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TOPIC:

NPR's brutally stupid linking policy

^     All messages            20-35 of 35  4-19 >>
35
JabberwockyPerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
11:49 PM ET (US)
Interesting. At Google.com top 10 results for the search terms "brutally stupid" all link to stories about National Public Radio. The whole WWW has judged this "brutally stupid"!!!
34
SongdogPerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
05:47 PM ET (US)
A proposal: as it is, NPR is going to have to look at their referrer logs to identify linkers who skipped their form. Alternatively, and more simply, they could just allow people to link whenever they want. They can look at their referrer logs to watch for undersirable referrers ("teensluts.com", Zooey?) or bandwidth abusers. It shouldn't be a lot of trouble to block these referrers. Innocent users browsing from teensluts.com to npr.org could be shown a message page explaining why the link has been forbidden. This would work in a frame as well. And even better, the message page could include a link to the desired resource in its natural habitat.
33
nougatmachinePerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
04:46 PM ET (US)
Guys, guys...frames suck. Why would you WANT to "frame" a web site? The effect frames have on usability is catastrophic. When you frame a web site, you effectively embed one site into another, which breaks the ability to bookmark, which can cause all kinds of annoyances with the web's forward/backward navigation, it confuses users, it can be used to make other's work appear as someone elses...

Ugh. I'm all for raising the pitchforks and torches to support deep linking, but I'm rather shocked that somebody who is usually as smart as Cory would WANT Boingboing to be framed.
32
ZooeyPerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
02:31 PM ET (US)
I don't quite understand why this is such a big deal. I mean, the people with cause to link to the site need to fill out a form, just like I had to fill out a form to post my comment. If you don't want to fill out the form, don't post the link. Personally, I can't see that many untoward orgs wanting to link to NPR. They get most of their operating money from individual donors; it seems to be they are just trying to keep track of who is using their web site and why so that, should someone ask about why teensluts.com is linking to NPR, they can say, we didn't authorize it, they are breaking our policy. It simply seems to be a way to cover themselves since every last tote-carrying listener who donates can write or call or email and complain about what they hear, read, etc. Why is this such a big deal?
31
farrelljPerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
12:13 PM ET (US)
Hi!

  Of course, the best response is for *EVERYONE* to link to NPR, and fill out the form. Put up a page of Links, write a perl script to fill out their form with your information automatically, and watch see how long their permission form lasts...

ttyl
     Farrell McGovern
Edited 06-20-2002 12:14 PM
30
cascadefxPerson was signed in when posted
06-20-2002
09:03 AM ET (US)
"Cory, perhaps I posted in haste at first. I do think we can work issues like this out without the courts. However, I don't think the countermeasures you refer to as "trivial" are so easy. Try running a high traffic Real Media server and then see how you like other people linking into the streams. "

Actually, your friend in the biz is wrong. You can obscure streams in such a way that direct linking won't work without a lot of client side fu. You can set cookie requirements and have intervening pages that use server-side redirects that basically make viewing content a required two page process. And that is a clunky solution, I am sure others could offer up something more elegant.
Edited 06-20-2002 09:04 AM
29
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
06-19-2002
09:42 PM ET (US)
Here's what a frame looks like in a text-based browser:

http://www.craphound.com/images/iframelynx.jpg

Tell me again that a frame isn't a link?
28
JohnnyXPerson was signed in when posted
06-19-2002
08:46 PM ET (US)
"I just don't get it. What's to stop someone from just recording the entire This American Life archives and burning them to a cd? No linking involved?"

If you do Torey Malatia will come to your house every week and say inappropriate, slightly disturbing and self-revealing things to you every week in the form of an out-of-context quote of someone else.
27
The MonsterPerson was signed in when posted
06-19-2002
07:28 PM ET (US)
framing is different from linking: it loads the page into your browser

To clarify, "framing" is a complicated dance.
<ol>
  • The browser asks the server for a document.
  • The server may return a document.
  • The document may contain a frameset
  • The browser may request the document(s) referenced by that frameset from their respective server(s)
  • The server(s) may return those documents.
  • The browser may display them.

  • At each step of this process, there are free choices made. Some people use browsers that don't do frames. Some servers won't return a document referred from another server. But the act of constructing a frameset does not load anything into anyone's browser.<p>
    When you decide you want a page on the World Wide Web, you are implicitly agreeing that, in general, linking is a Good Thing. That's what makes it a Web. Exceptions to the rule are the burden of those who wish them. If you don't want to be linked to, then don't be linked to. <p>
    26
    Deleted by author 07-08-2002 01:48 AM
    25
    CraniacPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    02:12 PM ET (US)
    I just don't get it. What's to stop someone from just recording the entire This American Life archives and burning them to a cd? No linking involved?

    What if regular contributors get a barcode tattoo, and only they are allowed to link?
    24
    MeriadocPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    01:57 PM ET (US)
    Reading everything that's been posted so far in one swoop ...

    I agree with the comment that framing is different from linking: it loads the page into your browser, as the poster observed, which linking doesn't; and it provides the material in a different form and context. I've seen frames which made it look as if the inner frame material belonged to the outer-frame owner. That last, I think, goes beyond the permissible. (The more polite people using framing to box off-site material will provide a link reading "If you wish to see this material without frames, click here.")

    But though framing is different from linking, should it be treated different legally? I think not: Cory points out how it can be useful.

    And it absolutely should be legal to provide deep linking. That too provides material out of context, to be true, but it's the author of the material who chose to present it that way. The best defense against that is to provide a home page link on every page.

    Another interesting point that came up in this topic: what about linking increasing the bandwidth costs of the person linked to? I've noticed this happening a lot. 1) Popular blog gives a link to some obscure but interesting personal site. 2) Site gets a lot of hits. 3) Site owner's ISP takes the site down for exceeding its bandwidth quota for the month.

    Whose fault is this, and what should be done about it? I think I'd favor a technical solution that would deliberately clog requests if they exceeded the quota, but wouldn't actually take the site down. IOW, pretty much what happens when the web is being slow anyway, only with a clear error message saying that was the reason: you could try again later when traffic was slower.
    23
    snakeyPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    01:07 PM ET (US)
    Yeah, well, I usually hate frames anyway. And I doubly hate the thinly veiled pro-corporate spin at National Pentagon Radio, too. I do believe that they have put this policy in place to make it more difficult to discuss and dissect the corporate product announcements and war ads that npr passes off as news these days.

    And, just to split a different technological hair here, what if I just use a form with the window.location method in Javascript to send a user to the content?! No href tag, no link, right? Heh, just like NPR can find ways to keep people from framing/linking their bullshit propaganda, it's possible for the 31337 h4x0r in you to design around their legal bullshit, too.
    22
    SongdogPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    11:12 AM ET (US)
    I came into this thinking the framing ruling wasn't so bad, but it seems to me now that framing falls under fair use, provided that you cite the page you're linking to and/or provide an obvious link to the content in its original form. I regularly quote text and images on my own site (usually from wire services, press releases, et sim.). but I always cite the authors and link back. I'm not making money off of my site, and I'm not taking money away from content creators. In most cases, I'm trying to drive people to their sites, because I like what they're doing. But maybe that's just me.

    But the good folks at NPR have definitely been listening to the wrong people. Linking isn't bad. Linking is good. Hell, look at a typical NPR piece - quoted content, offsite links, the works. I suppose they got permission for each and every one, but why on earth would they want to require that?
    Edited 06-19-2002 11:13 AM
    21
    Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    02:00 AM ET (US)
    "Now that's a story I'd like to hear, as I'm sure would Wired News. Was he framing the site in ads like the court case? Or was he simply linking to a page? There is a difference."
    I believe he was linking to the streams.

    "Cory, perhaps I posted in haste at first. I do think we can work issues like this out without the courts."

    I'm glad to hear it.

    'However, I don't think the countermeasures you refer to as "trivial" are so easy. Try running a high traffic Real Media server and then see how you like other people linking into the streams.'

    It's not as though NPR has ads on the pages that link to its Real streams, the revenue from which direct-linkers deprive it of -- NPR has put the streams online for one purpose, to encourage people to listen to them.

    It's also worth noting that NPR has many other remedies available to it if it wishes to offset bandwidth costs, including replacing its streams with downloadables and inviting others to mirror them.

    "(And that's not Apache, so no clever workarounds. I have a friend in the biz who says there's no way to prevent someone from linking to a Real Audio stream on your server. When enough people do that, it gets expensive fast. That's probably why NPR has that form in the first place.)"

    Hardly a ringing endorsement of Real's technology; reason enough to damn Real for creating and deploying a technology that begs for legal remedies that distort the link-without-permission nature of the Internet.

    "Or try running a multi-thousand page site with no CMS. You want me to ad de-framing javascript to every page? Sure it's optional, but it's hardly trivial."

    If you've got apache-fu, it's still straightforward to parse every outbound page to insert the javascript at serve-time. If you know a little perl or python, you can bulk-insert an ssi directive or the javascript itself.

    Both of these are still trivial procedures relative to, say, requiring every person who wishes to deploy a framing service to seek permission from every page that he might someday frame (imagine if Google Images or About had to do this -- securing permission for every document in a multi-billion-document-Internet makes inserting a few thousand SSI directives seem trivial indeed.)
    20
    frayingPerson was signed in when posted
    06-19-2002
    01:46 AM ET (US)
    "The word "prohibited," in conjunction with the DMCA, isn't an expression of desire or a request, it's a threat."

    Maybe so, but it's a threat without teeth. It seems clear to me that the law is up in the air on this one.


    "In fact, I got email from a reader shortly after posting this story. He had been nastygrammed by NPR's lawyers and threatened with DMCA prosecution if he didn't take down his site. I think he's likely reading this thread, so I leave it to him to post the details if he cares to."

    Now that's a story I'd like to hear, as I'm sure would Wired News. Was he framing the site in ads like the court case? Or was he simply linking to a page? There is a difference.


    Cory, perhaps I posted in haste at first. I do think we can work issues like this out without the courts. However, I don't think the countermeasures you refer to as "trivial" are so easy. Try running a high traffic Real Media server and then see how you like other people linking into the streams. (And that's not Apache, so no clever workarounds. I have a friend in the biz who says there's no way to prevent someone from linking to a Real Audio stream on your server. When enough people do that, it gets expensive fast. That's probably why NPR has that form in the first place.) Or try running a multi-thousand page site with no CMS. You want me to ad de-framing javascript to every page? Sure it's optional, but it's hardly trivial.

    I'm just saying that there are shades of grey in this conversation. It's not just big companies that don't get the web. As always, it depends.
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