($356 million) joint venture with United States venture capital firm TH Lee Global Internet Managers...
Yahoo

4  Intel shows off 2GHz Pentium 4
Hardware and software makers get a glimpse inside the future of Intel -- and see a very fast Pentium...
ZDNet


Looking For More News or Information?

Try the Aardvark News Search page or look here.co.nz

Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request