Bandwidth Stealing on a WW website

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I'm not advertising a site or company. I have removed the URL from my signature for this reason. This is a legitimate question. I have been approached to remove all of my links because I'm stealing. I need some input, please.
If a web site has links to other sites for free plans, patterns, articles, etc, that are opened in a new window with that site's address showing in the address bar, does this constitute stealing? This is on a non-commercial site with links to 100's of Free Plans and Industry Links, of which all are of interest to woodworkers, and not requiring anything in return. I know there are many other sites doing the same thing. So, are we all breaking the law? Should we fight to maintain our sites or remove everything? I don't see where this is any different than saving the URL as a favorite in your "Favorites" folder.
All comments welcomed and appreciated.
--
Jake
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Jake Jarvis asks:

I don't know if there's a law against it or not, and if I had a site for someont to link to, in most cases, I'd be happy to have it happen, but...commercial sites tend to like to be asked about that, maybe make a trade as you link them, they link you, etc. Lots of non-commerical sites, too.

As I said, I don't know of a specific law, but it is different from saving as an URL in your folder because your site is up for public view all the time, while your folder is private.
Charlie Self If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them higher on my body.
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Charlie Self wrote:

Some places will have some kind of "if you link, please link to the top page" type of thing to avoid people linking to machine-generated pages. I haven't ever actually noticed anyone asking people not to link to their sites.
Or perhaps what the OP is referring to in a rather vague way is a situation where he has linked to some page three pages into a site, and has thus lead followers of his link to detour around the opening graphics and banner ads. "Stealing" money by encouraging people to circumvent these revenue generators.
Well, in that case, I would change links on my site to point to the money-earning page on request from the site owner, on a case by case basis. I would do this as a matter of courtesy, in recognition of the fact that quality webspace is expensive, and someone has to pay for it, but not out of fear of legal reprisal.
I don't see where there's a @$%#$!%#$!% thing anybody can do to stop me from throwing up links wherever I want. A equals HREF quote http://blah de frickin blah. If that isn't free speech, I don't know what is. This is still America, for a few more years anyway.
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The linker may be doing a service by linking directly to the page of interest. There are sites that are so badly organized that sending someone to the sites' main page will leave the surfer baffled as to how to find the page of interest.

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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 11:15:56 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Or maybe the rest of the world will take the US Supreme Court to take a running jump!!!
Not everyone lives in the US...
Andy
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Right, because certainly a court decision by the Supreme Court would have no effect whatsoever on the internet to the rest of the world.
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The important ones do.

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I'm not sure exactly which sites you might be talking about, but most "free plans" sites that I've seen also have quite a few banner ads. By giving a link directly to their plans, traffic from your site bypasses their ad pages, reducing their revenue. Your site becomes better because people can get directly to the content they want instead of having to browse through pages of ads to get to the plans. That's why it would be considered stealing. I have no idea if there is an actual legal issue, though. See if you can provide a link to some of their main pages instead of the plans themselves. This would increase their ad traffic, and you could still provide the service to your visitors.
-MJ

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Jake Jarvis wrote:

Your not breaking the law. Not as long as you just provide links. One idea; Instead of linking directly to the plans, why not link to the sites main page? I doubt they would have a problem with that.
The problem with "Hot Linking" as you are doing is that some people get confused and think the material is yours. Just link to the main site and you should be fine.
Oh, I just have to do this :) http://www.ulrickwoodworks.com
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why provide links to the mainpage instead of the plans themselves? If the page was created properly their adds would still launch even with a direct link to the plans.

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bgross wrote:

That would work as well. As long as you don't bypass the adverts by direct linking to specific files then that would be fine.
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This is one of the craziest questions I've ever seen! Who's telling you this? Do they not understand the concept of the web? Look I work for a publications company. We have several very popular Magazines. They are trade publications, controlled circulation. And we have several very popular sites that get a lot of traffic for our industry. With thousands of pages of information. All free. And traffic, is always a good thing. Sure we have banner advertisers on the sites, but sometimes people fins us through a search engine like Google, and bypass them. Not a problem, That's the way of the web. Not to mention if they didn't find out site that way, they might not have found it at all. So what would you rather have, traffic or a dead site.
Then there's the concept of qualified traffic. Which simply means they the people finding your site are the people you wan looking at your site. If the site is about woodworking, are woodworkers getting there. If your offering free woodworking plans it's no help to your advertisers if people who do a search for free plans on Google, are actually looking for house plans. Those are not quality users. But if someone puts a link on this group to a woodworking site, there's a good chance that someone going to it from this group is a quality user.
I know of no law on this subject. If you were copying content and putting it on your personal page, that's one thing, but this is just plan crazy talk.

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wrote:

The only problem I've heard about is when a website will contain a link to a Download on someone else's site -- making it possible to download a file or files without actually visiting the original site. THAT is bandwidth stealing -- you are essentially offering downloads from your website, but someone else is providing the server, storage, and bandwidth. This does not sound like what you are doing, however. Just about every woodworking website I know of has links to other woodworking sites.
tt
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Test Tickle wrote:

That makes sense.
So does the post about avoiding the sites ads by going directly to a page.
Also, many sites 'value' is determined buy the number of hits they get. That sites value is real important when it comes to selling advertising. Each opened page counts as a hit. If you subvert their hits by hot linking your driving down their value.
An excellent example is NASCAR.com (About the most useless frigging commercial web site I've seen). Theres no reason to have to go through three or more levels to get to their content. It may have changed, I don't open their pages often.
One method sites are using to stop direct linking to content is Java. I've been through some sites where the root URL never changes.
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Mark

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I don't see any problem with this at all. The internet is all about linking, and unless you're embedding their images on your webpage, or trying to pass their content as yours, or linking to a secured area of their website, there's nothing wrong with it, and I don't believe there's anything they can do about it.
How do they expect people to get to their website if another website isn't linked to it? Am I just supposed to guess their URL? Ridiculous.
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wrote:

Dump the links, walk away, get on with your life. if soeone else has their head up their ass, no need to make it ruin _your_ day.
On the whole, I wish you'd post the relevant URLs, because it would make the context a lot clearer.
If you're linking to some large corporate's site and they don't like it, then this isn't stealing, it's terrorism. http://www.rickieleejones.com/political/patriotact.htm Hey, it's your president, you fix it.
Don't go anywhere near music, or you may have flak-jacketed record-industry goons arrest you: http://theregister.co.uk/content/28/34835.html
It's not "stealing" (except in Washington) because the legal definition of stealing is firmly based on the permanent deprivation of a tangible asset. This is why phone phreaks et al needed to be charging with "abstracting electricity" and similar contrived charges.
It may be a breach of copyright, except that you're presumably linking to something that's freely available on their site, just not via the route to it they'd like you to take.
If you exploit some mechanism on their site (and this can arguably be applied to somethign as simple as de-framing some framed content) then there's scope for an action under the DMCA.
If there's any attempt by your site to represent their content as yours (perhaps a less than obvious link on your page to an unattributed PDF), then this is a clear case of "passing off" under ancient trademark laws.
Counter actions to all of these claims are possible, and a good basis is the .htaccess defence (web search for Apache and .htaccess). It is technically trivial to prevent access by any form of deep-linking that the site objects to. A site that chooses _not_ to do this is thus in a similar position to a shop that doesn't fit doorlocks, then complains about stock theft. It's not a defence, but it does considerably weaken their position.
If you're interested in any of these subjects, then a good place to begin is by reading one of Lessig's books: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
If it's your site that suffers a deep-linking problem, then just use .htaccess and fix it. Another reason not to deep-link unreasonably is the embarassment of doing it, then finding your expected image replaced automatically by something from goatse.cx (this is increasingly used against eBay image pirates)
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Could you find any less reputatble sources to back up your claims? I doubt it.
Frank
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 15:40:28 GMT, "Frank Ketchum"

Well I could have referred you to a .gov site, but they're pretty untrustworthy these days and I'm sure you can find them if you want.
Rickie Lee Jones ? A musician who has been almost entirely apolitical throughout her career, but now feels sufficiently outraged by the excesses of Bush's martial law to start protesting. That's not a bad start for credibility, IMHO. It's also quite a good, readable and accurate analysis of Last-Refuge-of-the-Scoundrel Acts 1 & 2.
As for the Register, then what do you mean ? They're the industry standard news site for the UK tech industry (in a way that "The Industry Standard" never was).
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IMHO this means precisely nill. My objection is that for some reason entertainers are given credibility for no reason other than they are well known. This phenomenon has always puzzled me. Much like Jane Fonda promoting communism in the Vietnam war. You just have to wonder sometimes.

I have no problem with the Register, but my question after reading both counts of the story is this: What are you afraid of? The subject of the story was breaking the law and he got off with a warning from someone who wasn't even an authority figure. Apparently he only cost the recording industry $624 a year. Is this nothing to worry about? If so, I will give you my address and you can send me $624 a year because I think it is significant. The law is the law.
And to play the Register's little game of meaningless mathematics, try this one. If one person can scam the RIAA out of $624 a year and everyone in America did this, the RIAA would be out $624 x 280 million = $174,720,000,000. Should they be entitled to sue for this?
Frank
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