Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Deep Linking

Author:Christoph Pingel
Posted:8/10/1999; 6:25:30 AM
Topic:Deep Linking
Msg #:9296 (In response to 9274)
Prev/Next:9295 / 9297

If I look at this Infoworld page, I feel the whole thing is moving in a very bad direction.

The very thought that someone should consider it a violation of copyrights if I *link* to his/her material on the web frightens me. What does it mean? What are the consequences?

The metaphors of the internet are all about »space«, »cyberspace«, »travelling«, »moving«, »surfing«, and so on. This reflects the notion that there is some »space« whith »spots« or »sites« that you can access, provided the technical possibility to do so (computer, modem). It's a public space, and this has been the intention right from the start.

If everybody is allowed to define her own policy of who/how/from where her material can be accessed, this is like denying other people the right to *look at me* in real space. (BTW, I am aware that there is a big discussion in your country about the PC way to look at someone, but this is another subject, though there may be some hidden variables connecting the two discussions.)

Obviously, I can't say anything against protecting let's say a web based editorial system against foreigners. Amd I don't want *my* gifs to appear on someone else's web site. Absolutely no problem.

But look at the consequences if freely available web addresses are protected by some policy - the human beings doing the linking will alway have to take care not to violate any such policy even unintentionally. Lots of work for lawyers, but nothing won for people looking for information or pleasure.

I think that even the metaphor of »deep« linking goes against the spirit of the WWW. Noone ever proclaimed that web sites *had* to be hierarchical structures with banner ads on the »front« or at the »top«; it's just the way some people decided they wanted to present their stuff.

Again, this is a question of metaphors, and they should be *open*. Someone might think his web site is like a »container« and that I am only allowed to use the main entry. But what if I prefer to look at the WWW like an »endless screen«, a tapestry, or a library consisting only of comments?

If some judges should decide that something like »deep linking« exists, they are making a metaphysical judgement about the nature of the World Wide Web, which will throw us back to the days of »print only« in some very serious regards.

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