Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
The Internet

Charging Cash For Links 175

DC2001 sent us the latest internet scare piece running at Wired. This one is about companies charging for the right to link them. Of course so far this is totally unenforcable, since it would render search engines worthless (Google says they have 1,326,920,000 pages- if they had to pay even a penny for the right to have each of these links, my guess is that we'd be back to 1992.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Charging Cash For Links

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look, iCopyright offers a lot more then just html linking, their service is actually quite good and we use them all the time (LA Times mostly). Check out their PDF fulfillments, they take crappy web publishing and put it into a very nice looking document - and there is usually not a charge for it unless you want to make a lot of copies. The html thing, I don't agree with it either but when you think about it, linking to a site is one thing. Linking to published material is another. If you want to use the argument that the internet is free, well that doesn't wash because of all the sites that make you pay for content. The publishers are trying to protect their content. They will make mistakes along the way, but it is a good idea to prevent people from ripping them off and republishing stuff. It is no different then taking a magazine to Kinkos and making a reprint - that is illegal and Kinkos could get busted for doing so. Just because one is on your computer screen and one is a hardcopy doesn't really make a difference. End of rant, Hello
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "grandpa, what's a snake-oil salesman?"

  • Worse, there are articles *I have written* in both the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post archives, and I don't see a penny of that archive/retrieval money.

    The National Writers Union is working on this, though.

    Not that I mind my work being redistributed online like mad - for free. It just galls me that my work is being resold for profit without my permission and with me getting a cut.

    Guess (sigh) I'll have to start keeping my little personal site up to date and posting my freelance stuff on it a few weeks after it appears wherever.

    - Robin

  • ... "throw it on the wall, see what sticks" policies ...

    Yeah, I've heard this sort of thing referred to as a "land grab". The net was started by the DoD. Now all these companies are getting on it, grabbing and sreaming, "mine!" like playground kids. These outfits don't care about the whole concept of the internet in general. They seem to want to turn the internet into a web of billboards.

  • So does this page [] mean I owe them $300?
  • The fewer of these sorts of companies that show up in my search engine, the better. I would love it
    if my browser knew about all of sites run by clueless, greedy vultures and cowardly villains, so it could just refuse to show me any links to them, but failing that, this level of insurance that I will never encounter them is a great first step. In addition, I'd like sites that pay to link to other sites to charge for links to them also.

    I imagine with this sort of thinking, the remaining portion of the WWW will be a pleasure to use.
  • However, I don't believe that is entirely human nature.

    Look at people who do things not for money or competition though the money may be needed in their lives and their projects may certainly be able to earn revenue. People like myself, who run an auction site drains time, energy and patience, has enough members that a pretty good income could be earned, but is completely free. Not only free, but totally advertisement free in every way.

    There are a lot of others who do some much cooler services to the world on the web and don't look to make a killing at it. It's just as much human nature not to exploit as it is to exploit, in my opinion.

    In fact, it isn't specifically that people use the internet (specifically the web) for financial gain. What makes me so upset with these people is that they do so with absolutely no regard for the human element of the web. They're like the adult videostore or strip club that moves into a peaceful neighborhood with lots of small familes and children and nearby schools and churches. Yes, they have every right to make a buck. They have every right to set-up shop. But they do so with such disregard for the other people who are sharing that geography. They couldn't care less that the neighborhood also caters to people just going for a stroll, reading a book in the library across the street, praying in the church a block down, educating children a block up, sipping coffee in the cafe next door...

    The internet isn't just a giant phone book or shopping mall. The internet was built by the people (granted, it was the military and scientific arms that did the work, but they are extensions of the public), not some high-priced contractor hired to create a venue for you to sell your blow-up dolls, get rich quick schemes and As Seen On TV gadgets. There were great people from the very beginning of the internet who have contributed to this and when people abuse things like cashing in on linking or forbidding people fundemental online rights (to use the term very loosely) because to do so would seriously compromise their change to extort a few pennies, is a discredit to everyone.

    Imagine what it would feel like if a neighborhood gathered together to turn an unused lot into a wonderful playground and then it was obliterated to make way for previously mentioned porn shop or strip bar. I can't imagine anything more analogous.

  • Making extra cash is one thing, charging people for nothing is another. A lot of quick start internet companies are looking for ways out of their terminal burn cycle, so the idea that they are going to try and charge anyone for anything they can does not surprise me. Some of it might even work. I think this goes past the money issue though.

    The author does point out that the firms in question could use technology instead of the courts to enforce their policies, why they don't they just do that? Nobody would find out about them! If you can't index and link to their content, how is joe schmoe going to find out about the site? For that matter, how would one gauge the content bias, worth, or truth?

    I think this is about more content control. If you make linking some sort of business transaction, then you probably get by extension some other legal options that you don't have now. Everybody is worried sick about what might get said about them, or the things they produce. You can't put a positive spin on a lame choice on the net without people seeing it for what it is. Slick marketing is no match for word of mouth when it happens as fast as it does on the internet.

    What if just the address is listed like on the 2600 page? Here is their copyright notice You can still get it, the address is still of use, and some software will interpet the above text as a link anyway, and save you the trouble of copying it into an address window.

    Sombody needs to write something that can be used to automatically process the above text into a browser, infact make that a filter on the browser content so that it is seen as a link anyway.

    Anybody that pays for those links is paying for nothing.

  • This only works if you are trying to "protect" information of little value. Because if it's worth going after, I will write a script or program which looks exactly like a valid browser to your little script. Referrer and all. People have got to realize that neither end of the HTTP transaction has any control over the other end, and that either end can lie its sool head off without detection.

    Yes, it's not hard to fake to referer information (a friend of mine did exactly that to get information from an online database). But do you really think Microsoft would have done that if Ticketmaster had employed this trick on their website? And I don't think Slashdot nor any "important" site would fake the referer information.
    Besides, most people don't even know how to get around these things.

  • Links in one way or another have existed for a long time, not just on the Internet but also on paper in the form of references.
    But the difference with links on the Internet is that you can easily prevent others from linking to a page on your site. You don't laws to do this, you just use the already available technology to do it.
    By utilizing the "refferal" information you can prevent anyone from linking to a given page on your website. You just need to create a little script that checks whether the person arrived at the given page from another page on your website (or from a page on a website that has permission to deep-link to your site).
    If instead someone arrived at a page on your site by following a link from some other site, you could easily send him to the frontpage of your site.
    The law isn't the biggest threat to fair use. Technology is.
  • yah like lets all start using gopher and veronica again!
    Here's a useful link [].
  • Ok guys....lets try this.

    "State Takes Newborn Who Had Cocaine in System" htm []

    Try and bill me people.

    -Julius X
  • According to that, all of you people who were stupid (or brave) enough to make links can be held legally reponsible and thus it would be ya'll who would have to pay that fine of $50.00

    Yes, people are responsible for what they do. And No, they don't have to pay $50 unless they agree to a contract that stipulates that $50 payment. It's just like how you're not bound by the terms of a EULA unless you choose to accept the terms. Just because someone says something, that doesn't make it so. Copyright law doesn't grant the copyright owner godlike powers over whoever reads or uses the copywritten material.

  • That's because this isn't a copyright issue; it's a service issue.

    My wildly speculative guess is this: the whole story has been misinterpreted. The $50 doesn't get you permission to link. Rather, it buys you some kind of guarantee that the URL will work instead of someday unpredictably giving a 404.

  • Now if only I could Slashdot Amazon's 'one-click' system.

    you've clearly lost control of this "slashdot effect" that you've patented, and the patent is therefore unenforcable. so nyah nyah.
  • Duh - to make money!!
  • Yeah, that's right. Just as, in real life, a private citizen would need to purchase the back issue of the magazine or periodical in order to read it.

    But it's they (the newspaper) and not he (the linker) who are providing the content for free. If they want to charge to access their page, that's fine and dandy... it's their responsibility to collect, though.

  • Correcting myself:

    I thought we were still talking about charging for links, but I see that this thread is about charging for back issues.

    Pardon me while I go learn to read.

  • my guess is that we'd be back to 1992.
    Would that be so bad? ;)
  • 99% of browsers show you the destination sites name when you float the mouse over the link (except the tacky sites that make pathetic attempts to hide the href with javascript.) Effectively 100% of browsers show you the name of the site you're at, ALL THE TIME, on the screen (e.g. I can see very clearly I'm on slashdot.) So if you were on and are now at, you can see it, it is in no way hidden from the user at all.

    Moreover, even the vast majority of technically illiterate web surfers understand this incredibly basic point - you cannot possibly even attempt to argue that most people would not be able to realise that. Sorry, if a lawyer attempts to argue that people aren't capable of figuring out which site they're visiting, he/she is delivering one enormous collective insult to the intelligences of many people. If MS had embedded the ticket-master stuff (e.g. the way might show a web site) or stuck the ticketmaster pages inside frames, then perhaps they can be shown to have made a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that people were at ticketmasters site. But then that would be a totally different issue from mere hyperlinks. The address bar is a pretty fundamental notion in a web-browser, not some advanced thing that only technical type of people understand.

    A hyperlink is a URL and is nothing like a quote, neither legally, nor in any other frame of perception of reality. A hyperlink is like a reference in a book (remember those "bibliography"/"references" sections in dead-tree books?) These are not illegal, and are certainly not copyright violations.

    No type of hyperlink can be a copyright infringement, since a URL cannot be copyrighted. A URL is equivalent to a book name and author name, or perhaps its ISBN number. And deep-linking is something totally different - that's like copying a chunk of somebody elses work in amongst your own work, which would probably be more like the MS/ticketmaster case.

  • You're not aiding a crime unless you know I was doing something illegal. Now, if you had an account on that system, (for, say, $50 a month), and you gave me your password, and login name, THAT might be illegal.
  • A hyperlink is nothing like a quote. It can be a reference to a quote, though.

    A hyperlink is essentially just a pointer to more information. It merely tells where something resides. And that is NOT copywriteable information.
  • was forced to take down their hyperlinks and replace them with text URLs.
    The solution to this one is easy -- have the web browser subsitute a hyperlink for the text URL when it renders the page...

    That's all we need: more browser bloat!
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • They're like the adult videostore or strip club that moves into a peaceful neighborhood with lots of small familes and children and nearby schools and churches. Yes, they have every right to make a buck. They have every right to set-up shop. But they do so with such disregard for the other people
    And that adult videostore or strip club has the right to go out of business when their clientele stops going to that business because they would rather go to a nearby adult videostore or strip club instead of having to drive to the suburbs for their porn fix...
    Imagine what it would feel like if a neighborhood gathered together to turn an unused lot into a wonderful playground and then it was obliterated to make way for previously mentioned porn shop or strip bar.
    That is the Capitalistic Golden Rule in action (i.e., he who has the gold rules). Besides, there is nothing stopping those residents from selling their houses and moving to a better neighborhood if that porn shop or strip bar bothers them so much...
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    You're at the wrong site, try :)
  • The suits suck ass...what else is new?
  • I have to disagree with you both. To directly quote I would open the page in Netscape composer and cut and paste their material. With borders indicating where there stuff starts and mine starts, of course. That would be a direct quote. A hyperlink is different from the text...but not by damn much. It isn't a quote because the content changes in time. If I quote david letterman its static. If i train a parabolic mike on his ass while he is in public then thats not a "quote" thats "live".
  • Ok, but what if I give you the URL to a research database of Journals? They usually charge decent money for the right to access their databases. Having merely given you the URL I haven't violated their database, just exercised free speech. Ah but if you choose to make use of the information I gave you then you are, and haven't I just aided and abetted your crime? Isn't aiding and abetting still a crime in and of itself?
  • When you put up a link, it's as if you are including part of their web site in yours.

    No. It's not.

    To mangle an old Zen saying, "A finger pointing at the moon does not include part of the moon."

    I'm betting you click on ads on sites you reguarly visit far more often.
    Actually I don't click on ads. Ever. At all. Rarely ever even see them thank to Junkbuster.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • It just galls me that my work is being resold for profit without my permission and with me getting a cut.
    Yow! How do they get away with this - are they claiming that somehow the rights you originally sold them include on-line pay-per-read publication?

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • Perhaps I should explain my reasoning on why a link is like a quote.

    If I place a site's URL in my website but do not make the reference a hyperlink then clearly I am only doing what bibliographers have been doing for centuries.

    However, when I turn the URL into a hyperlink I am then making the actual content of the URL appear inside my web application. The hyperlink is more than just the ASCII text of the URL, such as one might find in a printed bibliography.

    Several posters noted that if a hyperlink is placed inside an HTML frame then the address bar will not change after the user clicks on the link, so the user may not know she is at a different site.

    In addition, it is fairly common for users to run the browsers in Full Screen mode, in which case the user will not see any address bar.

    Lastly, I would mention that the XLink XML Linking Language [] can make the distinction between a hyperlink and a quote irrelevant, since web sites will be able to link to specific portions of other HTML pages without the pages needing to contain anchors or other special tags.

  • if this were to preclude search engines? (how %90 of anything on the web is found). oh by the way could you please shoot out any chance of someone finding my site?
  • So did Wired pay for the link too?
  • They are not 'charging for the right to link them', but charging for the right to link to their articles.

    At the moment we have sites that don't allow linking by using changing urls like,1002450,303,5029,3025.html where the stupid number changes every week or something. Other sites have meta commands that stop search engines indexing them.

    All that has changed is that you can pay them to keep their stupid URL constant for however long if you want to link to them.

  • Oh my! You are such geniuses!!! Who would have ever though to charge for a hyperlink!!! I hope you patented your idea, someone is sure to steal it! After all, with all the .com failures how is anyone supposed to make money off the net??? Charge for hyperlinks that's how! ha ha! Oh by the way, how much did you pay for that web server you're running? Perhaps they should change the Apache License to include a clause that requires you to give 98% of your profits to the ASF if you use their software to do something so ridiculously stupid.
  • Don't link to them. If companies don't get the hits they need, they will change their tune. If nobody pay to link to a site, like say ?.com, then that site has few chances of people going to it. It doesn't make much senses financially. Thats like Sears charging an entrance fee to into there store. People just won't go in.
    Personally, I think this is in retalliatiion to the search engines charging for a better position in search results. Maybe these two ideas will cancel each other out.
  • That's actually a quite interesting issue.

    1. Yes, comments are theoretically owned by the poster -- it says so at the bottom of the page. That's why there was such a storm when /. wanted to publish "voices from the hellmouth"; at first, they didn't actually ask each individual poster for permission. This, IMHO, is an example of pedantism getting in the way of what's right (others may disagree, of course). The other side of the issue is that if slashdot claims to own copyright, they technically can be held liable for inappropriate and/or copyrighted material posted on the site (like the deCSS code or M$-kerberos)

    2. That's a very good question. Remember the DVD case? was forced to take down their hyperlinks and replace them with text URLs. Will the insanity never end?
  • IANAL, but I would think that they can't own a copyright on something you said. So you might as well just quote yourself on your web page.

    Also, I would think that you should have the right to freely state what someone else has said about you.

    If I said you were an idiot then copyrighted what I said, does that mean that you can't tell everyone that I think you're an idiot? How ludicrous!!!

  • it would aper that peoples brains have reverted to prehistoric dinosour proportions.

    the whole point of the web is FREELY LINKING RELATED CONTENT. charging for links totally destroys the whole point of its usefullness

    that gopher mainifesto from a few weeks back seems to make more and more sence as the weeks go on
  • Ticketmaster lost.

    The linking is allowed. Ticketmaster does not have to make it easy to link to though.
  • Is that like fast forwarding through commercials while taping?

    God the doubletalk:noise:signal is high today about 1 googol:2:1
  • They are for real... very real.
  • 70 years from now, when my grandson is a History teacher, I believe that the Internet will be described in his class in exactly these terms:

    ". . . an Internet user of the year 2000 posted a message, which summed up very concisely what most Internet users of the time were probably feeling:
    Personally, I'm sick and tired of the bullshit that 'businessmen' have brought to the internet. I've never seen such greed, selfishness and complete lack of awareness. 95% of them have the ethics of a snake-oil salesman. --
    Drop into town, screw everyone over, use up all the resources to push your product, and leave witht he moola, onto the next town/resource that you can extort. "

  • People logging on to may see this welcome message []:

    Webmasters and Web Sites may not link to files in this archive
    (FTP.CDROM.COM) without prior written permission by Digital River, Inc.
    If you are interested in linking to files in this archive, please send
    an e-mail to for details. Digital River, Inc.
    reserves the right to seek compensation for unauthorized use.

    This sounds especially bad since they are the primary archive for FreeBSD!

  • If you can't cost-justify giving free access to your website, then there are ways to make people pay for access.

    The dot-com graveyard is full of companies that couldn't really afford to do what they were doing for free, but couldn't get people to pay. That's just tough. Would you pay for access to Slashdot? If not, prepare for it to go away (unless its ad revenue sustains it). We'd all miss it, but it wouldn't be our fault that Cmdr. Taco et al gave away free access to it. That was their choice, their plan and we were happy to soak up their precious resources while they lasted.

    Or are you a "freeloader" posting here?

  • ...pre-emptively submit the death of to FuckedCompany []. $1.6M in funding? 66 employees? I give them until 3Q2001... maybe 1Q2002, if they're frugal.
    • Uhhhhhhh I believe the article said 12 mill not 1.6 mill
    My bad. Push out my estimate a quarter.
  • "If there are any marketing or advertising people in the audience... kill yourselves."

    Jay (=
  • T []he whole [] thing [] seems [] silly [] to [] me []
  • Of all the crackpot notions that have been conceived lately this one sure is silly. Now I can understand this concept to a point, you got into a business to make money and this seems like it is a lucrative proposition. The only problem is you're asking referal companies (read web portal) to give you money for the privilage of linking to the content on your precious web server. If you make it an exclusive thing vis a vis only allowing deep hits from paying referal sites (in the case of a deep link) you're effectively reducing your traffic to a fraction of what it would be otherwise. Referal companies like Yahoo! don't make alot of money per page as it is and then you go and ask them to give a portion of that to you. Right. A better solution would be to put more targetted advertising on your deep linked page. Someone links from a competitor and you run an ad of how much better your Star Bellied sneeches are compared to their Plain Bellied sneeches; if someone comes from yahoo's business section you run a Datak ad or some such. This method allows you to charge more money because you've giving the ads better placement. Man next thing you know some jackass will try to collect money from everyone using .gif files.
  • NPR's website [] has this little scrap of copy on their home page. There was a story involving them here a few somethings ago, and i noticed it:

    Linking to or framing of any material on this site without the prior written consent of NPR is prohibited. To ask about linking rights, contact:

    I asked about my "rights", but haven't seen a response yet

  • That's a bit of a self-centered outlook, isn't it?

    Great, you and your other top 0.5% cohorts get around the precious content protection. Good for you. Do you think that 0.5% represents any obstacle at all to those media companies who want to restrict access?

    Kevin Fox
  • It seems to me that the people pushing for this sort of system not only don't understand the technology, the also seem not to understand how people function. Firstly, this is like telling everybody who subscribes to a newspaper (including libraries...) that they have to pay extra if they tell a friend to go look at an article on page 5. It's neither enforcable, or logical. Everybody who is talking about how new technologies allow pay-as-you-go metered access to everything are failing to realize that older technologies allowed that too, but nobody bought them, so they faded away. People will pay for entertainment, but not for information. Businesses will pay for the minimum set of things they have to, but if given a less expensive option, they will take it.
  • I've said it here before... If you don't want it on the web don't put it there!!!!

    Common sense. The last time I had to point out this rediculously simple concept was about portscanning. If you don't want your box port scanned don't put it on the net. If you don't want your website hit or linked to then don't put it on the net.

    As far as I knew the internet was pretty much "public". If you only want certain people to get to your site there are many other ways.

    The whole beauty of the web was the links (yes i know about gopher). That's what the big draw was and is.

  • IANAL, but I would think that they can't own a copyright on something you said. So you might as well just quote yourself on your web page.

    Oh, I could, but there would be a definte coolness factor in linking from my vanity page [] to press coverage about stuff I've done. (Especially when one article has a big photo of me.) It would also be neat to link to coverage about my family and friends. It would probably even drive a few hits their way, making them more than a buck fifty they want to charge to retrieve the stories - certainly it would make them more then the non-link is making them now.

    It just shows that many "old-media" companies are completely clueless when it comes to how the web works.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • It doesn't make sense to charge for a link to a free, public page. This would reduce links to the site and reduce ad revenue. I used to work for a banner ad software company, RealMedia, Inc. Companies don't charge by just click-through. It is now believed that just seeing the ads has an effect and thus should be charged for. Links increase page views, and page views increase ad revenue. This scheme will only backfire and reduce ad revenue as sites decide not to link when threatened. Since they don't link, there will not be any link revenue to compensate. This is just a dumb idea.
  • "I want to put up a web site but I don't want any traffic on it." What!? If you don't want traffic, make the site secure. Simple. Your argument could be applied to almost anything. If a tv show uses a beverage, which causes people to go out and buy the beverage, which causes the beverage company to spend more money making the beverage, should they sue the tv show? If you business model is such that growth means negative earnings growth, then you shouldn't be in business.
  • $$$$

    Which is worse...that they are trying to charge for linking to a public page, that there is a company whose whole business revolves around this, or that other companies are actually paying for it? It seems that the larger the net gets, the lower the average IQ of a net business gets. I guess they figure link revenue can make up for lost .com banner advertising? I really don't understand who would back these plans. What VC actually funded this? You would think that with the .com shakeout VCs would be more carefull about where they put their money. I guess not. Next they will charge you for linking to a site that links to their site. Then search engines will have to pay infinite amounts of money...

  • Every time someone hits a website, said website has to expend some resources. They have to send the information down the wire to your computer. This is not free.

    If they don't want people to read their material, then why bother with the web at all?

  • Wow, looks like the one person who still finds that funny had moderation points.
    Obfuscated e-mail addresses won't stop sadistic 12-year-old ACs.
  • .

    These guys are in violation of my patent!


  • Actually, most parents keep an eye on 7-year-old children who go outside, or go with them, depending on the environment. (If you intentionally let a 7-year-old child wander around unsupervised in a potentiall harmful environment, that's called *neglect* and it's illegal. Everybody knows 7-year-old children can't protect themselves. If you don't have time to protect kids, then don't screw, or use protection -- shut up and stop complaining because _you_ made a mistake.)
    So if you don't want traffic, then maybe you should get your site a "parent": set up a firewall - block out any IP's you don't want to access your site, or block by Referer. It *really is* that simple!

  • I tried giving the local baby bell (Qwest) hell for wanting to actually charge me to have my number unlisted. I personally think numbers should be unlisted by default.

    Then again, this is the same company that sells your brand-new number to telemarketers and has the balls to launch a telemarketer-blocking service for like $10/month.
  • Next, you'll have companies filing lawsuits against Andover because of the Slashdot effect

    And if they do - they'll have to pay me royalties, seeing as how I've patented the 'Slashdot Effect' and will from this point on enforce each instance of it.

    Now if only I could Slashdot Amazon's 'one-click' system.

  • If they don't want people using the site, why have it up at all? If they don't want somebody linking to it, tough titties. That's the way the web works..

    If they really wanted to, they could block people by who refered them, since it's in the logs.

  • Can you say retarded? Hi I own a website and I want to make absolutely sure that no one uses the name in their websites because I came up with that idea and if anyone uses it I will sue them! Hmmmm I wonder why no one comes to my website anymore... oh well no one is hurting my good name.....

    Feel free to link to my web site anytime:

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • I already have it patented.

  • ... it seems a new business opportunity (by reading this you agree to pay me 50% of your revenue for using it) is a site that links to these sites, then everyone else can link to you for a reduced fee -- I pay $50 and a 100 sites like /., Wired, CNN, etc. pay me $1 each to link to my page that redirects to the original page :)

  • Yeah, did you check out the iCopyright.Com [] site?

    They seem to be a company that will let you obtain a reuse license. Check Here for an article that has this thing active, and at the bottom there is a []link [] to the site.

    This smells fishy......

  • I don't agree. If they have a website, and put content up there for free, then they should EXPECT that some people will link to articles, or what you call freeloading.

    If they are concerned about their content, perhaps requiring someone to LOGIN or CREATE an account might be the answer. Like what the New York Times does......

  • Hey if they want to charge for linking to thier content let them. In the end the only ones they will hurt are themselves. Search engines and indexes won't list them if they have to pay for including them in searches. Eventually the sites that charge for the link will cause thier own extinction. If anything, they should pay those who link to them for generating the additional traffic, page views, banner exposures etc.

  • reaction of the "suits" to other people utilizing their content to build websites. For instance, I run a website called It is a home-repair/improvement website. We've spent an enormous amount of time/money building content. In this market segment (and probably many others), there are many websites that are just a collection of links surrounded by a collection of sponsorship/affilliate logos and programs. Many frame the linked content in and essentially build their sites from other people's hard work. "OH OH!!, you get the traffic!!", you say. It's worthless traffic. In order to get a good content site going you *do* need traffic but repeat traffic is crucial to retail sales and other revenue streams. If the people looking at your content are never exposed to these opportunities, that piddling little bit of traffic doesn't much help. Therefore, I can see where managers that don't deal with the nitty-gritty of the web would sign up for stuff like this but it *is* crazy. For the most part, it's not even worth bitching about unless people are stealing your stuff lock stock and barrel.
  • Link to -- $8.
    Link to Albuquerque Journal -- $50.
    Slashdot effect from link to icopyright server -- priceless.


    What kid ever said, "When I grow up, I want to be the guy who sits next to the pilot"?

  • Of "throw it on the wall, see what sticks" policies in the "New Economy". So what if it's totally unenforcable and utterly against the whole concept of the internet in general? If this doesn't work, they just go back to the way things were. If it does, they're "innvovators".

    The ironic thing is, does anybody really care about the content of the Albuquerque Jornal? No offense intended to those of you in New Mexico, but this is hardly one of my major sources of news.
  • there is breakforce and ignorance in this.

    You know anyone who would be interested in information at a cost when someone will likely steal it and post it for free... If we can't get a handle on mp3's how will we get one on vaporwrite?

  • "Note: linked-to content is not guaranteed to be hosted by the Web site owner for any specific length of time;"

    IOW, they will probably change the link locations if they find enough hits coming from hosts who didn't pay, and the people who actually did pay for the priviledge of giving directions will be SOL. I wonder how long they will be making money off this if they have to keep changing links to foil rogue deep-linkers, and how long it will take those paying to realize the stupidity of this when their own links no longer work, and the TOS they agreed to says they can go get bent.

    So...anyone have some links for me? I feel like researching some :^)

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • then isn't the solution also?

    They use technical means to prevent deep linking. Can't the browser just tell it the refering page is the root domain? ie say the you were referred by and not slashdot. Seems easy enough. Or maybe a right-click option "Open with alternate referring link."

    Anyone want to try it out? there's no reason our browsers have to play the game any nicer than their servers do...

  • The only instance of linking that would make this statement
    When you put up a link, it's as if you are including part of their web site in yours
    true is a certain type of deep linking, where you grab someone else's content, put it your frameset, and make it seem as if it's coming from your website ( is like this). The Wired news article links to Gigalaw, but clearly is not trying to make Gigalaw's site appear as if it's part of Wired's site.

    Saying that someone is "freeloading" when they follow a link to a story is ridiculous. How on earth would a site gain regular readers if they refused to allow occasional readers to discover the site?

  • Many frame the linked content in and essentially build their sites from other people's hard work

    That's easy to defend from. Just add a Javascript frame-buster which automatically pops you out of the other person's frames.

  • The problem with places like ABQ Journal [] demanding money for []linking [] to [] their stories is that the internet is a BIG place where you can hide all sorts of things []

    Note, a look for "decss source code" brings back as the FIRST LINK the previous link. Good job RIAA, keep up the good work.

  • This argument is pretty much invalid. A 'link' in and of itself is not content. It is the same thing as publishing a phone number or printing an address.

    All political crap aside, the web was built around the idea of 'free information exchange'. Thus, hyperlinks have no built in controls. (And I'll personally beat the ass of the first person who suggests a new type of link). Perhaps people who want to charge for their web content should do it in a semi-private place, such as AOL's user-only pages.

    Now wouldn't that be incredibly cool? If all the big-time corporations took their petty little squabbles over intellectual property and 'web-patents', etc... to reside soley on AOL and MSN, it would leave the 'real' web free for the rest of us who care about personal freedoms and the exchange of information.
  • If the Journal and iCopyright can find people willing to pay $50 for a link, I say - let 'em collect.

    Of course it's unenforceable. But until I see the Journal, or any other publisher, going after linkers who don't pay, I'm not gonna complain. Heck, I probably won't say a word even then, 'cause the courts will slap down [] that for me.

    I move to consider this nothing more than a step toward the voluntary payment system [] for Internet content that some have advocated.

  • Hey fellas did you read that small print? The one that says:

    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.

    According to that, all of you people who were stupid (or brave) enough to make links can be held legally reponsible and thus it would be ya'll who would have to pay that fine of $50.00. Considering that a really good lawyer could force slashdot to hand over the information regarding your account (i.e. your name) then Albuquerque Journal could charge ya'll with the fine. Of course, if ya'll resist then I suppose Albuquerque Journal could go further and actually bring charges against ya'll. Think of the combine cost of lawyer fees, court fees, and the original fine. But then again ya'll could get a judge to throw out the 'hole entire thing as a "frivous case".

    Project: To Take Over The World
  • If you read the description, they don't charge for links. If you register a link, they guarantee that the content stays at that linked site for some time. Most sites have lots of dead links. If you don't want the link to go dead you can pay to guarantee that. If you don't care, just link to them and take your chances. Companies don't like dead links on their websites (especially to articles that say nice things about them) so they are willing to pay to make sure the article stays in place. Simply put - you can link to whatever URL you want. It is just a question of whether there is something at the other end.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:40AM (#1421914) Homepage
    Given the history of competition vs collaboration, I can sadly predict that the internet will be dismantled by 2005 by the same people who want you to pay for even having seen "Gone with the Wind" and for everytime you think of seeing last years superbowl. Notice how its no longer the"inter" net. Its the "net.

    Face it, the people who stupidly shout into the night and charge for what they're shouting have absolutely no incentive for shutting up.

    They'll shout at the politicians who'll screw us all over for a dollar so they can get run to try to get re-elected.

    I have seen the future and its all reruns (pure gravy for the network who charge for every site that store 'em,) delivered from sites which charge a fee for every download. You will be able to watch "Gilligan's Island," for a price of course, until the alternative becomes attractive.

    The internet, the grand experiment, is going to Hell. Venality and cupidity ally with stupidity to blow down the walls of Jerico and to smear the tracks to the New Jerusalem.

    Soddom wins. Replay at 11:15, 12:15, 1:15 etc. and over the 'net when ever you pay to want to watch yesterday's news.
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:59AM (#1421915) Homepage
    Of course so far this is totally unenforcable, since it would render search engines worthless

    I'm not sure what CmdrTaco meant to say, but the above makes no sense. Whether linkfees make search engines worthless or not has nothing to do with whether they are enforcable.

    As for enforcing a linkfee policy, that's easy. A small script on the server checks the referrer URL against a list of valid 'subscriber' URLs and pushes up content or an error message depending on the result. This is trivial.

    The idea seems disgusting en-masse, but I could see several areas where referrer-verifying would be a valid technology. Some sites already use it to prevent deep-linking to content from an external site, and it's no huge leap to see that some sites wold be willing to grant deep-linking rights for a fee.

    Kevin Fox
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @08:55AM (#1421916) Homepage

    The Albuquerque Journal charges $50 for the right to link to each of its articles. and are more generous, and permit one to five links without payment.
    I don't understand "news organizations" that try to charge for back articles. The San Jose Mercury, for instance, puts all of its older (by a few weeks) articles into a $1.50/article "service." It's like they don't want people to use them for research; as if they don't want to keep selling those banner ads; and don't want to used for or featured in research.

    Totally clueless.

  • by SmileyBen ( 56580 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:43AM (#1421917) Homepage
    Oh this is ridiculous. The article quotes someone as saying 'Such links have been common online for years' or something like that, but the fact is they've been about a lot longer. You can't charge someone if they give a reference to another article in, for example, a scientific journal, and this is no different. The reason they give the name and publisher of an article is because they don't have a way to directly allow you to see the article quickly.

    But presumably linking is different, because you just click, and there the article is. So can you just quote the reference (name and publisher - i.e. domain), or the URL, so long as it's not a hyperlink? I can't see how making people copy and paste protects their articles, it just makes fewer people read them!

    Presumably names and publishers of articles are taken to be public domain, because you can't copyright a book title and publisher in such a way to prevent anyone referring to it (or selling it!) without your permission. And anyway, most copyright acts (certainly the UK one) specifically allows limited quotation...

    Oh this is too stupid for words... So I've said rather too many!
  • by jonathansamuel ( 59294 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:06AM (#1421918) Homepage
    This is a fair use issue. Is the linker unfairly taking credit for work not his own? For instance, if I say, read this great article I wrote and then link to Commander Taco's essay on honeybuns, then I may be stealing Commander Taco's estimable work as my own.

    There was a case several years ago in which, as I recall, Ticketmaster complained that Microsoft was burying Ticketmaster content pages deep in the Microsoft site.

    Ticketmaster claimed that its content was losing its identity buried deep in a Microsoft web application, and that furthermore Ticketmaster wanted people to navigate to the content by first visiting the main Ticketmaster web page.

    I don't remember how the case turned out, but Ticketmaster's case had some merit. One criteria might be whether the linked to material is clearly identified as external, and the owner of the material is identified in the text of the hyperlink.

    Legally, a hyperlink is probably similar to a quote. I can usually quote David Letterman without his permission and not violate his copyright, but there are certain circumstances where I cannot quote him without paying him.

    It is possible that occasionally some types of links are in fact a copyright infringement.
  • by Fjord ( 99230 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:42AM (#1421919) Homepage Journal
    It's not only possible, but easy to enforce this by dynamically checking the referer and deciding if it is a paying partner. If you are that worried about deep linking, then your robots.txt file will exclude that content anyways (if you are link most sites, you will let the robot index the site, and then not allow regular users in. You'd be surprised what you can get into by setting your user agent to "Googlebot/2.1" or even better "Mercator-2.0" since some sites won't let Google on because of the view cache feature).
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @08:59AM (#1421920)
    Facts cannot be copyrighted or owned. Publishing a URL is no different than publishing directions to a gas station, a list of phone numbers, book titles and stores that they can be bought in or reviews of meals at restaurants.

    Personally, I'm sick and tired of the bullshit that 'businessmen' have brought to the internet. I've never seen such greed, selfishness and complete lack of awareness. 95% of them have the ethics of a snake-oil salesman. -- Drop into town, screw everyone over, use up all the resources to push your product, and leave witht he moola, onto the next town/resource that you can extort.

  • by sargon ( 14799 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:05AM (#1421921)
    The Albuquerque News was unaware of the $50 fee, as it had contracted the service out to someone else. It is this someone else (iCopyright) who is charging the fee. The Albuquerque News isn't sure if iCopyright's license is even enforceable.

    What concerns me is this latest example of a blind grab for money in the light of questionable legalities. The Internet has become nothing more than another medium for questionable get-rich-quick schemes, many of which, unfortunately, are working and making lots of money for someone.

  • by geophile ( 16995 ) <jao@geoph i l> on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:09AM (#1421922) Homepage
    Hey, can I charge Switchboard for listing my phone number? Mapquest for listing my address?
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @08:57AM (#1421923)
    Let them charge to their heart's content.

    Just don't link to them. Then we'll have a de facto partition of the net into a commercial net and a non-commercial net (you know, like the one we had a couple of years ago).

  • I don't understand "news organizations" that try to charge for back articles. The San Jose Mercury, for instance, puts all of its older (by a few weeks) articles into a $1.50/article "service."
    The Baltimore Sun does the same thing, which pisses me off because I'd like to link to two articles that quoted me (one about the first UMCP robotics competition, one about OLGA). What, I give you some of mine time to help you prepare an article and you want to charge me a buck fifty to access it? Well, fsck you too.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • by G Neric ( 176742 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:27AM (#1421925)
    reminds me of a funny story I heard in the early days of the big internet boom. A guy I knew at ZDNet went to a meeting with one of the search-engine-except-we're-a-portal-now companies and they went through a whole entire meeting with a half dozen people from each side discussing and negotiating, traffic, price, etc. Only at the very end of the meeting did they discover that each side of the table expected the other side to pay them :)
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:04AM (#1421926)
    I have decided to charge the phone company money to list my name and number in the phone book. I have also decided to charge anyone who wants to print my address in any directory or listing. Furthermore, footnotes that use the titles of books I've written must pay a $50 fee for mentioning my book and probably an additional license fee for verbatim quotes of any size, above and beyond the right to mention my book.

    There are technological means to prevent anyone anywhere from accessing any page within your web site directory hierarchy without going through the front page or any other hoop you want them to jump through. So they should be used, if an innaccessible site is the desired result. Check the NY Times for a great example of this.
  • by the red pen ( 3138 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:06AM (#1421927)
    • When you put up a link, it's as if you are including part of their web site in yours.
    No, it's not "as if you are including part of their web site in yours." It's not including anything on their website unless you actually copy part of their website to add context to the link. This copying may already be permissable under "Fair Use" provisions in US copyright law, as well.

    Putting up a publically-accessable web page is like leaving an infinite supply of leaflets in a stack somewhere. You may make money by putting ads on the leaflets. If I tell someone "hey, there's a leaflet about Foo and you can find it in a pile on the corner of Bar Lane and Baz Avenue," I owe you nothing. In fact, if you gain revenue by distributing leaflets, I've done you a favor.

    If the leaflets are for "paying customers only" it's your job to make those customers pay -- not mine.

  • by MostlyHarmless ( 75501 ) <artdent@f r e e s h e l l . org> on Thursday December 28, 2000 @08:57AM (#1421928)
    Of course slashdot posted this article -- they have a vested interest in seeing this scheme fail.


    Because they [] now [] owe [] the albequerque journal $150.00 :-)
  • by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:25AM (#1421929) Homepage
    They use the services of iCopyright []

    From their FAQ:
    Q: Does try to police how people are using copyrighted content?
    A: No. operates on an honor system. We serve the needs and interests of publishers, content owners, and customers by providing a way for them to do business in a legal, friction-free manner.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde