W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > January 2007

Re: XHTML2.0 - transclusion

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 12:56:31 +0000
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <1169643391.5776.100.camel@galahad>

David Woolley wrote:

> I would expect, though, that most authors would never learn that 
> transclusion permissions could be turned on and, of those commercial
> sites that were aware, the vast majority would have a policy of
> forbidding transclusion (many site still have explicit statements that
> deep linking (i.e. proper web links) are not allowed[A], and sometimes 
> enforce this by trying to force a redirect to the home page, 

IANAL, but when it comes to ordinary hyperlinks, I suspect such as
policies are unenforceable in terms of intellectual property since:

> hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act
> (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved.
> The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine
> web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is
> happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get
> reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently.

>From Judge Harry L. Hupp's ruling on the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
the First Amended Complaint in Ticketmaster Corp, et al. v. Tickets.com
Inc (2000):


Whether inclusion or transclusion is protected by (say) fair use
provisions is a question problematized by the fact that for genuine
critical purposes one would ideally want to include a static copy. The
fragile blogger-esque linking styles in vogue not withstanding, web
documents are generally subject to alteration, linkrot, and total
disappearance. This should perhaps ring warning bells about the use of
transquoting (http://xanadu.com.au/transquoter/) with <q/> and
<blockquote/>. On the other hand, authors could reduce the risks of
transcluding using permanent identifiers (e.g. DOI), queries (e.g.
OpenURL), and dated mirrors (e.g. the Wayback Archive) which use
registries to retrieve static archived resources.

A problem with using Jakob Dabrowski's proposal from a transquoting
perspective is that authors need to quote fragments that do not have
fragment identifiers. We would need a way of referencing DOM ranges.

David Woolley continued:
> Personally, I have reservations about all technical enforcement of
> copyright except for things like money and tickets, because it generally
> makes the product fragile, stifles legitimate innovation, may be a problem
> for future historians, and moves the balance too far towards the marketer
> (often it is the marketer, not the creative person, that benefits) in
> a way that, for example, erodes the US fair use concept.

You worry about "future historians"? That makes a whole two of us. ;)

> However, now that the web is primarily commercial, I will expect strong 
> lobbying for technical enforcement in all new features.  

Shouldn't that lobby be much more agitated about:

<img src="http://www.anothersite.com/example.jpeg">

> I would actually welcome a change in legislation to explicitly void
> all deep linking restrictions

Do you mean "deep linking" as in ordinary hyperlinks or as in src
inclusions, or both?

You seem to assume that there will be a battle between IP holders trying
to prevent transclusion and freedom-loving transclusion devotees. No
doubt there would be to some extent, but transclusion offers
opportunities for profit too. Ted Nelson envisaged end-users paying for
transcluded content. I doubt that's a realistic model for the web, but
IP holders might well wish to licence content for transclusion to other
web authors.

Moreover, Dabrowski's proposal suggests allowing IP holders to designate
precisely which fragments may be transcluded from their content. That
could be an advertizing cash cow over the long tail, with something

<!-- Allow transclusion of the entire div, but prevent transclusion
of sub-fragments like #55687-content: -->
<div id="55687" permitTransclusion="entire-only">
<!-- A dynamically included ad: -->
<object src="http://ads.example.com/496960707" type="application/xhtml
<p id="55687-content">Here's the vital content you actually want to

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2007 12:57:45 UTC

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