Thu, 30 Aug 2001 12:02:06 -0700

Thanks for taking the time to give a full thoughtful answer.
My first impulse was to just say NO. But I realized that in this case, more 
was better.
At 11:53 AM 08/30/2001, you wrote:

>[Geraldine asked]
> > Quick question - if I want to put links to other websites onto our site is
> > it good practice to ask the other website first.  e.g. other organisations
> > that aren't GCVS members but useful site for members to look at.
>[This ended up being a much longer response than I intended; apologies. I'm
>not a legal scholar, but I've been active on intellectual property on the
>web issues for five or six years, so I've put some thought into this. The
>short answer is, no. But it quickly gets more complicated.]
>I'm adamantly opposed to this unless there seems to be some clear ethical,
>personal, or legal reason to do so. I'm *not* saying that you *never* ask
>permission, or that you never *tell* someone, only that you don't
>automatically feel required to ask permission.
>This probably seems like an odd set of hairs to split, but here's my
>thinking. First, large media conglomerates (Microsoft, Disney, McDonalds,
>InfoWorld) are tending to control their "intellectual property" voraciously.
>On one hand, I agree that authors (or their representative companies) should
>have a *certain* amount of control over the media they create. (I'm an
>author of print texts and profit from the fact that photocopying my work
>isn't widely acceptable--it happens, surely, but for the most part I get
>money when people buy my obscure little books.) On the other hand, there's a
>huge gap, both philosophical and legal, with the historical foundations of
>IP that separate "talking about" someone's work from "appropriating their
>work unfairly". If I'm prevented from linking to InfoWorld's website without
>first seeking permission (as InfoWorld briefly claimed last year), in effect
>InfoWorld is preventing me from providing readers of my critique of <a
>href="">InfoWorld</a> directly to their site.
>I would also distinguish just plain linking from hazier issues like
>deep-linking, in which the originating site sometimes provides link to a
>competitor's site that fool users into thiking they're still reading content
>on the original site. And this is even a little diferent than deep links
>that bypass higher-level advertising the destination site relies on for
>profit. (The answer to the former issue is a fraud charge; the answer to the
>later is using a database to serve pages and redirect incoming links to a
>top level, or something similar.)
>The purely ethical issue is, in at least this instance, somewhat easier to
>deal with: is your link going to cause undue problems for the destination
>site? For example, if I'm a high-traffic site (in my dreams), any link I
>offer to my users may be enough to swamp a site on a server with a small
>pipe. Or if I'm being critical of another site, I feel that I owe them a
>professional obligation to inform them of my link (and my criticism), just
>in case my comments are way off base.
>- Johndan Johnson-Eilola
>   Clarkson University