Is It Rude To Link To Someone Without First Asking Permission?

from the not-that-I've-ever-heard dept

Earlier this week, I wrote an analysis of some silly claims from Canadian IP lawyer James Gannon's sarcastic suggestion that copying money is just like copying content. Gannon stopped by in our comments... and oddly did not respond to a single point that I raised about his faulty analysis. Instead, he only commented to claim that it was somehow rude or discourteous of me to link to his piece and to discuss it without first asking for permission. I found this somewhat shocking. I've never heard that it's common courtesy to ask before you link to someone. Yet Gannon insisted that most people who link to him first ask his permission and he suggests, snidely, that his readership has higher "standards" in regards to how they view content.

Of course, when you combine this with Nina Paley's excellent post about how asking permission when none is needed is rude, it seems that we have a pretty serious disagreement here. Not surprisingly, I agree wholeheartedly with Nina and find Gannon's position both troubling and enlightening when it comes to his confused interpretation of intellectual property issues. He seems to think that a permission society is just fine. Those of us who actually create for a living know that this is not the case. It's a distraction and an annoyance when people feel the need to keep asking you for permission to do what they naturally have the right to do. Permission society is one that is less creative and less willing and able to create. Permission society is the exact opposite of what copyright law is supposed to create. It's not supposed to be a drag on creation. The whole point of things like fair use is that you don't have to ask for permission because it's inefficient to ask for permission in those cases. That he's suggesting that it's somehow discourteous not to ask for permission to do what the law clearly allows is really quite troubling.

In the meantime, has anyone actually ever heard that it's common courtesy to ask someone permission to link to them? I spend a lot of time online and I link to a lot of websites (over 38,000 posts last we checked...) and no one has ever suggested that I should have asked permission first.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    William N (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Pouting

    Agreed. Seems totally ridiculous. Maybe he should actually take some time to understand the internet before he makes these kinds of snide remarks.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    "has anyone actually ever heard that it's common courtesy to ask someone permission to link to them?"

    Its not, the internet would never have become what it is today, and google wouldn't exist if it was "common courtesy". It is the people equivalent of a robots.txt file.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    James Gannon's motivation ....

    If you look at any IP maximalist web site, or any site seeking to profit from expanding IP you see one very simple thing. They do not allow people to comment and if they do it is highly censored. In essence they shoot down anything that can sway opinion away from what they are selling. One of the key strategies when trying to sell bullshit to a large group of people is you never debate anyone on the topic you are selling.

    What he is doing by coming here, not responding to any of your points, and telling you it is "rude to not seek permission" is misdirection. He moved the argument to something else. He will never debate you in any meaningful way. He can't ...

    And you fell for it... hook, line, and sinker.


    James Gannon can control what you do on his blog he can not control what people post on their blogs.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    The structure of the web implies consent for anybody to link to anything you've posted. It's a public forum, unless you've placed it behind password protection or something similar.

     

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    iamtheky (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    I would want to know if he has ever denied permission to link. Because he is clearly mistaking delusions of grandeur for higher standards.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    The answer, as it is with every headline with a question mark, is no.

    Anyone who thinks it is rude to be linked to probably deserves to be linked to incessantly until they go cry in a corner, but on the other hand, that would give them page views.

    Perhaps a better solution is to take a screenshot of what you would like to discuss and link to that.

     

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  7.  
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    Andrew, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Seems to me that if you want permission before someone sharing your content that you probably shouldn't post it on the internet. A seminar, private publication, or other avenue would be more appropriate.

     

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  8.  
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    Rich, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    Exactly right. It wasn't until commercial interests started creating websites and tried to change the rules. They tried to argue that you suddenly needed their permission to do what was previously natural and normal and understood. Hey, that sound a little like IP.

     

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    el_segfaulto (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    It really depends on the context. If your link may lead to thousands of clicks then it could be common courtesy to give warning. I've also had people ask for permission to link to one of my sites as a passive-aggressive way of asking me to link back to theirs. But there is no way that linking in any way, shape, or form is stealing or even infringement.

     

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  10.  
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    John Doe, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re: James Gannon's motivation ....

    "What he is doing by coming here, not responding to any of your points, and telling you it is "rude to not seek permission" is misdirection. He moved the argument to something else. He will never debate you in any meaningful way. He can't ..."

    You have hit the nail on the head here. If he could truly defend his statements he would have done so. I am copying the link to his blog post below in hopes it will draw him out of hiding once again so he will have a second chance to defend his post. :) What say ye Mr. Gannon?

    http://jamesgannon.ca/2011/04/15/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-copy/

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Yesterday someone asked me for directions to the grocery store. It was just up the street, in plain view, and all I had to do was point - so I sent the store a friendly email asking for permission to indicate their location. I know I didn't need to, but it's common courtesy!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    The question...

    The question could also be phrased as such:

    Is it impolite to tell people about a newspaper article or editorial you read without informing the newspaper first?

    Is it "common courtesy" to get permission from a TV station before you tell people to watch a rerun of a show you liked?

    Should I need permission from a book publisher or author before I tell people about this wonderful book I'm reading?

    The answer is "of course not, you tool."

     

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  13.  
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    anonymous, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re: James Gannon's motivation ....

    Would you please stop, Hephaestus? Your logic and reason is making it difficult for me to hear Mr. Gannon's table pounding.

     

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    Adam G (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Did I give you permission to give people directions to my restaurant?

    I don't care if I got more business! Next time, call us for permission before you give directions!

     

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  15.  
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    Gumnos (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Gannon and Link issues...seriously?

    Maybe he needs to get a judgment from the Hyrule of law so he can tri[to]force people to comply with his world-view. He should just get back to abducting Zelda...

     

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    Andy (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Permission to read?

    Given that linking is merely bringing the material to a wider readership, does he also, by extension, believe we should ask permission before reading his article? It seems the mark of a clueless person to publish material on the internet only to object to it reaching a wider audience than those who might have come across it on the site on which he himself published it. Words fail me.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Those of us who actually create for a living know that this is not the case..

    Now I'm confused too. What do you "create" Mike? Articles? Can you create arrangement of words? Or are you really just remixing them? You thief!!

     

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    Aitala (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Back in the dark ages...

    I did ask, and often got asked, about linking between sites. It was a bit of a courtesy, only cause the web was pretty new. But that was about 1995...

    Dr E

     

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  19.  
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    Dragos (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    I guess he should rather thank you for advertising his bs. I don't know how many readers his blog has, but it certainly has no comments to his posts for more than one month.

     

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  20.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Permission society is the exact opposite of what copyright law is supposed to create.

    I'm curious what you mean by this. It seems to me that copyright law is set up for the express purpose of requiring permission. Or are you speaking solely about fair use?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Perhaps Google should be asked every time a link is provided as to if it is permissible to use? Sure thing, I can see where that will go.

    The yoyo didn't bother to answer your questions on the topic because it shot the one sided presentation full of holes that couldn't be defended.

    What was the line the judge used? When the facts are on your side, you pound on the facts. When the law is on your side you, pound on the law. When neither facts nor law is on your side, you pound on the table. Lots of table pounding going on but nothing else.

    It means the only thing left to do is avoid the text and facts and complain elsewhere, because in real life beyond 'pay me' there is no true defense from what copyright is supposed to be and what it's been turned into.

    So instead of answering the questions, it's bitch about exposure of public words with an effective counter argument. The event speaks loudly in it's actions.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    I see a lot of "pingbacks" in the comments section on a lot if blogs that show the author that they are linking to their sites but that's hardly the same thinf as you are tellung them, not asking them. Quite frankly I find those pingbacks really annoying. It's virtual asskissing.

     

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  23.  
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    Fzzr (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    The estate of William Shakespeare, playwright, has announced a class-action lawsuit against every living and dead speaker of the English language who spoke or wrote in English between January 1, 1601 and the present day. They cite the flagrant appropriation, use, and misuse of hundreds of instances of Mr. Shakespeare's intellectual property. The suit has be brought in East Texas, due to the "especially odious" nature of the abuse of the IP in question in that district.

     

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  24.  
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    no, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    no

    No.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    He didn't suggest that his readership has "higher" standards, he suggested that TD readership might have "different" standards than his.

    I think that is very likely to be true.

    In an article about what is or isn't rude, I'd say most people agree that misrepresenting someone else's statement is rude.

     

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  26.  
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    Alexei, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    The explanation is simple: Mr. Gannon was asked about linking to his article just once, maybe twice. If he was overwhelmed with stupid messages like Nina P., he would change his views quickly.

     

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  27.  
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    James Gannon, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Mike, you copied 3 entire paragraphs from my original article, and it's abundantly clear that's what I was referring to when I said a simple ask would have been appreciated.

    In my second comment, I pointed out that most people who link and quote my work ask me first or let me know.

    Slow news day?

     

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  28.  
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    Nicole, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Re: So I sent the store a friendly email......

    Totally seeing eye to eye on this one! Awsome!

     

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  29.  
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    Johnny Quest, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Alternative Solution

    If James Gannon doesn't want people to link to his content if they wish to discuss it, I can only assume that he would much prefer that it be quoted, in full, in the body of any article written about it...

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Sorry counselor, you said link "or" quote in your other comment, which could give rise to a legitimate misunderstanding re: permission for linking if you really meant link "and" quote.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    >>Perhaps a better solution is to take a screenshot of what you would like to discuss and link to that.

    Bad idea.

    A copyright maximalist would have a DCMA takedown notice and a lawsuit filed before the download was complete. It would probably qualify as fair use, but if they are whining over a link they would be screaming over a screen shot.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    Huh, I meant this to reply to your comment:

    "Sorry counselor, you said link "or" quote in your other comment, which could give rise to a legitimate misunderstanding re: permission for linking if you really meant link "and" quote."

     

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  33.  
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    Alexei, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Another interesting (and ironic) point: at the end of Mr. Gannon's article there is a section "Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)" with two links. I'm absolutely sure that this piece of software first generates e-mails to authors of those possibly related posts and prompts them to assert their consent. Otherwise shame to the programmer!

     

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    sehlat (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    And as the MAFIAA have proven, over and over again, a permission-based society is perfectly wonderful, but ONLY for the permission-providers.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    Constantly having to gain permission to anything - even if just to cover your ass - certainly imposes quite the drag on *promoting* the progress of...anything, really, wouldn't you say?

     

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    Nicole, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Wait.....isn't that the goal? To create content on the web that people find worthy of linking back to? It should be seen as a compliment, not "rude". The only time I have asked permission to link to an article was because the author posted a "reprint policy" stating he would like to be asked. (Thought it was weird,) but hey, maybe he's still stuck in the 90's?

     

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  37.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: James Gannon's motivation ....

    I don't think falling for it "hook line and sinker" is an accurate description of what is going on. Debating this issue is not stopping the debate on many other important issues that this Gannon guy would like us to stop talking about. It is simply one more thing to talk about. We can have multiple meaningful discussions at once.

     

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  38.  
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    halley (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re:

    Copyright law draws from the Constitution: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Mike's point is that it aims to promote the progress, or in other words, foster a creative culture. Whether it is effective at this is under debate, but that's not Mike's point.

    Copyright grants a monopoly on the actual work. Copyright does not grant any powers outside the work (such as limiting the rights of others to make references or links to the work).

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re: Back in the dark ages...

    >>I did ask, and often got asked, about linking between sites. It was a bit of a courtesy, only cause the web was pretty new. But that was about 1995...

    I remember being at a conference where Mosaic was introduced. The authors of the product were there and they asked people NOT to use them as their home page because they were afraid their servers would disappear in blue clouds of smoke from the heavy load. I chuckle now every time I see someone trying to get me to make them my default home page. How times have changed.

     

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  40.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Bustin' That FUD!

    Well, copyright per se could clearly be used to prevent free speech, prevent transfer of information, prevent a large number of activities that we (society in general) find advantageous, or worthwhile. Ya with me so far?

    So our representative government put in "escape valves", like fair use, where anyone taking small excerpts (or maybe even entire reprints) for criticism, education or other uses doesn't have to ask permission. Fair use exists to prevent bad things from arising from copyright, as they arose from earlier instantions, like the Statute of Anne.

    Here comes the hard part: a hypertext link isn't even an excerpt of an electronic document. It's more like the street address of a library and a card catalog number, so that a human can find a particular book. So you can't really infringe upon "intellectual property" by linking to something. Just as it's not rude in real life to give someone directions to an address, it's not rude on the internet to link to something. The HTML containing the link doesn't even really *do* anything, it's all in the browser, and the browser's user clicking on the link.

    Now, that's a lot of material to comprehend, especially for a beginner, so be sure to post follow-up questions here.

     

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  41.  
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    aperson (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    The normal response is to THANK the person linking to your content in my experience..

     

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  42.  
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    Julian Sanchez, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Weird

    I've been a professional writer & blogger for about a decade now, have been pretty routinely quoted or linked by other folks throughout that decade, and have never -- not a single time in ten years -- had any of the hundreds of people who quoted me ask permission to reproduce anything short of the entirety of a long article. Gannon's notion of what is "common" is utterly bizarre; I have never heard any of the many writers I know describe anything remotely similar. Like Nina Paley, it would be an absolute nuisance if I had to read (let alone respond to) an email every time somebody excerpted something I'd written. For someone like Andrew Sullivan or Cory Doctorow, I have to assume it would be totally crippling.

     

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  43.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re:

    And yet, the Constitution says that to promote the progress, we should make other people ask permission.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Bustin' That FUD!

    "So our representative government put in "escape valves", like fair use,"

    Well, judges did that actually, and then the representatives decided it was a good idea and kept it in subsequent statutes.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    I think mike includes the quotes as a defensive move. If you don't do that the web sites sometimes go away. If the original page is altered (for example, by people realizing that it isn't using sound arguments) then the quote serves as documentation of the original source.

     

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  46.  
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    Rich, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Hello. I wish to copy three paragraphs from your article. So, that I can show why they are total and utter BS. May I have permission? Hello?

     

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  47.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Perhaps he means that IP law was set up to incentivize not only the creation of ideas, but also the spread (otherwise trade secrets would be good enough). The way they chose to do that was to restrict the use of works, but I doubt they meant to restrict the discussion of works.

    That would be like claiming that common courtesy required me to ask your permission before viewing a patent you had submitted; it's entirely contrary to the purpose of patents.

    My .02. Maybe he meant something different.

     

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  48.  
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    Benjamin (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Let's do some math.

    Well, Mr. Gannon, I was going to post a snarky comment indicating the number of incoming links that you have to jamesgannon.ca, and suggesting that you couldn't possibly be responding to e-mails from everyone who linked to you.

    However, upon closer examination, it appears that you only have about 1500 links coming into that domain, and only about 110 of them are unique. The rest are likely blogs.

    So, it appears that not only do you have plenty of time to approve all those links, but your contend doesn't appear to be as in demand as you might want to believe.

    In contrast, Techdirt shows upwards of a half a million total incoming links, and well more than a thousand of those are unique (this is difficult to quantify above one thousand). What I think is rude is that you're chastising someone for offing you such exposure. Perhaps you should make a donation to Techdirt.

    In fact, the original Techdirt post discussing your work indicates 34 backlinks - roughly 30% of the existing exposure that you've been able to develop on your own. I'm very sorry that fair use prevents you from seeing a 30% increase in revenue from your online efforts.

     

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  49.  
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    Bengie, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Get over it

    If you put data on the internet, it's public info. If it's public info, don't expect any control over it. If you don't like it, don't put it on the internet.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    I think the only reason Gannon wants others to ask permission is so that, whenever he opens his email inbox, the (very few) emails he sees there are proof that someone actually read his articles and, for some reason, want to expose other people to them.
    That would be the only reason I can think of that makes any kind of sense. If you were famous, like Doctorow, wouldn't it be annoying, time-wasting and pointless to have to reply to ten trillion emails just to say its okay to link?

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It also says you shouldn't torture people but then again . . . .

    USA! USA! USA!

     

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  52.  
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    crade (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    So you are saying it's the theory behind quotations you don't understand, not the theory behind internet links?

     

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  53.  
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    Drizzt, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Notifications

    While I don't know of a "common policy" to ask for permission to link to somebody, I can see, that it might be nice to know that somebody linked to you in the case, that the linking entity is a page with lots of traffic. Because if a high-traffic site links to something, there is a high likelihood, that the linked to site might cave under the load (most likely only a problem for smaller sites on smaller systems, but still). In this case it might be very appreciated to be forewarned or asked (the latter might be the case if there are costly traffic limits involved in the hosting deal). That said: I wouldn't ask for permission, but in case I'm a high-traffic site might warn the other side or even ask, whether I should mirror the content. On the other hand I wouldn't expect to be asked if someone wanted to link to some of my websites, in fact I can say for certain, that nobody asked me so far an still I'm seeing lots of traffic on some parts of those sites which comes mainly from one of three to five sources.

    Cheers,
    Drizzt

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Weird

    It would also be crippling to those who express themselves through collage.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    It is not rude to link.

    It is not rude to exercise rights under fair use.

    It is, however, rude to cast aspersions at someone merely because you may happen to disagree with what they may say.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet, the Constitution says that to promote the progress, we should make other people ask permission.

    But...but...fair use exceptions in copyright law that require no permission!

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re:

    Ok, how is that relevant to a "permission society?"

    I mean saying you don't need permission to post a link is one thing, but making a broader point about how a "permission society" is contrary to copyright law doesn't really follow from that.

     

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  58.  
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    Jon B., Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're correct insofar as it does actually promote the progress to force people to ask permission. When forcing people to ask permission actually impedes progress, then that's the opposite of what copyright law is supposed to create.

    If you read the sentence you quoted in context, it's pretty clear that's what Mike was saying.

     

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  59.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's correct. But is fair use a constitutionally-based right?

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    AutSerge, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Oh, for God's sake. He wasn't saying that you are legally required or something. He was saying it would have been nice and friendly and collegial and all that. Enough bluster already.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is torturing a constitutionally-based right?

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    Excuse me kind sir.

    I'd like to quote your comment so that I can provide context in my (bile, pus and sarcasm filled) reply to it, which I shall post below.

    So I hereby formally ask for your permission to quote your comment (which, invariably, involves either a link to or a copy of the comment, so be prepared for that eventuality).

    I ask this because we are gentleman after all. And we gentleman ask for permission for these things, unlike the peasants that frequent these so-called "websites".

    Cheers and all that,
    The King and Queen of Cheese.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    He wasn't saying that you are legally required or something.

    Yet . . . .

     

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  64.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    So, now you're adding a complete misunderstanding of fair use rights to your lack of knowledge about the internet itself. Nice...

    Also, please note that what's mainly being criticised isn't the simply fact that you were mardy about not being asked permission, but that you utterly failed to address any criticisms of your original article. I see that trend is continuing.

     

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  65.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    Okay, you asked for it:

    James: Actually, Joseph, a lot of people have asked me if they can republish/link/quote the article and I've agreed each time.

    Mike: I have never heard it argued that it is common courtesy to ask permission to link to or quote a story. Where have you heard that?

    James: Mike, most people who link or quote my content ask my permission beforehand.

    Then you try to claim "it's abundantly clear [quoting is] what I was referring". Nice try.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    threadster, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    assert your rights

    Don't bother linking to his content. As long as you are editorializing about it, just blatently copy it into your article. As far as I understand, that is covered under fair use. See how he likes that. In that context, merely linking to the content seems courteous enough to me!

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    How rude of you to link to his creative content without both his permission and paying him for it. I'm sure he spent a lot of valuable brain power in creating said content (it costs money to buy food to fuel the brain after all, he deserves compensation for that!!) After following the link you posted and reading the title I left him a message asking him for permission to read his article and apologized for reading the title prior to his giving consent.

    I am currently anxiously waiting for and anticipating a visit it from IP enforcement officers to confront me for wrongfully reading the Title of his blog without asking for permission first. I'm so ashamed....

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    I'd say it's a courtesy to ask when linking would cause a massive jump in page views that might cripple the server if they aren't warned ahead of time. If it's a link to a site that has the power to handle a rush of new visitors, then no harm, no foul.

     

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  69.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    FUDmaker: Fair Use was enacted into federal law with the Copyright Act of 1976.

     

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  70.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But I still don't understand his point. How was copyright law not intended to create a permission society? To me, that sounds like saying laws against murder weren't created to prevent a murderous society.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re:

    Now that's one lawsuit that never needs to see East Texas. Most people here couldn't speak actual English if they were being paid. It's usually a sad mix of Toothless Hillbilly and Spanglish.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know, but quit torturing me with your comments. There's a story about that somewhere around here where your comments would be better suited.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Jim, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Here's an idea

    Tell him to go fuck himself.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    And as the Freetards have proven, over and over again, a consuming-for-free/contributing-nothing society is perfectly wonderful, but ONLY for the leeches.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Actually, maybe we should change the way robots.txt works. If you don't have it set up properly then Google will not index you. I bet that some of the folks that claim Google is doing them wrong by aggregating their sites would shut the hell up really quickly if that were to happen.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    David, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Permission to read?

    While I agree with Mike about all this nonsense about permission to link, I believe that to assume that Mike has increased Gannon's readership is foolish. At best, Mike has drawn attention to his blog; at worst, he has diminished his readership.

     

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  77.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    James, I want to take a step back here and ask you a few simple questions. Firstly, can you explain why you think people should ask permission to quote you? You say it's "courteous" but I really don't understand how, given that you have shared your ideas publicly which seems like an invitation to the public to discuss them. Do you feel that it is wrong to discuss another person's ideas without their permission?

    I am also curious as to who you think it benefits to ask for permission. You? Mike? The reader? I honestly can't see anyone who benefits from this - it simply slows everything down and makes everyone worse off. Do you see a plus here? Or is it simply that you feel it is a moral issue rather than a pragmatic one?

    Finally, if you do believe that this is a moral issue, can you explain why you feel other people should be bound by those morals, which seem rather esoteric? In most of the modern western world, it is firmly established that quoting people for the purpose of analysis or criticism is not only legal but in fact essential to maintaining a free society. This idea predates the internet by generations, and it has its own moral component: the popular consensus that any attempt to suppress discussion or stymie the flow of ideas is wrong, and that anyone who believes they can control what other people say must have despotic tendencies. If you really want to argue that the opposite is true, I think you have an uphill ethical argument ahead of you...

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's the problem with some Americans; the rule of law is so important until it isn't. If it can so blatantly be ignored in the one case, torturing innocent people in Gitmo, but be held up in another case, don't copy that floppy, well one has to wonder . . . .

     

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  79.  
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    Trails (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Tsk tsk

    Actually, Mike, a lot of people have asked Joseph Gannon if they can discuss/link/point out the stupidity of his comments and he's agreed each time. While Joseph Gannon recognizes Masnick's fair use rights to discuss his astoundingly idiotic commentary, the common courtesy would have been appreciated.

    Most people who point out his ass backwardness ask his permission beforehand. Most, not all. That's been his experience. Your results may have varied. Maybe the boards you typically comment on have different standards when it comes to such things.

     

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  80.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    a consuming-for-free/contributing-nothing society

    Please find me one single quote where any single person writing for or commenting on techdirt has ever suggested that it is okay to "contribute nothing" to society.

    Oh right, you can't.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    Ha! Like freetards have any power.

     

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  82.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    ...would have been nice and friendly and collegial and all that...

    And yet we have content creators like Nina saying that they actually find it annoying and LESS friendly when people ask for permission. Add that to the fact that virtually NOBODY on the internet does this, and it seems like Gannon is coming out of crazy left field...

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Here's an idea

    In legalese this is called "Refer him to arkell v. pressdram"

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Urza9814, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    So ask away...

    Send him an email asking to post his page to your Facebook. Then a separate email asking to post it to twitter. Then another email asking to email it to your friend. Repeat with _every page on his site_...

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Christopher Parsons, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Yes, I have heard of this and get asked whether people can link to my work on occasion. My experience is that two 'groups' of people make these requests: (a) people who are either web-naive or copyright sensitive [e.g. I don't want to infringe on you copyright, can I link?); (b) academics who have had a 'permission culture' branded into their skulls.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    So, what's your excuse for leeching off of Mike's content and servers here? You contribute nothing of value, but don't seem to have paid Mike any money either...

     

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  87.  
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    RobShaver (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    I think you're too harsh. Here's what I sent using Gannon's contact page

    Dear James Gannon,

    I read your comment over on TechDirt and couldn't agree more. Linking to your blog without permission, written permission, is rude and should be illegal. In fact I think READING your blog without getting permission would be rude too.

    This etiquette should be extended to book as well. When you buy a book or borrow one from the library you should have to get the written permission from the author before you read it. It's really the polite thing to do.

    And after reading anything you should not tell anyone about what you read unless you have received further permission to do so. This is especially true if you care so much about what was written that it stuck in your mind so that you can recite it verbatim. This would be a blatant copyright violation, don't you think?

    So this is why I have not read anything in your blog, but came straight to your contact page (Well ... I did read the menus and some titles, but I promise not to reveal anything I saw.)

    Warmest regards,

    Rob:-]

     

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  88.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Re:

    "Slow news day?"

    Actually, this is "Pick on Slow Lawyers Day". Its been happening every year since 2001 on the day after World Intellectual Property Day.

     

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  89.  
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    KnownHuman (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Permission Culture

    I actually did run into an issue with linking and permission before. I was working on a project that was attempting to leverage data from the BBB. Doing my due diligence, I perused the BBB's ToU and the first item on the list regards hyperlinking.

    http://www.bbb.org/us/terms-of-use/

    There's a short list of organizations that link to the BBB without prior written approval, everyone else must get it and then can only do using terms permitted by the BBB.

    Compared to them, Gannon seems down right permissive.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    anymouse (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are fines of 150000% greater than the actual damage (for copying a $1.00 song) a constitutionally based right?

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Memyself, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Those of us who actually create for a living know that this is not the case. It's a distraction and an annoyance when people feel the need to keep asking you for permission to do what they naturally have the right to do.

    While I agree that it is absurd to ask permission to link, I was unaware you were qualified to speak for all creative people in matters of permission.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes it is. The Supreme Court has said that fair use is the main way copyright does not violate the 1st amendment.

     

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  93.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course, it's a statutory right. My point was as to whether it's a constitutional right.

     

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  94.  
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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is a prior premise you probably missed (it's validity was assumed in the post and the point itself was only listed briefly so I can understand why you missed it).

    If a Permission Society leads people to be less creative (since they are having to ask permission all the time) than it does not lead to promoting the progress as progress is hindered.

     

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  95.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Here's an idea

     

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  96.  
    icon
    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That doesn't mean it's a right necessarily. Could Congress repeal the section of the Copyright Act that provides for fair use? Could Congress enact anti-fair use legislation?

     

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  97.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    WTF is being copied?

     

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  98.  
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    KnownHuman (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    This.

     

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  99.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. Fair use is a judicially created doctrine to make the copyright law constitutional. Congress just codified the common law in the 1976 copyright act. If Congress were to legislate an anti-fair use statute, likely either it would be struck down or the copyright statute would be struck down.

     

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  100.  
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    RobShaver (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Copyright is not in the Consitution

    The Constitution says noting about copyright. Copyright was one of the tools to implement that part of article 8. Maybe the tool needs to be sharpen or reshaped.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    He wasn't saying that you are legally required


    Who said he was? It's not present in the article. Nice straw man you have there.

    He was saying it would have been nice and friendly and collegial and all that.


    Yes, and Mike is saying it's incorrect. I haven't seen anyone post that they agree (not even you, you just began arguing a straw man.)

    Enough bluster already.


    Quite. If it bothers you, perhaps you should stop doing it.

     

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  102.  
    icon
    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. That would violate the Excessive Fines Clause, I should think.

     

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  103.  
    icon
    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you believe that fair use is a constitutional right then? I don't have an opinion either way. I've never given it much thought. I was just throwing it out there...

     

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  104.  
    icon
    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I believe that fair use is a constitutional right to the extent that it protects the freedom of speech and expression.

     

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  105.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Permission Culture

    Actually a tonne of sites include a linking clause in their TOS, but to my knowledge it has never been tested in court. It is highly unlikely that a court would find it binding (judges tend to question whether ANYTHING in those never-read TOS pages actually counts)

     

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  106.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re:

    My guess is that because lawyers didn't have success in getting negative comments about them removed from online forums, they are spreading the myth that you need to ask permission first, so they can deny permission to anyone intending to say something negative about them.

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    The point is, it may be "common courtesy" but it is not required. Dead issue.

    Mr. Gannon should address the concerns Mike brought up about his original article. Otherwise he is simply deflecting... oh wait, we said he was a lawyer.

     

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  108.  
    icon
    iamtheky (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    Its also nice and friendly to have cohorts login via the same IP and support your position. Ya'll seem to be full of nice and friendly up north.

     

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  109.  
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    Aitala (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Back in the dark ages...

    I actually had a link from a major automotive blog almost nuke my server recently. Luckily the editor was on Twitter and I was able to get him to remove the link....

    Dr E

     

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  110.  
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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    The whole purpose of Fair use is to not require permission or even notify you in any manner. In your first comment on the other article you said you recognized his fair use rights.

    So what is the problem again?

     

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  111.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Its also nice and friendly to have cohorts login via the same IP and support your position. Ya'll seem to be full of nice and friendly up north.

    Too funny. Busted by a snowflake.

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    He likes the attention....

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    Wow, you came back. I would give you props for that but you again deflected without addressing the issues. Not only that, you have added your misunderstanding of fair use to your misunderstanding of internet etiquette.

    Since you have already taken quite a beating, and deservedly so, I will refrain from further barbs. I would just ask that you address the issues here since you do not allow comments on your own blog. I am sure most here would gladly participate in a civil dialog.

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "And yet, the Constitution says that to promote the progress, we should make other people ask permission."

    Nope. It says we (the congress) *can*. Not *should*.

     

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  115.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Permission Culture

    Makes you kinda think... what are they trying to hide...

     

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  116.  
    identicon
    Tacitus, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Linking...

    ...is simply a technically sophisticated way of 'mentioning' something. Nothing more.

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Tacitus, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Linking...

    ...is simply a technically sophisticated way of 'mentioning' something. Nothing more.

     

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  118.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    Mike, you copied 3 entire paragraphs from my original article, and it's abundantly clear that's what I was referring to when I said a simple ask would have been appreciated.

    Dude, if you don't want people quoting you, keep your mouth shut.

     

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  119.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice catch.

     

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  120.  
    identicon
    Vic, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    ... but ONLY for the leeches

    Which are the majority of the population. So it is for the better of most people. Case closed.

     

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  121.  
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    Trails (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Ha, caught sock puppeting, what could be lamer?

     

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  122.  
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    Trails (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    Re:

    He is, we all gave him permission when he asked while linking to our quotes. All of us. The End.

     

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  123.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Lol, easily discovered sock puppets ftw!

     

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  124.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Its also nice and friendly to have cohorts login via the same IP and support your position. Ya'll seem to be full of nice and friendly up north

    Ha! Gannon busted...

     

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  125.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Gannon and Link issues...seriously?

    Reported for using Nintendo(R) intellectual property without express written permission.

     

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  126.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Classic.

     

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  127.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    James Gannon said it's common courtesy to ask for permission to link and quote his work.

    By the way, I also asked for permission to refer to his statement.

    I also asked for permission to refer to his agreement.

    I also asked for permission to refer to his agreement to the agreement.

    Since I quickly saw a pattern forming, I have set up an automated mail script to recursively request permission for all future agreements as well. Rest assured, James Gannon, I fully support your need for permission.

    Please note that it is common courtesy to respond to said requests. All one hundred of them. Sorry, one hundred and one. One hundred and two...

     

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  128.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    The funny thing is, if it had been a newspaper that quoted him he would probably have put the clipping up in his office and spoken of it proudly...

     

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  129.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Permission-provider == Gatekeeper

    Please find me one single quote where any single person writing for or commenting on techdirt has ever suggested that it is okay to "contribute nothing" to society.

    Isn't that the stance of the rightsholders? You can consume, but don't repurpose.

     

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  130.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    well... to be fair, this could also be a colleague on the same router genuinely showing their support, right? Still a weak response, but not as sad as sock-puppeting...

    I know I know, I'm no fun.

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    Memyself, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re:

    I must have missed the annual hive-mind meeting.

     

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  132.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Tell that to Tenenbaum, Thomas-Raisset and Harper

     

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  133.  
    icon
    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Harper, not so much, but the other two, I think yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  134.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    Re: I think you're too harsh. Here's what I sent using Gannon's contact page

    Did you get permission to send that?

     

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  135.  
    identicon
    Irate Pirate, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    Re: James Gannon Backpedal

    Thank you Chad. If Gannon was only talking about quoting and not linking, he shouldn't have mentioned it. Now he is obviously back peddling because of that mistake.

    Regarding his general argument, is it a courtesy? Yes. Is it a requirement? No, obviously. The internet is a public forum. I can understand the motivation behind those whom support permission seeking prior to republishing any content, in whole or in part, that may be private (ie: behind a wall, paid or otherwise, for which login credentials are required) but not for anything posted publicly, and knowingly no less. It's like going to the mall and shouting out a really great idea, then expecting no one to use that idea without asking for your permission first. In what world is that a normal, logical expectation?

    Then there is the context in which the original content was used that we must consider, which fair use covers and for good reason, reasons which many other posters have already commented on. They too are obvious and self evident so I shouldn't need to repeat them here.

    I'm sorry Mr. Gannon, but believing you're right doesn't automatically make it so, nor does reiterating that belief repeatedly. You will have to present far better reasoning than we've seen thus far if you wish to convince the vast majority here, as well as across the internet, that your argument is sound.

    That said, I hope everyone is smart enough to see what this is really all about; deflection and distraction in an attempt to get everyone discussing this instead of the merits (or lack thereof) of the original topic, which was How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Copy, an article that has been thoroughly debunked not only here, but on a number of other respectable websites as well.

     

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  136.  
    icon
    Michael (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 7:07pm

    Legal to Threaten

    It may be legal to link to someone's site, but that doesn't mean people won't threaten to sue anyway.

    A teacher I had in high school 2005 once taught a brief introduction to internet usage and avoiding plagiarism etc.

    He told us about how he used to use a certain copyright lawyer's blog as a reference, until receiving a threat from the lawyer for linking to the site. My teacher settled.

     

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  137.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ??? A lien the amount of a new car, is still excessive for a song download....

     

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  138.  
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    Wes (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Indeed...

    The only circumstance I can think of where one may want to ask permission before linking is if your linking will obviously drive more traffic to a website than they can handle. Flooding a someone's webpage with more traffic than it normally gets can cause all sorts of problems, see the old /. effect for examples.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_effect

     

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  139.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:09pm

    Abundantly clear, my ass!

    Mike, you copied 3 entire paragraphs from my original article

    So what, ever heard of fair use?

    and it's abundantly clear that's what I was referring to when I said a simple ask would have been appreciated.

    So why didn't you phrase it like said? Abundantly clear it was apparently only to your twisted mind. Don't blame us for that.

    In my second comment, I pointed out that most people who link and quote my work ask me first or let me know.

    Which is completely and utterly unnecessary. Apparently a lot of of those people don't have a clue. Which - of course - we already knew since they cheered you on for your ridiculous 'copying money is just like copying content' bullshit.

     

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  140.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re:

    The point is, it may be "common courtesy"

    No, it's not and never has been.

     

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  141.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:16pm

    convincing as always

    Which is why content is still being produced in abundance, right?

     

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  142.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:19pm

    Re: Notifications

    I can see, that it might be nice to know that somebody linked to you in the case, that the linking entity is a page with lots of traffic.

    So check your log files then.

     

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  143.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    As well as how the internet works and what is implied if you post stuff on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  144.  
    identicon
    cameron, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:29pm

    If you're old enough

    In the very early days of the net (when goffer was the coolest thing ever - and cool was a cool thing to say) it was considered polite to ask/notify before linking

     

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  145.  
    identicon
    Memyself, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Which makes your accusation of ignorance particularly eye-roll worthy.

     

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  146.  
    identicon
    Drizzt, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 1:46am

    Re: Notifications

    So check your log files then.

    While I'm constantly monitoring my servers through several channels I have seen enough small/private sites to know they don't. Simply because they don't have the time to do it. They're paid for other things, not for monitoring their private site. And with some of the cheaper website hosting deals it is almost impossible to set up some meaningful monitoring. So again: while I personally would neither expect to be asked nor to be notified, I can see a reason why someone with lots of traffic linking to a small site should at least notify them. I wouldn't say, this is a requirement but I'd assume it'd be much appreciated.

     

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  147.  
    icon
    Simon Chamberlain (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 3:15am

    I've certainly seen...

    websites state 'don't link to us without permission', although this tends to be sites that want people not to deeplink to individual pages/articles. When I'm preparing newsletters at work, I sometimes get asked if we can link to articles on the free web. Not copy all their text, just link to them.

    I personally think this is nonsense, and not considered common courtesy by most web users, but it's certainly a minority opinion out there.

     

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  148.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    Yeah but if it's "bad" for you, like in this case, wouldn't you want to be contacted first? Say... robbers ask for directions to your restaurant? I guess that's his point; put very stupidly. Tell me if you're going to say bad things about me. Otherwise it's fine.

     

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  149.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re:

    ha ... no wait ... HA!!!

     

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  150.  
    identicon
    chris, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    asking permission when none is needed is rude

    This.

    Reminds me of some (most?) food bloggers who think the history of cooking goes back about ten years, and that all recipes originate with professionals. When is the last time you bought a cookbook and it had a bibliography?

     

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  151.  
    icon
    Idobek (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Re: Permission Culture

    I wonder what category their DNS provider fall under.

     

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  152.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...but of course the newspaper article on his fridge would have agreed with the general premise of IP protectionism, and praised the faulty logic.

    The real problem here is that Mike disagreed.

     

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  153.  
    identicon
    Memyself, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    Y'know, I agree that being expected to ask permission before linking to something (or quoting it) is absurd. But asking permission, whether required or not, is never rude. It might be unnecessary or inconvenient or bothersome. But an act specifically intended to be courteous cannot, by definition, be rude.

     

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  154.  
    identicon
    chris, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re:

    I was thinking more like it's rude to tell someone that they should ask for permission or otherwise take it upon themselves to be an arbiter of politeness.

     

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  155.  
    identicon
    Memyself, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re:

    The word "rude" means what it means. And the definition does not apply to an act specifically intended to be courteous.

    But I agree that it is a bit rude to demand someone ask permission for something generally considered a non-issue.

     

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  156.  
    icon
    Gregg L. DesElms (profile), Apr 29th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    A copy of what I just wrote to Mr. Gannon

    Dear Mr. Gannon,

    I read on the TechDirt web site about the whole business of whether or not Mr. Masnick should have first sought your permission to link to your site from his; and I wanted to share some thinking about it with you, if you'll permit me (and I'll bet you're getting all kinds of hate email over it, so I hope you don't think this is yet another bit of that).

    First, I should tell you that I find disconcerting much of what Mr. Masnick writes; and I'm generally speaking, far more supportive of IP rights than he. I don't post much on his site, but I have several posts there which take strong issue with some of his positions (as well as several which don't, mind you).

    I've also been some 35 years in IT and have been on the Internet since MANY years before the Worldwide Web part of it even existed. And I've taken a keen interest, just generally, in IP law (albeit from a lay perspective) such that I probably know more about it than the average guy walkin' down the street (though, of course, I'd never dare take-on someone with YOUR kind of expertise).

    I'm also rather schooled in "netiquette," just generally. I've been around since the very beginning of chat rooms, USENET, forums, etc.; and I participated in some of the Internet's earliest discussions about what "netiquette" even was. And there's no shortage, out there, of postings and other writings by me trying to take others to school over their bad netiquette.

    I've also run some fairly large and popular web sites to which many wanted to link... the biggest and most famous of them being the LACI PETERSON web site (the family-owned and -opearated site which kept the world informed during the tragic missing person case of the pregnant Modesto, California woman who disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, and whose body, and that of her unborn fetus, washed-up in the San Francisco Bay about three months later; and whose husband was later convicted of her murder and now sits on death row). I ask, by the way, that no one judge my web work by that site, as it is today. Whomever took it over after I left has fairly ruined it.

    On every site I've ever run, there have always been a relatively small percentage of people who email and ask permission before they link to the site. I mention the LACI PETERSON site, though, in part, because with a site getting as many thousands of hits per minute as it was getting back then (and the number of emails that I ask you to imagine), even a so-called "small percentage" was a whole lotta' permission requests.

    I've never really understood it, though, because if one goes back and reads about what the creators of the Worldwide Web part of the Internet had in mind in terms of hyperlinking and how it was all supposed to work, one can see, clearly and unambiguously, (and I was around, back then, so I also remember) that unlimited hyperlinking -- and not only without first securing anyone's permssion to so do, but, even more importantly, without anyone even giving it a second thought -- was the whole POINT of it all.

    The very notion of asking permission to link flies in the face of why the Worldwide Web part of the Internet was conceived during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then finally brought online in 1994, in the first place. The notion of evan asking is a throwback to an earllier way of thinking about the entirely different paradigm of the printed word... only on PAPER.

    Given the very nature and logistics of the web, presuming that Able should have to ask for Baker's permission in order for Able to link to Baker's site is counterintuitive; so much so, in fact, that I know many webmasters (especially those who run BIG sites... like, for example, the LACI PETERSON site that I ran) who get really irritated by even being asked.

    "Why are you even ASKING me this," they think to themselves. "Just do it, and stop bothering me about it. You don't need my permission, for godsake! Geez." That, I think, is kinda' the point, albeit less directly, that Nina Paley makes in that to which Mr. Masnick links, above.

    Believe me when I tell you that the vast majority of those on the Internet think as I'm describing... hence the reason Mr. Masnick is now making such a big deal about it, now, on his site. Er... well... maybe that, plus he admittedly doesn't have much respect for some of your (and many other IP lawyers') legal positions, and so he's kinda' pokin' at you a little... which is understandable, you have to admit.

    And, seriously, Mr. Gannon, I'm not simply agreeing with Mr. Masnic, here, as a means of taking sides or anything like that. I'm not one of his minions (which it might surprise him to learn that he even had, if he actually has any) who's now bothering you about it as a means of also kinda' pokin' at you. I remind that I often don't agree with Mr. Masnick; and would never blindly follow him -- or anyone else, for that matter -- and so, I assure you that what I'm writing to you, here, really from my heart; and is the way it is, to wit:

    It is simply not generally considered necessary (and some even consider it an inconvenience and/or imposition) for one web site owner to ask the owner of a different web site for permission to link thereto. It is not only NOT a breach of netiquette to just go ahead and link, but the asking actually shows things down and kinda' goofs-up very POINT of the hyperlinking nature of the Internet's Worldwide Web.

    Therefore, it's debatable whether or not someone taking the time to email you and ask you is really being considerate. It's actually being a little bit inconsiderate, considering how everything's supposed to work. While it might seem like they've making a nice gesture, they're actually mucking-up the works, in a way.

    It's worthy of note, too, that all the major search engines clearly get this concept, as evidenced by how they rank a given web site higher in search results based, in part, on how many OTHER web sites link to it...

    ...in other words, the more popular is a site, based on how many other sties link to it, the higher its search engine rankings. If a site owner wants his/her site to rank more highly in search results, then it is in his/her interest to have literally millions of other sites out there linking back to his/her site. Eventually, literally millions of sites linked-back to the LACI PETERSON site; and we calculated, one day, that if only a tiny fraction of those sites cause a linkback per hour, we'd be getting more visits in a morning than what vast majority of other web sites get in a year.

    And in the case of a site with literally millions of other sites linking back to it, it would take said site's owner literally YEARS just to read and respond to all the email link requests even if only a tiny fraction of them had the "courtesy" to ask.

    Think of it this way: Imagine that you print (or XEROX) a bunch of one-page fliers of some kind... oh... say... fliers which announce some talk that you're giving at a local law library or bookstore or something. When you printed them, you obviously expected that as many people as possible would see and read them.

    Assuming that people should ask permission first before linking to your web site would be approximately equivalent to assuming that people with your flier in their hands should call and ask your permission first before showing it to someone standing next to them. It's just silly and unnecessary. And, in fact, I'll bet you'd be irritated with anyone who bothered you with it.

    This is simply a situation where you, obviously, have not connected the flier analogy with the very nature of the Worldwide Web part of the Internet. Only if the web content were behind some kind of paywall or other construct which required that the reader have (or acquire) an account and then login in order to read said content might your permission presumption make at least a LITTLE philosophical sense, but only if the link somehow bypassed the login. However, even in THAT case, the registration and/or login process, itself, provides all the IP-related safeguards that would be necessary.

    I fear that Mr. Masnick's having called you on your IP-related opinions is what was REALLY gnawing at you (and I can understand that... his points can sometimes sting), but instead of arguing them on their merits, I fear that you deflected to what was actually a non-issue. This is a common thing, by the way, which all humans do; so no shame, there. We've all done it, and I'm sure we'll all do it again. It's just the way humans are.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you. From my reading of your stuff, you seem like a good enough guy, good at what he does, works really hard at it, cares very much about it, and is out there sharing his notions about it with whomever will read it...

    ...which is the whole reason you even HAVE a site... no? If you wanted to control who saw it, you'd have a registration/login thing going on, no? And since you don't, are you saying that you don't appreciate the additional visits to your site that Mr. Masnick, whether or not welcome, is sending you?

    Any serious, experienced, professional web designer in the world will say that when it comes to site visits, it's a little like the ol' "I don't care what they say, as long as they spell my name right" sort of thing. A visitor is a visitor, regardless whether friend or foe. The whole point of having a web page is to have visitors to read what's on it. Period. It doesn't matter, an experienced webmaster will tell you, from whence they came.

    And a key tool in driving more visitors to a site is to have lots of others link back to it. Those are what are called "viral marketing" events; and there's nary a webmaster on the planet who wouldn't almost give a right arm for tons and tons of linkbacks -- with not a request for permission among 'em -- of the type that I suspect Mr. Masnick's site is now giving yours.

    Demanding that others first get your permission stands in the way of how all that works; and the solution, in any case, given the technology of the intended paradigm, is not to chide Mr. Masnick and his readers but, rather, to just assume that they'll link, and so, then, to put your words behind a login/password barrier of some kind if you don't want them read. Then, it wouldn't matter who links to your site; and, in fact, in that circumstance, said linking without your permission would, at worst, cause more people to register on your site so they could read your words.

    Again, that's how it all works. That was the design plan, from the very beginning. It's hyperlinking at its intended finest.

    I know this is flip, and I'm just kidding of course, but if I were in your shoes, knowing how many readers Mr. Masnick has, and how many visitors to your site he's likely now sent you, you should be pulling out your checkbook. Again, I'm just kidding... er... well... you know... sorta'.

    Hope that helps! Keep-up the good work.

    Peace,

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

     

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  157.  
    identicon
    Howlin' Hobbit, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    I would suggest that it's more like "delusions of adequacy" than that of grandeur.

    But, just to be clear, link to any of my content you wish, even if it's in the context of slamming it. I put it out there, I deserve whatever reactions I get.

     

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  158.  
    identicon
    John Q. Galt, Apr 30th, 2011 @ 2:44am

    Responsible people have a moral duty to link to the intellectual meme pollution of idiots like Canadian IP lawyer James Gannon.

     

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  159.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:59am

    Re: Re: Notifications

    Simply because they don't have the time to do it

    But they have the time to respond to pointles "can I link to you" requests? Yeah, right.

    I wouldn't say, this is a requirement but I'd assume it'd be much appreciated.

    I'd assume it's not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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