Silly linking terms

Its nothing new that procrastination while attempting to write leads me off in some very strange surfing directions. In my desperation to avoid producing text I clicked on the Legal Issues link on a website and came across this

Links to our site

In creating a link to this site please indicate that we are the source of the information by including an acknowledgement near to/in the link. We would be grateful if you could notify us about the link. Please also ensure that we are not brought into disrepute by the creation of the link; in such cases, we will request the link’s removal (and, if necessary, may bring legal proceedings to seek its removal). Please note that we may move pages on this site or change their address without prior notice.

First off I was interested in their requests (1) Indicate we are the source, (2) Notify us of the link & (3) Don’t bring us into disrepute. While none of these are particularly difficult in any way they seem to indicate a lack of understanding about what a link is.

These are absolutely nowhere near the worst examples: FastCompany wanted you to fax them for permission before creating a link again in 2007 we blogged about a site that absolutely prohibited linking without permission. Here at least you don’t need to ask permission!

Yet, the best part above, is the unfortunate idea that they will take legal actions against any links that bring them into disrepute. Again this is not without precedent: the best must still be the 2001 KPMG song link row.

Finally I enjoyed their informative notice that they may “move pages on this site or change their address without prior notice”. I would really enjoy seeing any site attempt to give prior notice before moving (or removing) a webpage. Would this be considered to be adequate prior notice: “Dear Internet: On the 31 May we intend to delete this page. We are sorry for making you a bit smaller or for any confusion this may create.”?

Linking terms, such as these are odd. They are generally ignored by most users (and most probably unenforceable), if noticed they are definitely bad PR.

The web was never built, and probably never would have been built, if everyone asked and awaited permission. And since the advent of sharing via social media texts like these make even less sens.

The question is why they persist?


TJ McIntyre trumped me via twitter with the news that the Irish always have to be worse 🙂 Irish Charity Told It Needs To Pay A License Fee To Link To A Newspaper Article. Should we laugh or cry?

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