Wayback Machine Way Out Of Lawsuit

from the going-wayback dept

Two years ago, we wrote about how a law firm was upset that its counterpart in a trademark case had used the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to view some old websites for the case. Apparently the law firm had set up a robots.txt file to block the Archive and other sites from searching and archiving those pages. Last summer, the Internet Archive was sued over the issue. Now, comes the news that they’re no longer a part of the lawsuit, though the original law firm is still accused of “hacking” and violating copyrights to view the old websites. Unfortunately, there are no details on how the settlement was reached or what it entailed. Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle says that the accessibility of the pages was a “temporary glitch” that has since been fixed. That’s good, but unfortunately leaves a lot of the other issues related to this case unsettled. Hopefully some of those will come out of the final result of the other part of the case.

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Comments on “Wayback Machine Way Out Of Lawsuit”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Something must be missing here

Either something is missing here, or I misread the article.

How could the Wayback Machine make web pages available that it shouldn’t have indexed in the first place, unless it completely ignored the robots exclusion file on the original site? That’s not a “temporary glitch”.

The Wayback Machine wiki states “The archive also maintains the “Wayback Machine”, with content from Alexa Internet.” Alexa is a commercial data mining operation. I suspect some site managers might not want Alexa indexing their site if they knew this.

Anonymous Coward says:

I still don't get it...

So explain to me how this has any legal precedent. The way I interpret it is as such:

I create a document that I distribute freely to anyone that asks for it, with a small note at the bottom that says, “If you are a robot, don’t store the contents of this page.”

I then have a second thought about this document, and I destroy the original.

Somebody finds a copy of this document, in this case from a robot (although I don’t see any relevance in how they obtained the copy, except for my small “do not store this page” note), and I get mad and sue them?

The document(website) was public at one time. Anyone could have made a copy at any point. Just because a robot made the copy it is a legal issue? What if I had a cached copy, or I printed the website before it was taken down? Could they sue me?

This could be a whole new way for me to make money. Forget my 9 to 5, I just need to track down all the copies of my old websites and sue the people that made a printout or copy!

Joe Smith says:

Like Virginity

confidentiality can only be lost once.

Seems to me that the Plaintiff was trying to allege that certain information was confidential and the defence was trying to show that the information had previously been made available to the world through the web.

The question I have is: What information could there possibily be on that old web page which the Plaintiff could properly seek to suppress?

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