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

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 22:00:24 +0000
Message-ID: <4D0A8BF8.6000101@webr3.org>
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
CC: Rotan Hanrahan <rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Is this a case of, anybody can make any link they please (embedded or 
not), but they can/should be able to be held accountable if they make 
one inappropriately? (inappropriately as in illegal in some way), 
resource owner vs resource owner?

Best,

Nathan

Jonathan Rees wrote:
> http://www.chillingeffects.org/derivative/faq.cgi#QID380 reports on a
> case where frames were used to place ads around content picked up
> elsewhere.  This seems very similar to your example #1 of image
> inclusion. If so a court may very well one day find <img> links to
> unlicensed material to be infringing.
> 
> Best
> Jonathan
> 
> (tracker: ISSUE-25)
> 
> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> However, there are still some concerns about how such links might be used,
>> and there seems to be no obvious means of addressing these shortcomings.
>>
>>
>>
>> Example 1:
>>
>>
>>
>> It is possible to create a Web page that contains image elements that use
>> deep links into a third party site. The creator of the page has not accessed
>> or modified the referenced images. The images are only presented to the end
>> user because the user’s Web client has retrieved the images directly, albeit
>> because of the markup. Such out-of-context retrieval is naturally a concern
>> to the owners of the referenced images but still seems legitimate in terms
>> of the Web architecture. This is a particular problem in phishing scams
>> where the referenced resources are employed as part of a deception to
>> convince the end user that the page being viewed is legitimately from the
>> bank, society, club or whatever. Framing entire pages is another example
>> where the Web architecture seems to facilitate plagiarism.
>>
>>
>>
>> Example 2:
>>
>>
>>
>> We have observed the increasing practice of introducing a proxy between the
>> client and the origin server. The proxy may manipulate the interaction with
>> the end user, either to inject/remove material or otherwise adapt the
>> interaction to match the environmental constraints. Accessing the Web via
>> mobile devices is a particular example. (The work of W3C in offering
>> guidelines for such scenarios is welcome.)  Does the fact of providing a
>> resource for access via a public URL also grant the consumers of the digital
>> representations of that resource the right to manipulate those
>> representations? One might argue that the Web browser itself is manipulating
>> the data stream in order to provide a rendering for the user, and this is
>> itself a form of adaptation. If the Web architecture permits (and
>> encourages) this, then it seems fair for anyone to assume that any Web
>> traffic may be manipulated. However, if the origin server takes steps to
>> ensure that the resources are NOT publically available by requiring the user
>> to enter into a session via some form of credentials, then does the
>> continued adaptation by the proxy not constitute a breach of the terms of
>> access?
>>
>>
>>
>> Example 3:
>>
>>
>>
>> A site that adapts its response to the delivery context (as does my
>> company’s mobile Web technology) may emit an entirely different site map to
>> the end user, depending on how that user is interacting with the site.
>> Pagination of long pages, for example, will lead to intermediate pages
>> (sub-pages, if you like) that have URLs of their own. These URLs are
>> ephemeral. Deep linking to these URLs, because of their temporary and
>> context-dependent nature, would be meaningless. Is there a recommended way
>> for the adapting server to respond to a client that is referencing such deep
>> links from outside of the delivery context in which such URLs might make
>> sense? The current options are to redirect to a base representation, return
>> a HTTP error code or to return a representation of the URL (if possible)
>> that is suitable for the new delivery context.
>>
>>
>>
>> Some guidance from the TAG on these concerns would be welcome.
>>
>>
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> ---Rotan.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ____________________________
>>
>> Dr Rotan Hanrahan
>>
>> Chief Innovations Architect and CTO
>>
>> Mobileaware Ltd
>>
>>
>>
>> 4 St Catherines Lane West
>>
>> The Digital Hub
>>
>> Dublin 8, Ireland
>>
>> E: rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com
>>
>> W: www.MobileAware.com
>>
>>
>>
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> 
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 16 December 2010 22:01:36 GMT

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