Links and the law…Gartner, Redmonk and a url….

There is nothing like a bit of IP law to spice up the blogsphere. Scobleizer and co picked up on this too, so James is probably getting more hits than an italian defender. I hope that this doesnt become another web 2.0 O’Reilly type fiasco though. I’m not sure we need a bunch of copyright vigilantes so soon after the trademark lot.

James of Redmonk has been asked-told-demanded etc by Gartner to remove a link from his blog, because it may contravene the Gartner licensing conditions. (I haven’t seen the Gartner letter though)

As part of my LLM a few years ago, we looked at linking, framing and copyright, and I recently heard an excellent talk on this at the computer law group in London. That said, I’m no expert in copyright law.

I browsed through my notes, and came across this.

links are references to Internet addresses, i.e. statements of locations without original content, which fall under the category of facts. As such, they cannot be copyrightable according to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) or any other copyright legislation, for that matter.

If James merely linked to the url, then it seems there is no grounds for any kind of copyright infringement. If I remember rightly, James’ post linked to the copy of the report on the SAS website. (I’m assuming that SAS have the right to post the report. If they don’t, then that is a different can of worms, SAS’ use of the report would be governed by the Gartner terms   There was a case in the US with Apple that is worth a look at.)

A couple of years ago the German courts ruled that

The court stressed the importance of deep links for the internet and held that it is up to the plaintiffs to prevent deep links with technical measures, if they don’t like them.

I’m not a lawyer, but I really cant see how Gartner can stop you linking to a url.

The out-law site is a great source of legal related stuff, run by a major law firm. Well worth a visit. The editor made the following comment about the apple case, it applies here too.

There are only a few situations where linking causes a problem. Linking to dodgy material is one of them. Another is when the linking is systematic, as with news aggregation or ‘scraping’ services. But most other objections to deep linking will find little or no support in law.

I find the Gartner stuff useful in my job, it is often insightful, and helps me understand the market better. When I get a report via email though, I sometimes wonder, “am I actually allowed to be reading this?” I don’t like that feeling.

BTW. The report costs 495 dollars if you buy it from the Gartner site, but is free on the SAS site?.

I find their licensing and quoting process so complicated that I just don’t bother using it with customers anymore. Life is too short to get approval for quotes.

I started to read James’ stuff because it was free, and easy to access. No walls. See more on that here. I carry on reading it because it is insightful and grammatically refreshing.

The blogsphere is good for independent analysts. I read more blog stuff now than I do traditional analysts.  You should also check out Dale Vile from Freeform Dynamics.  My must reads from Dale.

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