Whirled blocks access to PDF files

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Congratulations to the Tulsa World on taking responsibility for protecting access to online material that they claimed they wanted to protect. Now, if you follow a link to a PDF page, such as this one picked at random from a Google search, you get a PDF file that says "PDF permission denied!" with instructions and links to log in for access. Some PDF files, pertaining to special reports, are still accessible, but I assume they correspond to freely avaliable HTML files.

A website owner is within his rights to limit access to his online content, but he is also responsible to take technological measures to enforce those limits. If you put something on the web, you have to assume that anyone can and will get to it, even if you don't make it easy to navigate to the page.

This move contradicts the claim by World publisher Bobby Lorton that the PDF files were premium content, but they had no way to protect them. As I said in reply, they could if they really wanted to. It appears I was right.

This move marks the World's further retreat from Googlespace. Put up enough barriers for people to find out what you have to say, and pretty soon people will cease to care.

UPDATE: One more thought -- this move also demonstrates that a link to website content in no way interferes with the ability of the website owner to control access to that content. I haven't changed a thing on BatesLine -- all of the links to pages on tulsaworld.com are still there -- but now only tulsaworld.com subscribers can read the content.

Meanwhile, the Coalition for Responsible Government, which is pushing to recall Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, continues to display the full text of 69 Tulsa World articles on a single page, and the full text of a further seven articles on another, apparently unchallenged by the copyright owner, who claims to be unaware of the infringement.

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Michael Bates had a post today regarding the Tulsa World and their new found ability to block those pesky linkers to their PDF files. Here is a snippet of his post - Congratulations to the Tulsa World on taking responsibility for protecting access t... Read More


I agree with you that they have the right to protect their content, and also with you that you have an absolute right to link to anything you want.

I regret their decision to move in the direction they did, to make it more difficult for someone to criticise them and fully document what the criticism is directed at.

This will not prevent people (you or anyone else) from criticising what is written, it just means that it will be more difficult for someone reading your criticism to see what they actually wrote, and to think for themselves whether or not they agree with the criticism.

I wish they would go the other way and open their website to free access by everyone like many other newspapers do, and therefore allow people who both support and who oppose what they write, to be able to see exactly what they said.

Mike Shockley said:

New to commenting on web logs but noted your ‘legal issue’ with the Tulsa World. This has been attempted in other areas including at least one major metro area – Dallas, TX. The paper had a legal firm threaten a community activist blogger (in 2002 no less) for an alleged crime called ‘deep linking.’ This sounds quite similar to the Whirled’s claims about ‘copyrighted material, opening a channel, etc.’ The Dallas Morning news used the ‘novel’ legal approach that deep linking deprived the DMN of ‘advertising revenues.’

Heh. No joy at Belo. The story notes 1998 attacks from the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times vs. freerepublic.com. So Batesline is in good company.

URL: http://www.barkingdogs.org/barkingdogs_archives/belo_tells_bd_-_deep_six_the_d.HTM

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 19, 2005 10:26 AM.

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