Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

AdWare And Hyperlinks Are Legal (In Some Places)

from the well-of-course dept

Two legal decisions in a single post (getting more efficient here every day). First, comes the news that a judge has ruled that WhenU's pop-up ad software is legal, saying that it's up to the end user to decide how they use their computer. I agree. While the pop up ads may be annoying, as I said when this case was first launched, it doesn't appear to be illegal. The software is actively installed by the end user - meaning that they made the decision as to how they wanted to surf the internet. Now, if you accuse WhenU (and the more popular similar company Gator) of being misleading in installing spyware on computers, that might be a different story. However, from a basic legal standpoint, it's better that end-users have the right to use their own computers as they see fit than to have a judge say that a website can force you to look at their own ads. The second good legal decision of the day comes out of the Netherlands where they've decided that it's not illegal to post links to copyrighted materials and that ISPs should not be held responsible for their customers hosting copyrighted materials. This is the same issue that keeps coming up again and again in the courts, so it's good to see more rulings that recognize that hyperlinks are simply pointers and cannot, by themselves, be illegal. It's equally important that courts recognize that holding service providers responsible for the content their users post would destroy the entire point of the internet, and make it unusable.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2003 @ 1:37pm

    No Subject Given

    I think installing adware/spyware on your computer should be made illegal if:

    1. you're "tricked" into installing it (i.e. it's bundled with KazaA)

    2. you cannot easily uninstall all traces of it (i.e. it's in "Add/Remove Programs")

    I think Gator does 1. and doesn't allow 2, so should be banned.

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

    • identicon
      Paul Moreno, 29 Feb 2004 @ 7:05am

      I am sick of adware

      adware should be illeagle. if people accually wanted the program they should be allowd to download it. But for God 's sake why hide it within another program. It makes the PC slow, prone to crashes and other problems. A law should be passed making this illeagle. As a computer technitian i end charging people $40 just to run ad aware on their PC. Granted these same people should'nt be stealing MP3's, but the adware should'nt be bundled with anything.

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

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