writes in to let us know that the law firm that was recently challenged
for claiming that it was a copyright violation to post its cease-and-desist letter also has some other interesting ideas about copyright, including banning people from looking at the firm's source code
. You can view the entire user agreement
, but the amusing part is:
"We also own all of the code, including the HTML code, and all content. As you may know, you can view the HTML code with a standard browser. We do not permit you to view such code since we consider it to be our intellectual property protected by the copyright laws. You are therefore not authorized to do so."
As Beck says, "That's kind of like a puppet show invoking copyright to prohibit the audience from looking at the strings. The user agreements of the law firm and one of its clients also contain a bunch of terrible terms that have become all too common: a prohibition on linking to the site, copying anything from the site (even if its fair use), and even referring to the website owner by name. The law firm doesn't even allow its own clients to say they're represented by the firm without permission."
He also notes that the law firm in question is demanding that another website remove criticism of one of their clients because it did not receive permission to use the client's name or link to the website -- two things that the laws and the courts have been pretty clear in saying is perfectly legal over the years.