CPAC Quotes Templeton

Tim May tcmay at
Tue Aug 19 15:32:50 PDT 1997

I wish I'd heard about this issue a few days ago, as I was just at a party
at Brad's house on Saturday.

At 1:27 PM -0700 8/19/97, Mike Duvos wrote:

>They quote as their cite for this concept a piece by Brad Templeton,
>ClariNet owner, who apparently shares their view that links can constitute
>copyright infringement under certain circumstances.  Fortunately, Brad
>does not restrict linking to the article in question, from which I offer
>the following tiny snippet under the "Fair Use" doctrine.
> > I, and many other people initially had the intuitive feeling that it
> > could never be a violation of copyright to make a link to a web page.
> > Of late, I've come to think that this might be wrong.
>Now what CPAC objects to is people who post messages saying, essentially,
>"Look at the silly CPAC people rant and froth.  <Click Here>"
>I would suggest that CPAC is a political organization, with a very
>well-defined social agenda, which I have every right to comment on,
>and that illustrative hyperlinks in my commentary constitute "Fair Use"
>of their content.
>Am I on firm legal ground here?

I think so. Even quoting _blocks_ of someone's text is usually considered
"fair use," and there have never, to my knowledge, been any cases in which
a reference or pointer to a text was considered copyright infringement.
References, as in bibliographies, are in fact just that, references or
pointers. Saying "Go read Joseph Finder's "The Zero Hour"" is not an
infringement of any sort.

As for Web pages, it seems clear that the same logic applies. Someone who
makes their material available to anyone who follows a link cannot object
when someone else publishes that link, no matter in what context.

So, I think Brad Templeton is clearly wrong. Though, in fairness to Brad,
his views may be more nuanced than the brief excerpt above.

This topic came up a couple of times on the Cyberia-l mailing list, with
the consensus, as I recall, being that "of course" pointers and citations
are not copyrightable. They fail all the tests of length, the reasons for
copyright, etc.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."

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