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RE: URIs, deep linking, framing, adapting and related concerns

From: Rotan Hanrahan <rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 16:40:13 +0100
Message-ID: <D5306DC72D165F488F56A9E43F2045D30210C4CA@FTO.mobileaware.com>
To: <www-tag@w3.org>
Indeed, yet 6 years on the misunderstandings persist.

Also, this earlier TAG Finding predates the massive growth in adaptive sites where the representations returned from a URL will vary considerably depending on context. Deep links to such sites are problematic. The sites would not necessarily attempt to deny access via out-of-context linking, but might respond otherwise with an error, a redirection to a better alternative URL, or perhaps an alternative representation of the identified resource. I am not aware of any general guidance on which, if any, of these strategies would be appropriate.

There is also the issue of what is appropriate when a page contains references to third-party resources. If the phishing culprit were to directly present/manipulate the logos of the Bank of Webtopia, then perhaps a copyright/trademark infringement might be noted. But if said culprit were to place the manipulations into JavaScript/CSS/etc. and merely reference the images in the markup, then it is the end-user's browser that is doing the infringement. Or is it? (It's a legal question, so perhaps out of scope for the TAG.) Browsers might get clever about spotting these abuses of the Web, but if we *expect* the browsers to be this clever then perhaps the behaviour has to be part of the Web architecture itself.

I feel that perhaps a refresh of the 2003 Finding may be beneficial, and perhaps should include an appropriate "sound bite" that would attract broader attention and hopefully drive the message home.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Booth [mailto:david@dbooth.org] 
Sent: 16 October 2009 15:49
To: Jonathan Rees
Cc: Rotan Hanrahan; www-tag@w3.org; Thinh Nguyen
Subject: Re: URIs, deep linking, framing, adapting and related concerns

"Deep Linking" in the World Wide Web
TAG Finding 11 Sep 2003:

David Booth

On Fri, 2009-10-16 at 09:30 -0400, Jonathan Rees wrote:
> I think you are mostly asking architectural questions, which I won't
> answer right now; I just wanted to touch on the non-technical
> question.
> On Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 8:56 AM, Rotan Hanrahan
> <rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com> wrote:
> > To the TAG members,
> >
> > Recent discussions with other W3C members once again highlight the general
> > mis-understanding of the role of the URI (or URL, to use the term more
> > familiar to the wider community). The publication of a URL that identifies a
> > third party resource cannot (in any sensible manner) be prevented by that
> > third party because the URL is merely the address of a single resource
> > within a huge public space. By virtue of placing the resource into the
> > public space, the owner of the resource (or the associated intellectual
> > property) has effectively agreed to reveal the address and make it “common
> > knowledge”.
> >
> > Some owners of these resources seem to believe that they can legally prevent
> > people from uttering Web addresses in public. This would be counter to the
> > architecture of the Web, which depends on being able to make such
> > references.
> >
> > This probably seems correct to anyone familiar with the Web. A statement
> > from the TAG to this effect reinforcing the open nature of URLs may help
> > dispel the misunderstandings about what can and cannot be done with URLs.
> I agree that a statement from someone is desirable. But this is
> primarily a legal question, which the TAG is ill equipped to answer.
> Putting a URI somewhere is a form of speech and is subject to whatever
> local regulations govern speech. For example, trademark law prohibits
> uses of a mark that might confuse a consumer, and uttering a URI that
> contains profanity, threats, pornography, copyrighted material, state
> or personal secrets, etc. would also be subject to law. So the
> question is not black or white. As for things like the absurd
> http://www.aa.com/i18n/footer/legal.jsp "links to the site", you'd
> really have to get an attorney or legal scholar to tell you that you
> are violating no law by ignoring what American says. You shouldn't
> believe me.
> I would be happy to reinforce a request that W3C make a statement or
> FAQ of some kind on the subject. It might be desirable to summarize
> statute in a sampling of jurisdictions, and there is some relevant
> case law that W3C could point people to.
> Jonathan
David Booth, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic (contractor)

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.

Received on Friday, 16 October 2009 15:41:21 UTC

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