Lawyers just don’t understand!

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince got it wrong when they said “Parents just don’t understand”. I believe it is lawyers who just don’t understand… the internet.

There has been a fairly loud laugh and a collective head shaking as intelligent people attempt to understand how a U.S. firm feels that not only is the content of their site the property of the owner – and it is – but the HTML code that allows your browser to view it is also property of the owner. Not only is it their property but you are forbid from viewing it [the HTML]. In addition, this firm attempts to prevent you from linking to them, or referring to them, without permission. The firm Inventor-Link is represented by the law firm Dozier Internet Law – and I assume advised by them – who have recently attempted to prevent another site from posting one of their take down letters, citing it as intellectual property. A letter from a firm who think that is possible is likely neither intellectual nor property but most likely, a document filled with such verbose legalese that it only attempts to scare and confuse the target into submission.

All these two firms are demonstrating is a general misunderstanding of internet technology and I hate to point it out, the law.

To the first point I will simply state that in order view a web page a browser must make a temporary copy [cache] of the information in order to display it to the viewer (if you are uncomfortable with this do not post anything online as this is simply how it works). If viewing the HTML is violation then certainly copying is as well. To the second point I will remind everyone that it is a long standing legal precedent that you are free to link to, cite appropriately, and criticize properly, any site you wish. Such as I am now. How either firm figures this is helping them is beyond me.

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