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Re: The legal status of linking and EC consultation

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2014 11:54:23 -0500
Message-ID: <52DD54BF.9030509@arcanedomain.com>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@hsivonen.fi>, Konstantinov Sergey <twirl@yandex-team.ru>
CC: www-tag <www-tag@w3.org>


On 1/14/2014 9:56 AM, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> The TAG could pretend that political issues aren't technical enough,
> for the TAG to say anything, but
> http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/deeplinking.html  is precedent that goes
> the other way and talks about a court case and about "public policy".

Without commenting on the pros and cons of responding in this particular 
case, which I haven't considered in detail:

As Henri says, the TAG has a tradition of trying to be useful in educating 
both the technical and non-technical communities in at least the following 
ways:

1) Explaining the practical implications, for the Web and its technology, 
of any decisions that political bodies might be contemplating

2) In particular, explaining to all that the Web gets its value from the 
relatively friction-free linking of information and from the network 
effects that result (Metcalfe's Law)

3) In particular, explaining that in Web architecture, identification is 
mostly orthogonal to access control. Obviously, not all information on the 
Web is to be freely available: if it were, I could not use the Web to look 
at my bank records. However, everyone is encouraged to identify information 
with URIs; everyone is encouraged to link information unless they 
specifically have the intent to break the law; and everyone is encouraged 
to follow links that they consider interesting, knowing that access 
controls will be in place to prevent them from seeing information that the 
provider wishes to keep private.

Laws that would forbid "deep linking" thus tend to diminish the value of 
the Web, and are disruptive to the proper use of its architecture. Assuming 
the TAG agrees with this analysis, I think it remains useful and 
appropriate for the TAG to try to educate lawmakers and others on these 
matters.

Noah
Received on Monday, 20 January 2014 16:54:44 UTC

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