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BlueWolf's Howl

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July 15, 2002

To link or not to link?

I’m pleasantly surprised that NPR has updated their policy regarding links to their site. The present Terms Of Use page (updated June 27, 2002) now claims to permit and encourage links to content displayed on their site.

Wise move. Let’s permit what we can’t stop or control and look like we know what we’re doing. Hey, I told you there was intelligent life on this planet.

If you read through the page, you’ll see that it now reflects real and enforceable copyright compliant guidelines. You can’t take their stuff and claim it as your own. You can’t hide their content inside a frame and give the appearance that their content is yours. You can, however, provide a link to their page or content that sends the web surfer to their pages. This is much better than the ineffectual decree that permission must be obtained to link to any of their pages. They finally realized that they were receiving the benefit of free publicity. Kudos!

On the other hand, I ran across an article in Business 2.0 called Hollywood vs. High-Tech. In this article it talks about how Fox and Disney are waving a copyright flag to control technology. It was summed up for me when they wrote:

It is also dawning on hardware makers that products designed to frustrate pirates may not give legitimate customers much pleasure either. "Suppose I use my personal computer now to create a playlist and burn music onto a CD," Grove posits. "Suppose in three years, the only PCs on the market won't allow me to do that? What is my incentive to buy a new computer?" Would such a device even be a computer? Many users see the ability to send content, or to recombine or customize it, as one of the basic reasons to have a PC in the first place. From Hollywood's perspective, some tech people wryly observe, the ideal PC would be a souped-up TV set, with ads and programs doled out by the same handful of media giants that control TV today, and the interactivity limited to buying things from them.

A shiver went up my spine when I read that. [*rocking back and forth, chanting* “we must compute on computers”] Then, when I went to find the article online (I originally ran across the magazine in the laundry room), I stumbled across this article on blogging. The first page mostly focuses on “warblogs,” but seems to be a pretty thorough article.

Now look at copyright again. If the copyright Nazis have their way, the person who bought that magazine would not be allowed to leave it in the laundry room for others to read (for free). This is supposedly is cutting into their sales. I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t even think about looking at a business magazine. I certainly wouldn’t have realized that such a named magazine would have articles of interest to someone in the technology sector. What a pleasant find! I’ve bookmarked the site and will undoubtedly return (at least to finish reading the blogging article). Even if I don’t subscribe to the magazine and simply read the free articles on their site – it’s still a visit. More visits mean more money for the advertising space on their site. Hmmm…they’re STILL making money. And if this happened to someone with a higher profile blog…well, they’d more than make back the price of that issue.

There was an old saying, “Penny wise, Pound foolish.” Get with the program Fox and Disney!

Posted by BlueWolf on July 15, 2002 06:59 AM