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

On 2010/12/18 4:23, David Booth wrote:

>   - As Mark and Martin have pointed out, there is a clear *qualitative*
> difference between the use of a URL for transclusion (via<img ...>,
> <iframe ...>, etc.), and its use for citation, (via<a href=...>, etc.).
> I hope the TAG would also readily agree with this.  (I think Jonathan
> was taking offense unnecessarily.)
>   - The hard part may be in defining the precise boundary between
> citation and transclusion, as technology evolves and new URI contexts
> arise or old contexts are rendered in new ways.

I agree that there may be some boundary line cases.

> For example, in the
> early days of the web, images linked from<img ...>  tags were *not*
> always rendered in the browser -- thus in those days an<img>  tag was
> much more like a citation than it is today.

This is an interesting line of thought, but I think it doesn't fly. As 
far as I understand, <img> was always intended for transclusion. 
Browsers either implemented it (as transclusion) or not. The limitation 
was the fact that it was a new feature, and the capabilities of the 
hardware (text-only terminals) or software (simulations of the former), 
sometimes driven by user accessibility issues (somebody who doesn't see 
doesn't need images to be transcluded, but they wouldn't be worth 
anything as referential links, either). Among the 'modern' browsers, at 
least Opera still comes with the possibility to switch images off, but 
it doesn't transform the alt texts it shows into referential links to 
the images (it's possible to load an image with a right-click -> open 

I think the same applies to frames and javascript: A browser basically 
either does frames, or does javascript, or it doesn't (or it's switched 
off). Using javascript on its own of course doesn't make much sense, 
except for programmers studying the code.

As for frames, it actually makes sense to look at frame content in 
isolation (there are right-click menues for doing that on most major 
browsers (didn't find it in IE(7))). One is where the viewer doesn't 
want all the surrounding frames because they contain advertisements,...

That's where there might be a genuine conflict of interest related to 
deep linking: The content producer wants the advertisements to go with 
the content, but the viewer would prefer just the content. A content 
producer may be able to claim that the frame content in question is only 
intended to be shown in the context of the other frames, and that 
therefore deep linking to view the frame in isolation is not allowed. 
There may be some copyright equivalents from other domains if you see 
the whole frame composition as the "work".

On the other hand, somebody wanting to create a referential to some 
specific frame content may have no other choice than to link to the 
frame in isolation because of the severe design problems with frames: 
You can't bookmark (or link to) a certain frame combination. The 
solution here, from a W3C perspective, may be quite clear: Don't use 
frames, use something better.

> Drawing this line is
> exactly what courts do.  The TAG may help influence the courts in
> drawing this line in a sensible place, but as a TAG finding the TAG
> probably could not do much more than explain the rationale for the
> boundary and provide examples that (in the TAG's view) fall on each side
> at present.

A TAG finding could definitely be helpful in this area. But in my 
personal opinion, that's less what's needed (although be better be sure 
we have sorted out these issues before issuing a finding). What's really 
needed is a very clear statement from the TAG that referential linking 
is not something that can or should be forbidden.

Regards,   Martin.

#-# Martin J. Dürst, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University

Received on Monday, 20 December 2010 09:38:55 UTC