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Ziff Davis To Website: License To Link, Updated 277

Posted by timothy
from the ominous-creaking-noises dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently Ziff Davis is threatening pocketpctools.com with legal action for posting a snippet from and link to a Ziff Davis story. Is it just me, or is this sort of the IDEA of the internet? From pocketpctools.com: 'We are currently being threatened with legal action by a large organization that produces news stories (I am trying to find out if I am "allowed" to post the emails they have sent me). A while back (about a month and 70 posts ago), one of our admins posted a story that introduced you to one of their stories. Needless to say, there was a small editorial about the said story, a short quote from the story, a link to, and full credit given to them for the story.'" Update: 08/08 23:55 GMT by S : To clarify, Ziff Davis/EWeek (and not ZDNet, as the submitter and linked story suggest) are involved in this story. Update: 08/09 02:08 GMT by T : Matthew Rothenberg of eWEEK writes with a clarification (below); it seems like this is just a tempest in a teapot, and linkers can breathe easy.

Rothenberg writes: "Hey! I'm the executive editor in charge of eWEEK.com -- and before this situation unravels any farther, I need to make a couple of quick clarifications about our reprint policy:

While I haven't gotten all the details about what happened, this legal warning to PocketPCTools seems to be a result of miscommunication within our company. We understand and embrace the principles under which sites such as PocketPCTools link to and excerpt our content. There are plenty of occasions when a professional media company needs to question the wholesale appropriation of its content or the use of its marks. From everything I understand about the PocketPCTools case so far, this is NOT one of those occasions!

We're moving to correct the situation now ... PocketPCTools was apparently acting within the appropriate bounds of Web etiquette -- actually, doing us a favor by sending us the traffic -- and Ziff Davis was apparently mistaken in issuing this warning.

My personal apologies to anyone inconvenienced by this error. We're investigating the situation now and will act accordingly."

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Ziff Davis To Website: License To Link, Updated

Comments Filter:
  • Uh Oh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:15PM (#9916034)
    Did Slashdot get permission to link to this story?
  • Blogs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scalli0n (631648) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:15PM (#9916036) Homepage
    I'm going to make a very obvious statement and ask what this means for blogs. If you can strongarm anyone into un-linking something, then where will blogs be able to go?

    Also, what the hell was ZDNet thinking, the folks at pocketpctools.com were sending them traffic!

    • Re:Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:21PM (#9916086) Homepage Journal

      Well, it's an obvious sign that they don't want people reading their publications.

      So, I canceled my eWeek subscription.

      • Re:Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:49PM (#9916268) Journal
        Instead, I sent this letter to randy_zane@ziffdavis.com who handles media relations at ziffdavis, according to their site.
        ---
        Dear Sirs,

        According to a recent article on Slashdot.org, you are demanding licensing for sites to link to material on your site (specifically pocketpctools.com). They say they linked to the article proper, and gave proper credit for the material in their review.

        If the article was briefly quoted and proper credit given, via Fair Use Doctrine, then I would consider this to be a misinterpretation of Copyright law on your part, and would see this as an agressive action against weblogs in general. As someone who subscribes to your magazines, I find this very disturbing that you would act to suppress free speech in this way.

        I don't have enough information to draw a conclusion since they claim the original article was removed and can not be examined by myself, but I wanted to ask that you please explain further so that I can make an educated decision whether to cancel my subscriptions and discontinue use of your website.

        Because I consider this to be an important issue, but do not want to assume your company is guilty of this type of activity, I would request a reply as soon as reasonably possible.

        Thank you in advance.

        [name, city, state]

        ----

        We shall see if I get a response to what is a polite and reasonable request by a customer.
        • Re:Blogs (Score:5, Insightful)

          by FFFish (7567) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:11PM (#9916381) Homepage
          Just want to say THIS IS WHAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

          Y'all see how easy it is to become an activist and make changes for the better? It takes so very little effort, and makes such a big difference!
          • Re:Blogs (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:35PM (#9916545) Journal
            I think the key to a successful writing campaign is to be:

            1) Polite
            2) Respectful
            3) Objective
            4) To the point
            5) Request a reply
            6) Use your real name and city/state and send from the same email address they can reply to.

            Name or quote your sources, express your concerns, DONT assume it is correct, GENTLY explain what you are considering in response to their actions if true, and give them the opportunity to explain. Remain objective and fair if you want a response, or at least to have your letter actually read by someone that matters. I am sure many can do a better job of writing this letter, but thats great: do it and send it.

            I really DONT know if this article is true, so assuming would not serve anyone anyway, and just make me look like an ass for being wrong and loud. Fake articles HAVE happened before, after all. What matters is NOT "I will unsubscribe", but "I have reason to question your companies ethics or actions" since most people are not subscribers anyway. You should always act like you really WANT to hear their opinion or side of the story, even though it is unlikely you will get a reply. These are the letters that get read in the boardroom.

            You will never know if your particular letter made "the" difference but it doesn't matter. The sheer volume of intellegent, thoughtful and concerned letters speak for themselves.
            • Re:Blogs (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Have Blue (616)
              The second key to a successful writing campaign is do not use email. Get off your ass, print out a letter on real paper, put it in an envelope, pay for a stamp, and mail it to them. Everyone knows how easy it is to create thousands of emails; a physical letter carries far more weight and represents proportionately more outrage to the recipient.
              • Re:Blogs (Score:4, Informative)

                by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:11PM (#9917038) Journal
                I agree and you do make a point I usually follow. But under this circumstance, email is a decent second best, being that it is a tech company. They are used to most of their mail being email. But for most companies, I do, and you should, use snail mail. The format would still be the same, with a valid return route for the letter.
            • Re:Blogs (Score:3, Funny)

              by Jacer (574383)
              I think the key to a successful writing campaign is to be: 1) Polite 2) Respectful 3) Objective 4) To the point 5) Request a reply 6) Use your real name and city/state and send from the same email address they can reply to. What complete bullshit. I don't know what kind of idiot mentors you've had in your life, but I was always told the best way to get something done is to make damn sure everyone offending you knows it. Beyond that I really don't know that I have a point, so no further correspondence
              • Re:Blogs (Score:3, Informative)

                by Pharmboy (216950)
                Simple. I am the corporate guy that reads those letters, and letters like you suggest would get thrown out immediately as some nut. The ones from intellegent and polite people WE read at the meeting. Its not my opinion, its reality.

                Letters from illiterate, rude, hate filled people are never taken serious. You *DO* let them know, but when you are talking about getting 1000 people to write, its more effective if those letters are polite and not so easily dismissed.

                One reason I am polite is that I DON'T
                • Re:Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by MatthewRothenberg (617484) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @11:26PM (#9917420)
                  I second that emotion ... At least, it's my M.O. when fielding correspondence from readers.

                  Pharmboy: Thanks for the reasoned response. I don't have all the facts yet, either -- although I assure you, that's Priority One tomorrow morning!

                  Matthew Rothenberg
                  Executive editor
                  Ziff Davis Internet
                  http://blog.ziffdavis.com/rothenberg

    • Re:Blogs (Score:4, Interesting)

      by T-Kir (597145) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:23PM (#9916099) Homepage

      To be honest, most of the tech orientated net could take pre-emptive action and just stop linking to them at all... pretend they don't exist, less linkage and (maybe) less visitors.

      Let ZDNet commit htmleppuku if they wish to.

    • Re:Blogs (Score:2, Insightful)

      by siliconjunkie (413706)
      I think the result would be similar to the P2P situation: There are simply so many individuals out there that it makes litigation far too cumbersome to be comprehensive. Entities that believe their "rights" are infringed by linking would either have to go after the "worst offernders", a la the MPAA/RIAA vs. P2P clients, or just freekin' get over it and realize that the internet has spawned new ways of disseminating information and that they must evolve or be subject to de-evolution.

      I would *hope* that mode
    • I don't think so. Will ZDNet send a C&D to every blog owner? Will every blog owner simply roll over and comply?

      ZDNet isn't going to spend the time and money to try and change the Internet in this way. Nor would the efforts do much to change things anyway.
    • Re:Blogs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Weirdofreak (769987)
      I think I might vaguely understand.

      It's a case of territoriality. The got the story, they want it. They figure that since a lot of other sites with the story will link to theirs, if they stop that from happening, they'll have the story to themselves. Or at least they'll have the original, and presumably best/most reliable/trustworthy/informative/whatever. Therefore, people will stop reading the competition and come to them, the source of all power tee emm.

      It's still dumb, but what else can we expect from
      • I think there is some twisted logic to your theory, and they just may be dumb enough to think in this way. But this is beyond cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        This would be like SCO deciding no vendor can use Unix source code, even for a fee, so they will have all the source, all the power and be the only source for Unix. In the end, it only makes you irrelevent and bankrupt.
    • by Otter (3800)
      I'm going to make a very obvious statement and ask what this means for blogs.

      I'm going to make a very obvious statement and point out that no one (as usual), including the submitter (as usual) and editor (as usual), has bothered to R the FA. The issue was the posting of copyrighted content -- the article does not claim that the complaint was over linking. In fact, it sounds like they have a perfectly good fair use defense of the posting, but the linking is simply not an issue.

      If I may make an obnoxiously p

  • by bergeron76 (176351) * on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:15PM (#9916039)
    ... let's boycott ZD websites for the next month or so.

    I'm fairly certain that if the /. crowd stopped visiting ZD et al. for a month or so, they would realize the err of their ways.

    A tech mag/publisher should know better.

    Anyone have a list of Ziff/Davie sites we shouldn't visit for the next few weeks?

  • Ziff-Davis != ZDNet (Score:5, Informative)

    by buzzdecafe (583889) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:16PM (#9916040)
    For the record: In 2001, CNET bought ZDNet. Ziff-Davis magazines were spun off to another company, Ziff-Davis Media. eWeek is Ziff-Davis, not ZDNet.
    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:41PM (#9916213) Journal
      The bad guys in this case are Ziff-Davis Media, publishers of the print magazines and the www.eweek.com/ website that was linked to in pocketpctools.com's article.

      ZDNet, which originally was Ziff-Davis's umbrella web prescence now has nothing to do with Ziff-Davis, and thus ZDNet is an innocent party here, so mentioning its name (as the story summary does twice) is completely inaccurate.

      In fact, as it stands, the Slashdot story summary is highly actionable, as it places ZDNet in a very negative light for the misdeeds of a totally unrelated company. But, despite the fact that they're almost certainly libelling ZDNet here, the chances of the Slashdot editors actually doing something about it and changing the story summary are minimal.

      Yes, confusing Ziff-Davis Media and ZDNet is a mistake that pocketpctools.com themselves make but the Slashdot editors should know better. Some basic fact-checking on their part wouldn't go amiss but that would involve an actual editorial review process, something that Slashdot has never really had, hence the dupes, fakes, spelling and grammar mistakes, inaccuracies, etc that plague virtually every story summary.

      Maybe ZDNet initiating legal action against Slashdot would be a good thing. It might actually wake Taco and co. up to the fact that getting it right does matter.
      • But, despite the fact that they're almost certainly libelling ZDNet here, the chances of the Slashdot editors actually doing something about it and changing the story summary are minimal.

        I guess you just provoked them into it. ;)
  • Oh no. (Score:2, Funny)

    by modifried (605582)
    Slashdot just posted a snippet from pocketpctools.com, and a link to their site. Let's hope pocketpctools.com doesn't threaten legal action.
  • Ha. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by protocol420 (758109)
    There is no way this will stand up. No laws are being broken (IANAL), and it would kill pretty much every postnukey news site
  • Hard to Believe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scalli0n (631648) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:17PM (#9916049) Homepage
    I find this hard to believe, let's see the emails that they 'might not be allowed to post'. Otherwise, it's just them trying to get attention and traffic, in my opinion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:18PM (#9916055)
    There are easy technical means to stop people from linking to you. You check the referer header, and if it's from a site you don't like... you block it! Yes, a few people will have blank/fake referers, but they are in the minority.

    Example... Mozilla's Bugzilla doesn't want Mozilla to link to their bugs, so they block them [mozilla.org]! Easy.
  • Wankers. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aldric (642394)
    I say boycott ZD until they stop smoking crack.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:18PM (#9916058)
    with a password, then yes, you should need permission/a license to link to the article. However, I believe posting snippets for editorial/review purposes is _always_ legal. It's fair use and newspapers rely on it daily.

    If there's no password protection then it's publically available information. As long as you're not cut and pasting, you're not copying, so copywrite doesn't come into play. Heck, as long as the data comes off ziff's servers, the only copying taking place is onto the users computers (which you have an implicit right to do so). This is kinda like me giving a speech in the park and sueing passers-by for infringment.

    Now, in the fscked-up world of US copyright law, all the common sense outlined above probably doesn't mean much. All I can say is, good luck to these guys.
    • by TWX (665546) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:22PM (#9916090)
      Remember though, the courts are stupid. They ordered 2600 Magazine to not link to anything ever having any remote thing to do with DeCSS. That looked like a pretty damn clear cut case of violations on 2600 Magazines' rights to freedom of speech, and also was kind of contrary to the entire point of HTML, but the courts did what they did anyway.
      • Yes but linking to DeCSS would be contributing to a crime (in the view of the court). They were not told they could not do so because it voliated the IP of others. It would be like prohibiting a site from linking to kiddie porn. It is contributing to people distributing illegal material. I disagree about DeCSS but the legal principle is sound.

        This case is about not being able to review _legal_ articles without paying a fee and getting permission. That means thay could silence any nay sayers, and it contrad
        • by Alsee (515537) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:09PM (#9916747) Homepage
          the legal principle is sound

          A web link is nothing but a written address.

          Then the reporters and editors and publishers should be thrown in prison for "contributing to people distributing illegal material" every time they print the address of a crackhouse or the address of any other illegal activity. Making a written address itself illegal is a very very dangerous precedent. Not only would it make the New York Times illegal for publishing addresses of illegal activity, but it is also quite a mess because the owners of that location can always change the content of that location from cookies to cocaine.

          -
    • If the content's protected with a password, then yes, you should need permission/a license to link to the article.

      That's rediculous. If it *is* password protected then they will not display that page without a password. It would be a non-functional link, or at best a link to a password dialog.

      If you click a link to their website and their server then sends you the webpage without requiring a password, well duh, then they are not password protecting that webpage.

      The idea that you need a "licence" to make
  • by TROLLCmdrTaco2 (156021) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:18PM (#9916059)
    After reading Slashdot for a while, I get the impression that these things happen all the time, and most of them are due to an overeager employee/lawyer who can be easily shut up with a polite letter pointing out why you aren't breaking the law, or, if that doesn't work, then a letter from a law firm which says the same. This isn't DeCSS-like infringement

    It's unfortunate you have to do this, but this kind of stupidity seems like something web-authors will have to live with no matter what kind of copyright laws your country has.

    I think the most important thing is just to know that this happens, and not to panic.
    • Has anyone with good knowledge of the relevant laws worked up a chunk of legal boilerplate that folk so-threatened could use for such situations? Seems to me that would save a lot of worry and acrimony.

  • by Muerto (656791) <{david} {at} {vitanza.net}> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:18PM (#9916061)
    Your days are so totally numbered.
  • by JeffSh (71237)
    What's it matter what the internet was designed to do? It's the duty of corporations to bend laws and technological infrastructure to suit their own needs, right? ZD is only doing what any good corporation looking out for their shareholder's interests would do. /sarcasm
  • Absurd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PabloJones (456560) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:21PM (#9916082) Homepage
    This is absurd. If it's just a snippet of information from the website, given proper credit to the source, what could be the problem?

    What happens when Google News takes the first sentence of one of their news stories and uses it on their front page?

    The point of making news is for people to actually read it (along with the ads displayed along side it). Barring access to this news doesn't make much business sense. Sounds to me like Ziff-Davis has an overzealous legal team, which acts in self-interest rather in the interest of the company as a whole.
    • Well, in principle I agree with you however when deep-linking occurs, the viewer doesn't travel the normal path through the linked site. That means that he or she isn't exposed to the proper number of click-through advertisements, thus depriving the site of much-desired revenue, you see.
      • Re:Absurd (Score:2, Insightful)

        by PabloJones (456560)
        However, according to Jakob Nielsen, deep linking is good linking [useit.com].

        If it's a pain in the ass for users to find what they want on the site, then people aren't going to want to use it. And if they prevent others from deep linking, they are only going to lose visitors that may well go beyond the deep-linked page, browsing the site if they find it interesting, while at the same time viewing ads.

        The chances are that the people clicking through from the PocketPCTools weren't going to know about or have the incl
  • Wait a min... (Score:3, Informative)

    by strredwolf (532) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:22PM (#9916092) Homepage Journal
    They followed MLA spec for literary works! ZDMedia has no right to demand removal when it's been properly quoted.
  • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel&bcgreen,com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:22PM (#9916093) Homepage Journal
    We should send an email to Google, Yahoo, MSN et al. telling them to remove all link to ZD-Net sites.

    That and otherwise stop linking to them altogether.

  • Not Likly... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Demanche (587815)
    I'm sure ZDNet itself has links to other news sources in many places... maybe they should set a standard and pay some royalties to those sites also .. ;)
  • by HrothgarReborn (740385) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:24PM (#9916105)
    I thnk pocketpctools has a pretty solid stance. If they cannot give a short quote with a reference then why is it legal for me to do the same in a research paper? How will anyone ever be able to do a book review? This type of useage is what makes research and debate possible. I mean Bush can quote Kerry (and often does) in order to make a logical debate, and he does not need a license from Kerry. This is an example of our failed system, where corporate thugs can make any demand and win because the system is too difficult and costly to use to defend one own legitimate rights.

    PS Any one who laughs at Bush being logical should get -1 offtopic. Of course, I should get +5 funny for saying it :)
  • They can help you fight this. If they turn you down, please post why.

  • Even if they don't have the money to fight this, perhaps someone [eff.org] does. They should ask someone [eff.org] to do something about it.
  • zndet sucks now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mantera (685223) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:28PM (#9916132)
    I used to read zdnet a while ago when David Coursey was there, but ever since he got squeezed out it totally sucked. They have this self-promoting Esther Dyson working there whom they interview every now and then and headline her on the front page for a whole week or so; she's such a bore to listen to and her "release 1.0" monthly newsletter is priced at ~$800 yearly subscription. She made me hate the word "visionary".
  • Just got a postcard asking me to renew a subscription to one of their mags.

    Really have to think about it now.
  • Holy cow, Somebody [google.com] is gonna get sued big time.
  • by xigxag (167441) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:40PM (#9916203)
    This is not about linking. This is about Ziff-Davis (or probably a bot) catching pocketpctools.com (over-)quoting their article. They claim it was plagiarism, ppctools claims it was fair use.

    Note that pocketpctools.com still links to the article in dispute at the end of their statement. So linking is obviously not the issue.

    That is all. Carry on.
  • Pocket PC Tools quoted a short passage (which comes under "Fair Use") and gave full credit. They were also giving free publicity to Ziff Davis and guiding traffic to their web site. Threatening legal action? Ziff Davis should be saying "thank you" -- or, at the absolute worst, "Thank you, but please ask us first in the future."
  • ZD isn't objecting to the link, which everybody here has decided they are. Instead, they are simply objecting to their copyrighted content (the "snipper") being posted on another site.

    This is much more reasonable than the news post and the responses to it make it out to be. There is no mention in the article about ZD objecting to the link itself.
  • by rarose (36450) <robNO@SPAMrobamy.com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:43PM (#9916231)
    I'm sure like many busy professionals, I don't have time to sort the wheat from the chaff on all the different computer news and magazines sites. I've come to rely on a couple of specialist/niche weblogs to point me to the stories that I need.

    ZD's actions are going to result in nobody linking to their material, and thus ZD will effectively disappear from the eyeballs of people like me.

    The real question, the business question, is how long it'll take them (or their advertisers) to figure that out.
  • Everyone on the internet should quit linking to Ziff-Davis.
  • by reallocate (142797) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:52PM (#9916288)
    There is no absolute yardstick for fair use. The law doesn't specify that quoting anything below a specific percentage of a copyrighted work is fair use, or that anything above is not.

    That's why copyright is a civil, not criminal issue. Ziff-Davis probably sends these letters to hundreds of sites every year. (And, it seems to work. When was the last time you saw someone pointing, regularly, to Z-D sites?) Most sites lack the money and means to challenge Z-D in court. Z-D knows they might lose a Fair Use case, but also knows that the recipients won't take them to court. Hence the letters.

    It's a silly thing to do -- driving away potential traffic -- but Z-D has the right to do this. And, they will keep on doing it until someone takes them to court and wins.
  • Here's a suitable reaction to this kind of thing...

    Don't Link to Us! [dontlink.com] links to sites that attempt to impose substantial restrictions on other sites that link to them. The Linking Policy for Don't Link to Us! [dontlink.com] precludes us from requesting permission to link to a site, and compels us to link directly to the targeted page (i.e., a "deep link") rather than to a site's home page. Descriptions of sites' linking policies generally are accurate (though often not complete) at the time they are posted here but are l

  • Not to nitpick, but I think it should be illegal to use 6 point fixed-css-based font sizes. Dear lord, I'm still in the 18-24 age bracket and I could barely make out the text, and that's on a 19 inch monitor at 1024x768.
  • Your rights (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:59PM (#9916319)
    Well ZDNET might say watterever they wan't, it's not because they are preparing a syndicated news service (paid of course) that they can bypass law.

    The fact is, you have the right to link to their story as long as you cite the source and you have the right to give an exerp of the story as long as it's not a condensed version of the story (meaning that if you understand the whole thing w/o going to ZDnet this means that your exerp has gone too far)

    Usualy a 2-3 line expert is considered ok by copyright law.

    You're gonna talk about deep linking heh ? Well deep linking has been defined as roughfly more than 4 clicks to the story (there is no magical number) ... so if it's front page or second page you're safe.
  • by SmoothTom (455688) <Tomas@TiJiL.org> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @07:59PM (#9916325) Homepage
    This is JUST the sort of thing that very much needs to be settled in a court of law.

    It appears that the pocketpctools site was totally within the law, and that Ziff-Davis has gone well beyond their legitimate ownership rights into harassment. I suspect they are depending on the difference in size to make the smaller opponent simply fold rather than fight them.

    We need one of the organizations (EFF?) with the ability, muscle, and money to push this one right back into Ziff-Davis' face. This sort of abuse needs to be stopped, and needs to be stopped hard.

    Since this particular incident appears to have clear, clean boundries it might be an ideal one to clear up the legal questions, and to set hard limits.

    --
    Tomas
  • I thought (and I could be wrong) that when you published a commercial, publically available website, you try to get more people to look at it.

    You can do this through search engines, through placements in other web sites or in print.

    When then, would you not want a site to link to you?
  • Contact Ziff-Davis and tell them what you think about this foolishness. Tell them you will let all discussion groups in the computer indusatry know about it. The potential loss of subscribers(revenue) will change their mind fast.

    When dealing with a commercial interest, a threat to the bottom line gets the most results. Because it's the only thing they care about.
  • Traffic = good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xgamer04 (248962)
    Um, nobody (I think) has posted this yet, so here goes...

    I always thought that linking to your website was a GOOD thing, especially when it's your JOB that's depending upon people visiting your site. If all websites started doing this, search engines would be out of business and nobody would be able to find anything on the web.
  • Improving Your Odds for Positive Press Coverage [ziffdavis.com]

    Getting your messages in front of the right audiences requires an integrated approach, blending a range of marketing communications vehicles. So, how do you improve your chances for media coverage that puts your company or product in a positive light? Mary Jo Foley, editor of Microsoft Watch, offers the following advice for those who want press coverage for their products and services.
  • If this stands, /. will own billions to a lot of companies. How many sites have been quoted here?

    No I'm not serious, so please point that flame thrower elsewhere
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @08:50PM (#9916635) Homepage
    And learn what a "web" is.

  • by MatthewRothenberg (617484) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:19PM (#9916802)
    Hey! I'm the executive editor in charge of eWEEK.com -- and before this situation unravels any farther, I need to make a couple of quick clarifications about our reprint policy, both here and on PocketPCTools: This was a total screw-up involving an overzealous legal intern, not anybody on our online team. There's still some education that needs to happen within our company about what constitutes fair use on the Web -- and unfortunately, this warning went out without the knowledge or approval of our online team. There are plenty of occasions when a professional media company needs to question the wholesale appropriation of its content. Nevertheless this is manifestly NOT one of those occasions! In fact, I didn't know that this hornet's nest had been stirred until it hit Slashdot. That's clearly a breakdown of communication, since I'm the guy running the site! :-) We're moving to correct the situation now ... PocketPCTools was obviously acting within the appropriate bounds of Web etiquette -- actually, doing us a favor by sending us the traffic -- and Ziff Davis was obviously mistaken in issuing this warning. My personal apologies to anyone inconvenienced by this error, and I'm personally going to see that it isn't repeated in the future. Matthew Rothenberg Executive editor Ziff Davis Internet http://blog.ziffdavis.com/rothenberg
  • by MatthewRothenberg (617484) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:25PM (#9916835)

    Hey! I'm the executive editor in charge of eWEEK.com -- and before this situation unravels any farther, I need to make a couple of quick clarifications about our reprint policy, both here and on PocketPCTools:

    This was a total screw-up involving an overzealous legal intern, not anybody on our online team. There's still some education that needs to happen within our company about what constitutes fair use on the Web -- and unfortunately, this warning went out without the knowledge or approval of our online team.

    There are plenty of occasions when a professional media company needs to question the wholesale appropriation of its content. Nevertheless this is manifestly NOT one of those occasions!

    In fact, I didn't know that this hornet's nest had been stirred until it hit Slashdot. That's clearly a breakdown of communication, since I'm the guy running the site! :-)

    We're moving to correct the situation now ... PocketPCTools was obviously acting within the appropriate bounds of Web etiquette -- actually, doing us a favor by sending us the traffic -- and Ziff Davis was obviously mistaken in issuing this warning.

    My personal apologies to anyone inconvenienced by this error, and I'm personally going to see that it isn't repeated in the future.

    Matthew Rothenberg
    Executive editor
    Ziff Davis Internet
    http://blog.ziffdavis.com/rothenberg

    • by SmoothTom (455688) <Tomas@TiJiL.org> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @10:04PM (#9917000) Homepage
      Matthew, I'm one of the (probably) many who think that it would be appropriate for eWeek/Ziff Davis Internet to produce a serious article on this sort of thing, and to use what actually happened within your walls as an example.

      This is certainly newsworthy, and I feel of more than passing importance.

      I look forward to a well researched, well presented article on the subject.

      --
      Tomas
    • the big legal dogs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sdedeo (683762)
      First off, it is misleading to call this a "warning": the letter was, according to the site admin "pretty much 'cease and desist' or we will come after you." That's a threat.

      Wonderful to know how easy it is for lawyers to make up these letters. They mean nothing and are written as easily as ordinary people burn toast -- but they can sure intimidate. For those willing to give Ziff Davis a pass, I wonder if the Pocket site admins are willing to post the content of the e-mails they received? Perhaps you'd f
  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @09:39PM (#9916898)
    I've been aggregating news headlines and links on the Net for longer than I care to remember (I'm in my tenth year) and I can tell you that this is nothing new.

    Way back in 1998 I had a battle with [com.com] The Nando Times when I was running 7am.com which was one of the most successful aggregators of all time.

    Nando said "pay us $100 per month for the right to link or we'll sue"

    I said "bring it on"

    They said "um, err, well okay we won't" and then attributed their back-down to the fact that I was in New Zealand and they were in the USA so such a legal battle would be too hard to wage.

    The reality was that I formed an informal group of other online publishers and aggregators who simply stood up to these ridiculous tactics. Seeing they were outnumbered and copping a heap of flack in the media, they gave up their ill-conceived efforts.

    When I asked the head of Nando.Net why they were averse to me effectively extending their reach and delivering huge numbers of eager-eyes to their ad-laden pages I was told that their ad revenues weren't enough to cover the cost of serving up those pages so more traffic meant more cost.

    Someone ought to have taught those guys how to run an online publishing business!

    I've also had similar battles with other publishers such as Television New Zealand here in NZ who simlarly threatened me with all manner of dire consequences if I didn't stop linking to them.

    Once again I invited them to do their worst and they backed down.

    At one stage I was involved in (and winning) so many battles over the issue of hypertext linking and the intellectual property rights associated with such things that I regularly was invited to talk to the legal profession (some of my stuff even scoring a mention in the US Bar Association's Journal) and other online publishers.

    I should point out that at all times I linked ethically -- this meant no framing, full attributions and only ever using the headline and sometimes the first line of the article.

    One thing *all* publishers should do is publish a linking policy on their website so as to let other sites know what they consider to be fair and reasonable. I do this [aardvark.co.nz] on my Aardvark daily internet commentary and I also continue to aggregate headlines [aardvark.co.nz] (including some from eWeek when they're running something worth a mention). The funny thing is that these days, nobody tries to pick a fight with me :-)

    But, if Ziff Davis/eWeek are thinking about doing so, I once again say "Bring it on! And let the good times roll (again :-)

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