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Archive.org Sued By Colorado Woman 797

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the legally-binding-http-requests dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Internet Archive is being sued by a Colorado woman for spidering her site. Suzanne Shell posted a notice on her site saying she wasn't allowing it to be crawled. When it was, she sued for civil theft, breach of contract, and violations of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations act and the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. A court ruling last month granted the Internet Archive's motion to dismiss the charges, except for the breach of contract claim. If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search."
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Archive.org Sued By Colorado Woman

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  • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:14PM (#18386333)
    ...you agree not to mod me down for being First Post!

    - RG>
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:39PM (#18387099)
      Suzanne Shell is a family rights activists who has published 3 books and a website advocating on behalf of the fundamental human right of family association. This activism largely applies to government intrusions into the family under child abuse/neglect investigations and court actions. She has been active in this arena since 1991 and is nationally recognized as an expert in this arena.

      She is advertised by: http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

      An example of her work: http://www.profane-justice.org/sctcomplnt.pdf [profane-justice.org]

      She urges interested parties to contact her via her contact address or phone number on the letterhead in above PDF.

      Let her know what you think!
    • SITE SLASHDOTTED (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:09PM (#18387383)
      Suzanne Shell
      14053 Eastonville Rd.
      Elbert, CO 80106
      719.749.2971

      For those looking to share your views, Suzanne has asked that we continue to contact her organization at her official "non-web" addresses.
    • by Xenographic (557057) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:19PM (#18387483) Homepage Journal
      By reading this post or having it copied into your browser's cache, you agree to give me a permanent, irrevocable, fully paid-up license, at my option, to revoke, amend, terminate, or waive any breach of any contract of adhesion, EULA, click-through license, or any other such license or contract which does not bear my physical (i.e. the non-electronic kind made with a pen) signature or the physical signature of a designated agent you have entered with me, or to take that action on your behalf. In the event of any disagreement pertaining to, arising under, or relating to this license, you give me the choice of law and venue and agree not to oppose any changes of venue, motions for removal to or from federal court, or objections to standing that I request and that you give me the right to waive any objections on your behalf. In the event of any breech, you agree to pay all of my court costs and attorney's fees.

      If you do not agree to this, you must get my signature in pen and ink stating that whatever license or contract you propose is not subject to this agreement. After all, if you don't think this is valid, just why the HELL do you think some stupid thing you put on your web page is!?

      -----

      There, put that bugger on your website, and let them weasel out of that :] Honestly, I hope this'll get thrown out soon, the judge just might not be able to do that at this stage in the litigation. I mean, hell, how long as SCO vs. IBM been going on now?
      • It's OK (Score:5, Informative)

        by djtack (545324) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @10:19PM (#18391391)
        It's OK now - after negotiating with Ms. Shell she agreed to place the contents of her site into the public domain. Here's a copy of our contract:

        GET / HTTP/1.1
        User-Agent: By accepting this HTTP GET request you agree to release into the public domain the entire contents of this web site.
        Host: www.profane-justice.org
        Pragma: no-cache
        Accept: */*

        HTTP/1.1 200 OK
        Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 02:11:09 GMT
        Server: Apache
        Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
        Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0
        Pragma: no-cache
        Connection: close
        Transfer-Encoding: chunked
        Content-Type: text/html
  • Posted notice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:14PM (#18386335)
    Did she post the notice properly, though? There are laws about how you must post a 'no trespassing' sign on physical properties.

    Similarly, there are ways to post that notice on your website as well. robots.txt comes to mind. If she didn't bother to post the notice correctly, the case should be just thrown out.
    • by ZakuSage (874456) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:19PM (#18386379)
      Don't read this post.
    • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Informative)

      by spellraiser (764337) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:20PM (#18386399) Journal

      No, she didn't post the notice properly:

      Her suit asserts that the Internet Archive's programmatic visitation of her site constitutes acceptance of her terms, despite the obvious inability of a Web crawler to understand those terms and the absence of a robots.txt file to warn crawlers away.

      The case should be thrown out, period. She should just have learned her lesson and used a proper robots.txt file next time. If you're going to post stuff on the Internet and don't want it to beb indexed or archived, you should know what you're doing. If you don't, it's your problem. The lawsuit is frivolous and inane.

      • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:29PM (#18386497) Homepage Journal
        A case should be thrown out even if robots.txt was ignored. What if robots.txt contains a parse error or was temporarily inaccessible?

        If you want something published on the public internet to be private, require viewers to enter a password or present a cryptographic certificate. Everything else is public.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          It's not about keeping something private. To demand that people not look at unprotected webpages would indeed be ludicrous (although it has been tried more than once.) It's about making copies for other people: You can't go around the web and copy other people's websites. If you don't believe me, register a domain and make a copy of cnet.com.
          • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:55PM (#18386721) Homepage Journal
            The case isn't about copying, it's about the act of spidering.

            Also, if copying is illegal, what about copying the website to your browser cache when you display the page? Let's ban that; that will be GREAT for the web.
            • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:14PM (#18386857)
              The inaccurate Slashdot description would make you believe that, but actually she has this on her webpage: "IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT".
              • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by nuzak (959558) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:37PM (#18387075) Journal
                I can claim that if you speak to any words containing vowels to me that you're entering into a contract. It doesn't make it the slightest bit so.

                Either she has the world's dumbest lawyer (RICO charges? please), or she's filing pro se (see previous about world's dumbest lawyer). In either case she's an ideal test case for the webcrawlers, because she will almost certainly get completely demolished in court.

                She might have a copyright claim, but she couldn't even get that one up the steps. Did she even file for infringement?
                • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Informative)

                  by binford2k (142561) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:52PM (#18387211) Homepage Journal
                  • Re:Posted notice? (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by julesh (229690) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @04:15PM (#18388679)
                    She filed pro se.

                    Idiot for a lawyer and an idiot for a client. It's not going to go well for her, is it?

                    I mean, just how did she figure she'd get away with charges for "civil theft" (generally defined as "taking property with the intent of permanently depriving its rightful owner of its use") or "conversion" (which also relates to taking property) when no property was taken? And RICO without a racket?

                    The contract claim will clearly fail -- reading between the lines of the document you link, it was essentially only not struck out at this stage because the court wasn't allowed to consider the evidence presented by Internet Archive that they hadn't seen the notice of the contract.

                    That leaves only the copyright claim, and I think it's pretty clear that Internet Archive's use is fair use.
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by supersat (639745)
                  Reading the order to dismiss [ericgoldman.org], a few things come to light:
                  1. After she sent the Internet Archive an email demanding payment of $100,000, the Internet Archive sued to have their actions declared legal.
                  2. She is proceeding pro se, most likely because she got caught off-guard by the Internet Archive's legal action. Still, you can't go around demanding $100,000 without expecting a legal response.
                  3. One of her counterclaims was for copyright infringment. However, the Internet Archive did not move to have that counterclai
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by PeelBoy (34769)
                Looks like a virus to me. You just had to copy and paste it here, didn't you? Thanks now we're all screwed.
        • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:08PM (#18386821) Journal
          If you want something published on the public internet to be private,

          Then don't post it on the internet. Just like if you don't want people to see you in your underwear you should stand in your front yard in just your underwear holding a sign saying "Don't look at me". The space might be private, but the view is public.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BakaHoushi (786009)
            I think this needs to be in a pamphlet delivered to... everyone in the world. The Internet is a public place. Yes, you may have rights over a part you've designed/created, but it's still supposed to be for public viewing. Like an artist "owns" the work he gives to an art gallery, but can't tell people how to look at or think about it. He can't deny people the right to be inspired by said work. Much how you can tell someone they can't copy your website to make an identical website and claim it as his own. Bu
      • by Looke (260398)

        Archive.org re-publishes other sites' content. That's breaking copyright, period.

        robots.txt is a nice convention, but its absence doesn't allow anyone to break copyright. Where does that idea come from??

        • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sabernet (751826) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:19PM (#18386903) Homepage
          Archive.org is archiving websites. All credit to the author, etc... remain. Equally, Archive.org is not profiting from the mirrored copy. Upon request, archive.org can and most probably will remove the copy from their site.

          As has been stated before, you save a copy of all websites you visit. It's called cache. Archive.org could be seen as a computer browser with a robotic viewer and a bigass cache folder.

          Equally, the internet works on the premise that the information is -out there-. If the site existed only in a local intranet, then that would be a different story. This site was published to be seen and, by extension, copied, as so long as the rights of the content provider are upheld.

          If you don't want your site copied, DON'T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET. Or, at the very least, put some level of protection on it. A human-only readable notice does not protection make. Otherwise, you are defaulting to a "copy me" state, as that is the default state of http. She has the right, however, as the copyright holder, to ask that all copies be purged.

          To use a real world analogue. Say you go golfing. While golfing, you hear "FORE!" but keep playing. A golf ball smacks you in the head and you get a concussion, the extent of which prohibits you from going to work that week. Can you sue the golf course or the golfer(assuming he wasn't maliciously attempting to zing you across the skull)? No. You did not have a reasonable expectation not to be around flying white harbingers of pain. If you go golfing at a golf course, any reasonable person knows that there will be other golfers. So you accept the possibility and the consequences.

          When you publish to the internet, your site will be copied. If someone you don't like does it too, you have no right to bitch about it. You published it out to be seen by the world. It's out there now. Too bad. However, as the copyright holder, you reserve the right to approach one of the copiers and ask, "I wish for you to delete that." The copier may have fair use defenses for it or may end up deleting it out of respect. Equally, as the copyright holder, you can definitely say, "That copy you have, you can't make money off it or take credit for it or deface it in any way or hide its source." Archive.org is not doing anything of the sort.

          This, of course, is ignoring the fact that this woman more then likely has used a search engine at least once in her life. As a result, should she attest that these activities are illegal, it means she willingly participated in a query of a database doing that which she believes is wrong. That is not only hypocritical, but downright vile and questionably as illegal as that which she is alleging.

          I'm not quite sure if you were playing devil's advocate or are actually an RIAA-worthy ignorant copyright Nazi, but either way, you definitely didn't put much thought into your post.
        • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Informative)

          by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:17PM (#18387473)
          robots.txt is a nice convention, but its absence doesn't allow anyone to break copyright. Where does that idea come from??

          It isn't just a "nice convention". It's a sufficiently reasonable precaution available to plaintiff to effectively avoid the inadvertent disclosure of copyrighted documents. Failure to provide a simple robots.txt file evidences a lack of reasonable precaution and undermines plaintiff's claims to redress in a court of law.

          In her defense it seems she probably needs the money after being fined $6000 in a Colorado state court a few months ago for a contempt violation (unauthorized practice of law) [coloradoconfidential.com] after she participated in three separate Colorado court cases under a power of attorney when she had no prior involvement- after having been warned on a prior occasion that this was illegal in the state of Colorado. In fact it's illegal everywhere except Slashdot. But of course it's lies, all lies!

          I did not give legal advice to anyone. I did not use powers of attorney to represent anyone or give legal advice to anyone. As I testified, and which was not refuted, I used Powers of Attorney because I was previously accused of forging signatures on release of information forms. I started using powers of attorney to access the DHS records under an existing Colorado Children's Code statutory provision recognizing powers of attorney for that purpose, legislation which I influenced.
          She needs a good spanking.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jokestress (837997)
      FYI, the Susanne Shell website Profane Justice. [profane-justice.org] It's got that crazy Time Cube type font usage, indicating a high kook factor.
      • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BJH (11355) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:26PM (#18386475)
        Gotta love it:

        IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT. SEE COPYRIGHT NOTICE & SECURITY AGREEMENT (READ BEFORE ACCESSING THIS WEBSITE)


        This notice is posted (where else?) on her web site...
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by zippthorne (748122)
          There is a link to the copyright notice, but it has a clickthrough which requires you to agree to the copyright terms before allowing you to see them.
        • Re:Posted notice? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:48PM (#18386677) Journal

          Worse, when you click the policy link, this nutjob asks you (without swowing the policy) whether you agree. Then, if you click cancel, it tells you that by even looking at this site, you have already agreed, and the only option is "Ok", after which it takes you to the page where you can actually see what you just agreed to.

          As such, even if contracts were binding upon spiders (which they should not be), this is not a legitimate contract because it is not possible to read the contract prior to agreeing to it. IMHO, all the archive.org people should have to do is videotape someone clicking the policy link and show it to the judge, and she will be thrown out of court on her you-know-what.

          .
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by modecx (130548)
      What a stupid bitch. I'm ashamed to live in the same state as her.

      The way I see it, there are certain ways to make sure spiders don't index your pages, and we should agree that if one is smart enough to put a web site on the net, one should also be smart enough to learn how these work. Good spiders like any of the major search engines and archive.org will restrain themselves if you setup a robots.txt file (or meta tags) that tell them they aren't welcome.

      If she really didn't want her data to be copied, sh
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      If she didn't bother to post the notice correctly, the case should be just thrown out.

      While I agree with you in principle, the law suggests that she did post the notice correctly, since (from what I gathered FTFA) the law doesn't make any distinctions between a human eyeball and a robot eyeball.

      ...attorney John Ottaviani, ..., says the issue is "whether there was 'an adequate notice of the existence of the terms' and a 'meaningful opportunity to review' the terms."

      I'd suggest that not using robots.txt

      • Re:Posted notice? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Qzukk (229616) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:17PM (#18386877) Journal
        While I agree with you in principle, the law suggests that she did post the notice correctly, since (from what I gathered FTFA) the law doesn't make any distinctions between a human eyeball and a robot eyeball.

        Except that if you don't agree to it (pressing Cancel when the javascript tells you that if you continue, you agree to it) you're taken to a page that says that you have agreed to it.

        I wonder if duress (compelling the user to agree regardless of their wishes) is grounds for a lawsuit by itself, or if you have to wait until the contract you entered under duress causes some damage to you.
  • by Red Cape (854034) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:16PM (#18386347) Homepage Journal
    she should have put a password on it.
  • robots.txt (Score:5, Informative)

    by knothead99 (33644) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:17PM (#18386367) Journal
    TFA clearly states that there was no robots.txt file. I suppose she expects us (programmers) to rush out and perfect natural language processing so all our spiders can read her stupid notice.
    • by pilgrim23 (716938)
      No robot.txt insured that a spider, a simple program would at least look at her page as it was so bad no human with the power of reason would be likely to. /me stands on a crowded sidewalk in the buff screaming at the top of lungs DON'T LOOK AT ME!!! then sues each of the surounding thousands who casually look his way..
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DogDude (805747)
      I suppose she expects us (programmers) to rush out and perfect natural language processing so all our spiders can read her stupid notice.

      No, I think that if you spent about 5 seconds reading her web site, you'd see that she's mentally ill. I don't think it's appropriate to bash people like this, when they clearly don't have a good grip on reality.
  • by His name cannot be s (16831) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:17PM (#18386369) Journal
    Maybe I'm new here, as you can see from my slashdotid.

    But *WHY* in hell would someone want to have their site excluded from search engines, and archive.org?

    It's not like she's being deprived.

    And even if they did, why the fuck didn't she use a ROBOTS.TXT file? Isn't that what it's for?

    Stupid bitch.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And even if they did, why the fuck didn't she use a ROBOTS.TXT file? Isn't that what it's for?
      Clearly she should have. However, she didn't and that's the issue at stake here. Is ignorance of the procedure an excuse?
      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:27PM (#18386483) Journal
        Clearly she should have. However, she didn't and that's the issue at stake here. Is ignorance of the procedure an excuse?

        No it's not an excuse. By placing her information on the internet, she must comply with the standards of the internet. The important thing is that there was a legitimate way to prevent this which she could have implemented, but she didn't. Just as the cartoon advertisement got in a shitload of trouble in Boston. It's not that they weren't allowed, but rather they simply needed to file the proper form.

        If you were to use a felt tip marker to put your copytight notice on a braille flyer, but didn't put the notice in braille, and someone who read the braille and was incapable of reading the marker then sent that notice to their friends, I suspect they would not be in violation of the copyright notice.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:11PM (#18386839)
          As a devil's advocate, though, what enforcement is there of robots.txt?

          I could easily write a program that runs on my workstation and completely ignores it. In fact, I have a offline-browser that downloads sites and *does* completely ignore it while spidering for which pages to download (I won't name names.) There's nothing technical requiring spiders to honor it, presumably there's no legal system to honor it, it's all just trust.

          Next time this comes up in court, the case might be a much more interesting, "I had a robots.txt file, but [search engine] ignored it!"
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cgenman (325138)
            A robots.txt file is not a contract or a technical restriction, but rather the standard means of communicating behaviors that contradict the inherent technical structure of the internet. If someone ignores your robots.txt file, that in and of itself is not a violation of anything. But it does mean that you have properly stated your policy. Your policy may not have the force of law (and by many accounts, it shouldn't), but if you don't state that policy in the proper form it can be assumed to have no forc
    • Uh-oh... faux pas... replying to my own comment...

      I found her site: www . profane-justice . org (don't want to actually link to it.)

      Two Words:

      O. K.

      maybe three:

      O. MYFUCKING. GOD.

      Aside from the obvious criminal lack of good taste and design, this bitch is pretty fucked up.

      -- feh.
      • by Smidge204 (605297)
        Good call not linking it, that 825KB jpg for a header graphic would be sure to kill her bandwidth in mere seconds if it were linked from /.

        (Not that I advocate the slashdotting of a website owned by someone who, after reading said website, clearly deserves it IMHO...)
        =Smidge=
    • What boggles my mind is that this is considered news. It's just some person exploiting the US Courts YET AGAIN to sponge some ca$h from deep pockets. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by John3 (85454) <john3@cornel[ ]com ['ls.' in gap]> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:23PM (#18386421) Homepage Journal
    This [profane-justice.org] appears to be it.

    Oh, and Ms. Shell, 1996 called. They want their website design back.

    PS - By clicking on the link above you are agreeing to all the stuff Ms. Shell posted on her site.

  • It would actually be nice if when you decided to take something down off the web, it was gone forever. How many embarrassing photos and postings have we written over the years? There's something about people being able to google or way-back-machine your past that's makes you feel *exposed*.

    I often wonder about all those girls that are nude on the web -- aren't they going to grow up and wish all that stuff would be taken down?

    Still, that's life -- once it's out there, it's out there. The lady in the
    • I'm too lazy to look this up right now, but can't you request that archive.org remove your site's content from the archive (assuming it is actually your site)?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by xSquaredAdmin (725927)
        She did request that they did, and they did so. Then she asked them for $100,000 in compensation for copying in the first place. You can read more here [phillipsnizer.com].
        • Ahhh. Thank you. So, does my local cached version of the site constitute a "copy" that I've made? If so, I think this woman finally discovered what the elusive Step 2 is...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Looke (260398)
            Technically speaking, yeah, sure it's a "copy". You don't have the copyright for it, so you're not allowed to re-publish it. That's what Archive.org is doing.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Xtifr (1323)
              Except that the rules are different for libraries and archives, and the Internet Archive is a non-profit, registered member of the American Library Association, primarily funded by the Smithsonian Institution. Libraries routinely make copies for archival purposes (i.e. transferring newspapers to microfiche), and their right to do so is spelled out in the copyright laws. What she's done is the equivalent of putting "Anyone who reads this must pay the author five dollars" at the beginning of a book, then su
  • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:26PM (#18386457)
    She's quite a a firecracker. From http://www.westword.com/2005-02-10/news/beyond-con tempt/ [westword.com]:

    She's been ejected from courtrooms by judges and attacked in a hallway by a convicted child molester she was trying to capture on film. She's been arrested in Wisconsin for refusing to turn over her video equipment to a police officer and detained at the Colorado Springs Airport because she forgot to remove a .380-caliber pistol from her carry-on items.
    • by Diordna (815458) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:57PM (#18386729) Homepage
      Oh, don't worry, there's more on page 2 (emphasis mine):

      In 1974, when Suzanne Shell was seventeen years old, her father punched her in the face...despite being a straight-A student, a cheerleader and a member of the marching band at her Minnesota high school, she was labeled an "out-of-control teenager" and placed in a foster home for her entire senior year...At seventeen, she also gave birth to a daughter that she gave up for adoption.
      I find it interesting how information is used selectively here. She is cast as the victim in the second and third paragraphs, with the standard foster home sob story. She was supposedly a wonderful person, but then we find, buried in parentheses a paragraph later, the bolded text above. Hmm, pregnant...cheerleader...

      It also looks like her own kids reported her for child abuse and went to live with their father, and she's pretty ticked about that.

      She wonders why she's disliked by the court system. Well, the evidence is all over the article:
      • "Every phone call that goes in or out of my house is recorded."
      • She's with the "pro-spanking, home-schooling, families-first forces."
      • "Shell urges her readers not to cooperate with the child-protection system at any level."
      • "If you see a child whom you suspect of being neglected or abused, you probably shouldn't report it...since the kid could be victimized further in foster care."
      • "Tape everything. If it looks like the brutes might try to remove your precious dumplings from the home, hide them. If they snatch Junior anyway, plant a bug in his teddy bear so you can monitor what goes on in the foster home."

      And look how effective she is!

      "I don't think I've ever had a case where she's been involved where we have not ended up terminating parental rights," says Rocco Meconi, Shell's nemesis in Fremont County.
      Heck, this belongs on Fark not Slashdot.
      • Yes, I caught the pregnancy thing, too. Way to slant coverage.

        As I've been doing research related to homeschool laws and homeschooling my daughter, I've become very distrustful of child services overall. In many areas, they ignore the law, tromp all over parental rights (such as illegal search and seizure, due process, etc.), and, unless you can afford litigation, the only way to work with the system is to confess and "cooperate". They seize children or harass parents based on ideological differences and ignore subjects of real abuse. I have also directly seen cases where prejudice leaves children in foster care when close relatives are willing and able to care for children (children mixed race, white relatives). I know a woman who has been in and out of drug rehab and prison for years now and had abusive boyfriends and the system keeps trying to give her kid back to her, but they find time to harass parents who want to give their kids a good education. There are good people in the system, but they are extremely overworked and it doesn't take many zealots to drag things down.

        That being said, Shell is an extremist and a freak who does much more harm than good. There are other advocacy groups who are better organized, less militant, and more effective, such as the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

        Children need to be protected, but parents need to be free to pursue differences in religion, ideology, parental practices, and so forth without reprisal and child protection needs to take children away from abusive drunks and drug addicts, not to mention cut down on abuse in schools (by other children and adults).

    • Slashdotted (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)
      Can someone please republish this site on a mirror?
  • If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search.

    I don't mind if garbage like her site disappears from Google and Archive.org. Not saying that I want this 'opt-in' situation, but I believe that stupid webmasters and perhaps some spammers would be eradicated from the Web if it ever goes that way. Hey, it's a miracle that large search engines don't require us to pay for being crawled!

  • by Splab (574204) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:31PM (#18386521)
    ' If Shell prevails on that count, sites like Google will have to get online publishers to 'opt in' before they can be crawled, radically changing the nature of Web search."'

    No that would only change the nature of the web for US citizens, just like the online internet gamble thingie, the rest of us will shrug and move about our businesses as usual.
  • Statute of Frauds (Score:4, Informative)

    by gravesb (967413) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:32PM (#18386547) Homepage
    I'm not in Colorado, so I don't know their particular statute of frauds, but in general it requires a contract, signed, in writing for things over $500. Since, according to the contract on the bottom, one page is worth $5,000, I would argue they need my signature to imply that I agreed to the contract. Also, basic contract law requires a meeting of the minds and an agreement. There isn't one with a crawler. Finally, I don't think you can eliminate fair use rights in the manner that she is doing. That's a basic part of the law. She's trying to extend copyright in a manner that definitely isn't settled, and may have sufficient precedence against to make this a forgone conclusion. I hope that the judge didn't dismiss the claim so that he can establish some precedent on the matter, showing how stupid it is, and prevent future law suits of the same kind.
  • by Sabotage (21481) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:33PM (#18386553)
    It appears her site is at http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

    Check out this article here: http://www.phillipsnizer.com/library/cases/lib_cas e456.cfm [phillipsnizer.com]

    According to this, she requested that the site be removed from the Archive in December, 2005, and they complied. They're actually countersuing her. They moved to have her claims dropped for various reasons, but the court chose to only drop the ones related to conversion, civil theft and the RICO claims. The issue of breach of contract and copyright infringement still apply.

    I think it's absolutely ridiculous that this can go forward, especially when there are two established methods to stop the Archive's activity: The opt-out, which will remove history, and robots.txt (which she didn't use and appears to still not use), which will prevent that spider from ever archiving her site again.

    Her site shows up in Google, I wonder why she hasn't sued them? Could it be that she likes the exposure of the big search engine, but doesn't want any history of her site archived by the Internet Archive?
  • It's called a robots.txt [robotstxt.org] file, and all reputable webcrawlers/search engines respect it. We don't yet have the technology to read arbitrary exclusion notices posted in English, but we do have a widely used machine-readable standard for requesting that your pages not be indexed. If the person in question was so adamant about her site not being crawled, she should have spent the 5 minutes needed to read up on robots.txt.
  • It seems like a matter of fair use to me. Looking at every web site and making word indexes is almost certainly fair use. But making exact copies and redistributing them is not fair use. She wrote the content, and therefore she owns it. Putting it on the web implicitly gives you the right to look at it, but not to give it to others.

    Potentially, it deprives her of ad-based revenue, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that she owns it and should have something to say about who gets to
    • by Looke (260398)

      Indeed. I hope she wins.

      Archive.org doesn't only crawl and index like a search engine, but it re-publishes other sites' content. Archive.org doesn't only offer one recently cached instance of the site, like proxies and Google's cache, but it publishes a row of snapshots from different times.

      Archive.org is a flagrant breach of copyright, and most certainly should be opt-in. The lady in the story should have a strong case.

      robots.txt is merely a convention. Absence of that file doesn't allow anyone to b

  • Since one has to read the home page of her site to read this "contract notice", the site has already been entered. Thus the contract terms are already invalid. Its not like you are posting a notice on the outside of your house. In order to see the home page, the webserve has to serve up index.html or default.htm. There is no distinction between serving up the home page, which is already on the *inside* of the site, and serving up any other content file on the inside of the site, at least from the top level
  • I'm actually asking. B/c as I see it, this will only effect sites physically located in Colorado. For that matter, even if US federal law made this possible, how would this effect any site outside of the US?

    Seems to me that there's more than just a little bit of hubris going on in the assumption of how far this ruling will reach.
  • Because I don't agree to this:

    --QUOTED IN PART WITH FAIR USE--
    IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT. SEE COPYRIGHT NOTICE & SECURITY AGREEMENT (READ BEFORE ACCESSING THIS WEBSITE) - Copyright 1996- 2007, Suzanne Shell and individual contributors where appropriate. The content if this web site is intended to generate income, it is not free if you intend to archive, copy, print or distribute anything electronically fixed herein.

    Reproduction and distribution
    • I particularly like the place where the site says "Why can't I print this." I clicked through to see what the reason was (they seem to want a pile of money - $5000 - for every page printed since the site is "so valuable"). The claim was that they'd disabled the print and copy functionality on the page, but firefox had no trouble at all producing a print preview page (though their style sheets are broken so it doesn't render correctly). Nor did firefox have any trouble saving a copy. And I had no prob

  • Send her love. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SharpFang (651121)
    dsshell@ix.netcom.com

    wget -r -l0 --delete-after http://www.profane-justice.org/ [profane-justice.org]

  • Big deal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker&gmail,com> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:48PM (#18386675) Journal
    Ok so lets say the judge rules in her favor. Would it be so difficult if robots.txt becomes opt-in. Meaning the no robots.txt equals no spiders. If you want your website on a search engine you have to put in a robots.txt. It would alter the equation for sure, but things would continue working.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @12:53PM (#18386707) Homepage Journal
    Call it, then replay a message including:

    "If you don't agree, say 'NO', otherwise we consider you agree to our contract."
    [short silence]
    "Thank you. You have agreed to our terms and conditions. We will send you the invoice in..."

    (and proceed.)

    Since agreement to her conditions is supposed to be implied by a visit of a second party, human or not, agreement from side of the second party, human or not, containing correct reply (or correct lack of thereof - implied consent like in case of her license) is just as valid legally.
  • Anyone notice.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shaltenn (1031884) <Michael.Santangelo@gmail.com> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:14PM (#18386855) Homepage
    Quoted:

    IF YOU COPY OR DISTRIBUTE ANYTHING ON THIS WEB SITE, YOU ARE ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT. SEE COPYRIGHT NOTICE & SECURITY AGREEMENT (READ BEFORE ACCESSING THIS WEBSITE) - Copyright 1996- 2007, Suzanne Shell and individual contributors where appropriate. The content if this web site is intended to generate income, it is not free if you intend to archive, copy, print or distribute anything electronically fixed herein.

    Which of course implies this is a commercial website.

    However, if you go to the contact info page, we can see her PGP key (...) contains:

    -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

    Version: PGP 8.1 - not licensed for commercial use: www.pgp.com



    GG?
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:26PM (#18386967)
    Lets forget for a second the person suing Internet Archive. Lets also forget the quality of her website and that she may or may not have included a proper robots.txt file.

    Suppose you're a teenager or college student. You do some silly prank and it includes a picture of yourself and your friends. You tell your friend you don't want the picture going on the net. For whatever reason, he/she posts it up anyways. Nothing illegal. Or suppose the names of a doctor's patients were to leak onto the Internet. Or that you're a company and an ex-employee posts information that is defamous or incorrect about your company. Or that you post an angry rant on the net, you've grown past it and then delete from your site. In all cases, wouldn't some or all this information be cached on Google or Internet Archive?

    My point is we're all human. Wether our activities are simpy stupid, embarassing, or could affect a company's ability to do business, some or all of us have said or done some of these things. It could affect our relations and our ability to find work. The problem with the Net is its very easy to find this information and it becomes widespread. We've all embarassed ourselves, at the least. We can sue the person responsible for posting the information. But it is, as I understand, very difficult to have the information removed from caches on search engine and archive sites.

    Rather than sue, sue, sue, shouldn't there be an easier way to remove this information?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by proberts (9821)
      If you act responsibly, then you have nothing to fear. If you don't, why are you so worried about people finding out who the "real" you is? The real problem is people not taking responsibility for their actions.

      If there was an "easier way to remove this information" it'd become the most massive denial of service vector available on the Internet. Unscroupulous individuals would use it to remove information about their competitors or negative information about themselves. Can you imagine the consumer rati
  • i wonder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phoenixwade (997892) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:32PM (#18387025)
    Would it be worthwhile for this to go to court to get a ruling on it? Would there be any application to SLA's? it seems like the crux of this issue is whether or not you can enter into a contract blind by opening the website, or something like that. I also wonder about caching - what about networks (AOL for example) that use a caching system/proxy server to provide more efficient data to their users?

    I suspect a win for the website owner here would turn a lot of the systems we currently use on it's ear.....
  • by NIckGorton (974753) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:01PM (#18387305)
    I can see why she wouldn't want to get indexed. She's basically providing information for people trying to resist intervention from child protective services. She suggests taking your children and hiding them out of state if CPS tries to contact you. She also suggests (and sells an ebook about) teaching your children to never talk to a social worker or answer questions... you know like 'does anyone ever hit you?' and 'what did you have to eat yesterday?' and 'do you have a doctor to go to when you are sick?'

    Of course CPS and child abuse reporting in general is imperfect. I'm an ER physician which makes me a mandated reporter. This means if I simply suspect abuse or neglect, I am required by law to report it. The system is set up to favor false positives over false negatives. That means that CPS investigates many cases for every real abusive situation they find.

    This is NOT a bad thing. There are 1500-2000 reported deaths from child abuse every year in the US. One in twenty kids in the US is physically abused in any given year and most of those victims are under age 6. Most of these cases of abuse never come to the attention of authorities because child abuse is woefully under-reported (which is why we have mandated reporter laws.)

    Most of the instances of 'think of the children' posturing are conservative unthinking crap. However advocating outdated ideas of parental property rights over the rights of children to not be abused goes beyond simple whack-job well into the realm of pure evil.

    Nick
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      She's basically providing information for people trying to resist intervention from child protective services.

      In some places, I think that's entirely appropriate. I might have agreed with you until I watched a friend get accused of sexually abusing his kids by his crackhead ex wife. He's complied with ever detail of the law, and even though no evidence exists against him, he'll still probably not see his kids again unless they decide later in life to contact him.

      Frankly, he would have been in far less

  • by freaker_TuC (7632) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:32PM (#18387625) Homepage Journal
    By visiting this site [profane-justice.org] you can get narcoleptic, get heavy glaucoma or any eye vision impared disease. If you feel nausia, tense chest pains, major headaches, need to vomit or having muscle cramps; CONSULT A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT WAIT!

    This product may cause major disfunctional, anxiety and major electron discombulation inside your brains; DO NOT EXPOSE YOURSELF FOR OVER 5 MINUTES! needless to say this product is disabled of any print and if you are having problems viewing this product it is because we did not get any clue in

    W E E BBB D E S I G NN

    BECAUSE READI NG

    IS

    NOT IMPORTANT

    FOR YOU^H^H^HUS!

    We don't even have a robots.txt [profane-justice.org] online, so you cannot copy it ! HAH!!!

    For any reference, please only look to this website if you are a family member in need of an eye physician soon and in heavy despair of reading through our reading protection then enjoy your stay at our site!
    (*) I cannot believe I posted this under my account ;) soon she will sue me! lady, get a new web interiour designer because ... damn!
  • Preemptive strike (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BillX (307153) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:04PM (#18387953) Homepage
    By this logic, it seems like all the spider would have to do is add its own counter-contract right in the HTTP request.

    GET / HTTP/1.1 By responding to this request, you agree that SpiderCo's Spider does not speak English and, being written only two years ago, is not of legal age (18 in most jurisdictions) to enter a contract. By continuing to serve content in response to this request, you agree that any contracts contained in such content are null and void. Thank you and have a nice day.
    <CR>
    <CR>

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