Clickthrough licensing dreck

I’m in the middle of reviewing a hosted blogging solution for K-12 called ePals…this is to determine if it needs to be/should be included in Library Blogging. I’m reading through, when I get to a click through license. Every once in a while, I love to read these things to see the insanity they think they can impose…here’s a great example. Check this out:

V. LINKING TO THIS WEB SITE

Unless you have a written agreement in effect with ePals which states otherwise, you may only include a link to an ePals Site on another Web site if:

(a) the link is a text-only link clearly marked “www.ePals.com;”
(b) the link “points” to the ePals’ home page URL and not to other pages within the ePals Site; (c) the appearance, position and other aspects of the link does not damage or dilute the goodwill associated with ePals’ or In2Books’ brand name and trademarks;
(d) the appearance, position and other aspects of the link does not create the false appearance that any entity is associated with or sponsored by ePals;
(e) the link, when activated by a user, displays the Site’s full-screen that is not within a “frame” on the linking Web site; and
(f) the link will not be used in connection with or appear on a Web site that a reasonable person may consider offensive, obscene, defamatory or otherwise malicious.

ePals reserves the right to revoke its consent to the link at any time, in its sole discretion. If ePals revokes such consent, you agree to immediately remove and disable any and all links to ePals Sites.

To illustrate this insanity, if I were to, say…link directly to their Email description page, I would be in violation of this license. Or if I link directly to their Blog page…again, in violation.

Can you imagine a Web where people had to request the right to link to something?

3 thoughts on “Clickthrough licensing dreck

  1. The ePals blog tool won an award as “best blog for education” from Technology & Learning magazine. Based on that, I’d strongly suggest you include it in Library Blogging!

    It was the first blog designed with the input of educators — to do the things that educators wanted to see — and NOT do some things that create headaches for teachers. ePals doesn’t want to have the best general blogging tool for the whole world. ePals does seek to address the needs of teachers and principals and district administrators who want to have blogging available to students under 18 (or 13) without creating headaches for the district or the teacher.

    I’m sorry for the legal language. As the VP of education of ePals, I have forwarded your comments to our legal counsel. He’s responsible and wise, and I hope you would be open to a phone call with him this week. We welcome comments and feedback, and that’s how this company has managed to thrive for more than a dozen years.

    ePals is releasing a new version of its blog tool with more powerful capabilities, based on requests from real teachers and students, in about a month. A quality publisher such as Linworth should certainly include mention of an education industry leader like ePals.

    In Sept. 2007, ePals announced that it was making its blog tool (and also student email) free to the K12 world. What a vision to help reduce the digital divide and help all students have access to great communications tools! And the teachers of the world have certainly responded to that offer!

    As a former high school language arts teacher, I appreciate the opportunity for students to engage in authentic communication in a safe and protected environment. I like that a teacher has the power to set filtering levels so that the always inappropriate student can be monitored closely, and that “dirty word” filters can help me catch bad words even in languages I don’t speak. The power and possibilities of blogs to increase quality communication has barely begun, I think.

    Many of the ePals blogs are private, meaning that only the students or the school population can view them, not the whole world. If I’m a teacher, I don’t want extraneous comments from the general public. I want the discussions to be controlled within my educational setting…which might include a partner classroom in the building, across town or across the world. One ePals blog is jointly hosted by a teacher in China and one in San Diego; another by a teacher in New York and one in France. But the general public can’t just go in and look at these and comment on them. That wouldn’t advance the teachers’ educational goals.

    As a former district administrator of ed tech (Miami-Dade County Public Schools) I also appreciate the thought that has gone into the administrative issues and concerns in setting up the blogs. Again, the issues of classes rather than random individuals using blogs have been considered.

    If you have additional questions, please contact me so that we can share accurate and current information for your book. From the Amazon listing, it appears that this will be a valuable addition to the Linworth catalog.

    Best wishes,
    Rita Oates
    roates at corp.epals.com

  2. Can you imagine a Web where people had to request the right to link to something?

    In fact, I can—and I’d thought it had gone away five or ten years ago, but apparently it hasn’t. The ALA has an archive of stories back to 2002 about deep linking issues; the Wikipedia article on the subject refers to two court cases over ten years old: the 1996 Scottish case of Shetland Times vs Shetland News where the Times accused the News of appropriating stories on the Times’ website as its own, and

    the 1997 case of Ticketmaster v. Microsoft, where Microsoft deep-linked to Ticketmaster’s site from its Sidewalk service. This case was settled when Microsoft and Ticketmaster arranged a licencing agreement. Ticketmaster later filed a similar case against Tickets.com, and the judge in this case ruled that such linking was legal as long as it was clear to whom the linked pages belonged (emphasis added).

  3. The ePals blog tool won an award as “best blog for education” from Technology & Learning magazine. Based on that, I'd strongly suggest you include it in Library Blogging!It was the first blog designed with the input of educators — to do the things that educators wanted to see — and NOT do some things that create headaches for teachers. ePals doesn't want to have the best general blogging tool for the whole world. ePals does seek to address the needs of teachers and principals and district administrators who want to have blogging available to students under 18 (or 13) without creating headaches for the district or the teacher.I'm sorry for the legal language. As the VP of education of ePals, I have forwarded your comments to our legal counsel. He's responsible and wise, and I hope you would be open to a phone call with him this week. We welcome comments and feedback, and that's how this company has managed to thrive for more than a dozen years.ePals is releasing a new version of its blog tool with more powerful capabilities, based on requests from real teachers and students, in about a month. A quality publisher such as Linworth should certainly include mention of an education industry leader like ePals. In Sept. 2007, ePals announced that it was making its blog tool (and also student email) free to the K12 world. What a vision to help reduce the digital divide and help all students have access to great communications tools! And the teachers of the world have certainly responded to that offer!As a former high school language arts teacher, I appreciate the opportunity for students to engage in authentic communication in a safe and protected environment. I like that a teacher has the power to set filtering levels so that the always inappropriate student can be monitored closely, and that “dirty word” filters can help me catch bad words even in languages I don't speak. The power and possibilities of blogs to increase quality communication has barely begun, I think. Many of the ePals blogs are private, meaning that only the students or the school population can view them, not the whole world. If I'm a teacher, I don't want extraneous comments from the general public. I want the discussions to be controlled within my educational setting…which might include a partner classroom in the building, across town or across the world. One ePals blog is jointly hosted by a teacher in China and one in San Diego; another by a teacher in New York and one in France. But the general public can't just go in and look at these and comment on them. That wouldn't advance the teachers' educational goals.As a former district administrator of ed tech (Miami-Dade County Public Schools) I also appreciate the thought that has gone into the administrative issues and concerns in setting up the blogs. Again, the issues of classes rather than random individuals using blogs have been considered.If you have additional questions, please contact me so that we can share accurate and current information for your book. From the Amazon listing, it appears that this will be a valuable addition to the Linworth catalog.Best wishes,Rita Oatesroates at corp.epals.com

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