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Re: annotation review

From: Rolf H. Nelson <rnelson@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 17:03:18 -0500
Message-Id: <199903162203.RAA28564@tux.w3.org>
To: ronron@techunix.technion.ac.il
CC: www-annotation@w3.org
>>>>> "Ron" == Ron Zalman <ronron@techunix.technion.ac.il> writes:

    > Hi, I've just put the first draft of my paper "Web Annotation -
    > An Overview" online.  Please refer to:
    > http://www-ee.technion.ac.il/~ronz/annotation/

From section 3.2.1.: 

   Publicity costs lots of money and annotation of commercials is very
   cheap, and may cause sever implications. Annotations are likely to
   get a lot of people with a lot of money really annoyed. This means
   that generally, not too many people who have the funds to support
   the global annotation system have great interest in it. Moreover,
   third-party web annotation may become the issue of many copyright
   lawsuits. It is unclear who wins these trials, but the
   inevitability of these is surely a deterrent.  It may be
   appropriate to head this controversy off by providing a way for
   companies to put up a `No Annotations Here' marker on their web
   site. This could be similar to the robots.txt file that is already
   used to limit the activities of web spiders. The down side of have
   a 'no annotations' marker is that there are some sites out there
   that really should be annotated [Gr99].  On the other hand, the
   control of a global annotation system gives lots of power to the
   firm who owns it. Negative publicity can be filtered out, and a lot
   of other publicity may be put in. This means that having a web
   annotation system on commercial hands may be worse than not having
   one at all.

You make two points: that annotating pages could be perceived as a
copyright violation, and that the controller of a global annotations
system could filter out negative publicity.  Do you believe these
points apply to all annotation systems, or only to "in place
annotations" where the actual content of the original document is

I would argue that "off place annotations" like alexa uses, where it
is clear what the original document says and what the annotation adds
as editorial, do not have this problem.  Adding commentary that is
obviously delimited from the main text would probably not be a
copyright violation, in my non-expert opinion.  Otherwise many many
companies would currently be fighting massive lawsuits.  

Furthermore, I would prefer a world with a single tightly controlled
"off place" annotation system to a world with no annotation systems
whatsoever.  (Of course, I would prefer a world with many competing
distributed annotaton systems to either choice.)


p.s. Great paper!

| Rolf Nelson (rolf@w3.org), Project Manager, W3C at MIT
|   "Try to learn something about everything
|             and everything about something."  --Huxley

Received on Tuesday, 16 March 1999 17:03:36 UTC

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