Two stories have come to my attention today.

Wayback Machine sued: DMCA
IFPI vs Heise vs AllofMP3

The first is about a law suit being brought in the USA where an old copy of a company's web site appears in the Wayback Machine. They are claiming copyright abuse using the much discredited DMCA. Crucially, they claim that old snapshots are available even though more recent snapshots have been prohibited via a robots.txt file that is being honoured. This is a problem that I've hit on Ecademy with Google where somebody has chosen to hide their profile from Google, but Google still maintains an entry in the index and a cached copy of the page from before they made the change.

The second is about a new law in Germany, where promoting a service which is illegal in Germany is also illegal. A German magazine website that specialises in copyright issues has a link in an article to AllOfMp3, the Russian paid for music download site. They are being sued in Germany by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). And this despite the fact that they have not yet brought a case *in Germany* proving that the AllOfMp3 site is illegal under German law and within the German jurisdiction.

In my naive way, I think that both cases are absurd.

There should be some basic free speech view that linking to something illegal should not in itself be illegal.

I also think that services like Google and the Wayback machine are too useful and too important to trans-national society as a whole to hobble them.

And finally, that if you publish something on the web for public access all bets are off and it is effectively public domain in the sense that there will be copies with attribution and links to the original all over the place. Some will have limited accessibility in web caches, some will be very public like Google.

Like Doc Searls, I'm scared that this vast, free and open system will get tied down, monetized and ruined as more and more commercial and governmental interests try to control it.

This is what we are fighting, folks. The open and free marketplace the Internet provides is shortly going to look like the best darn mess of few-to-many distribution systems for "content" the world has ever known. It will not be the free and open marketplace it was in the first place, and should remain. The end-state will a vast matrix of national and private silos and walled gardens, each a contained or filtered distribution environment. And most of us won't know what we missed, because it never quite happened.
[from: JB Ecademy]

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[ 13-Jul-05 8:10pm ]