You are forbidden to link to my website (1 Viewing)

MapleDots

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I recently visited a website and for curiosity was reading their TOS and it contained all the usual stuff, trademarks, image rights etc etc.

What struck me funny was that there was a whole paragraph saying that nobody is allowed to link to the website without express written permission from the site. It was quite dramatic and said especially no linking from a public website. What made no sense to me was the fact that this was a financial institution and they should want people to link to them, that would increase business right?

So I would like to discuss the legal status of that statement, here it is edited to remove names.


BOOKMARKING AND LINKING TO OUR WEB SITE
You understand that you may create a bookmark in your web browser to the home page. You may not create any link to either the home page or any other of the web site pages without the written approval, including, without limitation, a link on a publicly accessible web site. No person may link to this Site from any web site not owned or sponsored by us without first notifying the us of the intention to create such link and obtaining our written permission. No web site linking to this Site may frame or border this Site with the content of the linking site visible in the same window without our express written permission.
I find it a bit perplexing because it is like saying you cannot write a public business phone number or address on a public forum. So basically if I linked to their site in this forum I would be liable according to their tos.



Could apple say nobody is allowed to link to a product on our site and discuss it on another site? Could a financial institution which has a public website and is actively soliciting clients make such a rule legit?

If the internet becomes a place where one cannot link to other sites then it would fundamentally break what the world wide web is all about. Its a bunch of connected websites linking to each other.


Am I wrong here?
 

rlm

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I'm guessing some lawyer stole that or reused a template from another source. But you're right, it doesn't make sense for a bank - unless they don't want people aggregating their shitty mortgage/loan rates - and I suppose that's a possibility too.

But it makes sense possibly if you're a news organization - as that's what the fight is about with facebook and google. They steal content under the guise that its ok to do because they are citing the source with a link back. But no one uses the link back and facebook & google makes it look like they have content when they're really just re-using someone else's content without paying a dime for it. A local business here did precisely that for years, just stole news stories from actual news outlets without having real reporters and built up a very successful business. That local business sold for around $25M recently.
 

aactive

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rlm said:
...A local business here did precisely that for years, just stole news stories from actual news outlets without having real reports and built up a very successful business. That local business sold for around $25M recently.

Ouch, I just woke up from a nightmare and it turns out it really happened.
 

lotsofcoffee

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I do not know if there are any Canadian cases, but there is this: Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticketmaster_Corp._v._Tickets.com,_Inc.

In March 2000, ruling on Tickets.com's motion to dismiss U.S. District Judge Harry Lindley Hupp found that deep linking was not prohibited by the Copyright Act because no direct copying had occurred. In August 2000, Hupp denied Ticketmaster's motion for a preliminary injunction against Tickets.com's linking and web crawling. For linking, he wrote that uniform resource locators (URLs) were not copyrightable because they contained only factual and function features, and for web crawling, he wrote that it passed legal muster under the fair use doctrine and did not pose an undue burden on Ticketmaster's servers. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in a one-paragraph unpublished opinion.
 

moosk

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rlm said:
They steal content under the guise that its ok to do because they are citing the source with a link back. But no one uses the link back and facebook & google makes it look like they have content when they're really just re-using someone else's content without paying a dime for it.

They grab the title/short-description/maybe-image, basically. To actually read the article the user goes to the website. The argument is crazy because if Google (and to a lesser extent Facebook) turns off the tap, all these sites lose a bunch of visits/pageviews. If these sites don't want to appear in Google they can apply a noindex tag to any pages they don't want in there (or keep them out via robots.txt).

In terms of the 'featured snippets' you see in some Google searches (where Google 'steals' a snippet of text), SEOs try to get these because they know how many visitors they pull in ('position zero').

News orgs have been lazy for years -- not adapting at all. If you want to buy ads on a newspaper site is there a nice self-serve platform to do so? Why not? Sure, they won't have all the targeting intel that Google/FB does, but they're not even trying to compete. Now, when times are tough they look for someone to glean money from.

I'm all for keeping 'real' media alive (it's important!) but this isn't the correct approach -- it goes against how the Internet works.

Big picture: What happens when your favourite search engine can't index a chunk of the web because they're not paying to do so?
 

rlm

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To a large extent, the media companies' arguments are indeed ridiculous. For example, if we discussed a story here and linked back to the source article, could you imagine having to pay them for your free referral??

The reality is, advertisers pay for access to an audience, not content. And clearly social media and search engines that aggregate free content just have a much more scalable and efficient model for growing an audience than news companies hiring reporters and writing stories. And I presume that's the core of traditional media's complaint - that facebook and google get ALL of their content for free and thus its unfair. I suppose in a way, there is truth and thus some validity to that.

In the end, I agree that media needs to innovate, not litigate. But I'm also not too worried about search engines not being allowed to index parts of the web. If businesses don't want their content indexed, they would probably be shooting themselves in the foot, but I think that's their right to do so. Maybe that would be how other competing search engines earn a larger share of the market. For example, maybe Bing might be willing to offer some kickbacks to news companies for their inclusion, so that company would restrict google from showing their content, but allow Bing to show it. That sounds reasonable to me - a content creator should be allowed to decide how its content is distributed. Then we'd be letting market forces decide if and what amount should be paid to news organizations for their content. It may wind up being zero - but maybe not?
 

FM

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I agree, forbidden linking without authorization goes against the open nature and concept of the internet. Here's an interesting article about the topic:

https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/website-permissions/linking/

One of the central features of the Internet is the ability for each website to offer connections to other sites in the click of a button. There are a few ways that websites connect, each with different legal implications for getting permission. This section discusses the issues raised when your site connects to other websites, and it provides a sample linking agreement.

Of course, deep framing or pulling photos of another site is another story...
 

moosk

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rlm said:
Bing might be willing to offer some kickbacks to news companies for their inclusion, so that company would restrict google from showing their content, but allow Bing to show it

Interesting. Would have to be a big kickback. Unfortunately Bing and DuckDuckGo are a joke in terms of search results relevancy compared to Google. I wish there was more competition in search but right now the 2/3 players aren't producing the quality that Google offers. With Google being being able to hire whoever they want, I'm not sure if this will ever change. Event Micro$oft money isn't working, seems. DuckDuckGo does a good job of explaining their advantage in terms of privacy, but they need to drastically improve their results.
 

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