May 26, 2024

What's That "Followups" Link?

You may have noticed the small “Followups” link at the bottom of recent entries in this blog. That’s a feature called TrackBack. (The link previously said “TrackBack” but I’ve changed it to “Followups” since that seems a more intuitive name.) Kieran Healy offers a nice explanation of the TrackBack feature.

If you’re a reader, the Followups link lets you read what other people have written (in their own blogs) about an entry.

If you have your own blog, you can use the TrackBack feature to add yourself to that list, so readers of my blog (including me) can find your commentary. If you use Movable Type, just turn on TrackBack and the rest is easy. If you use another blogging tool, ask your tool author to add TrackBack support.

More on China's Blocking of Google

Several readers responded to my previous entry on China’s censoring of Google.

Jeremy Leader pointed out that Google offers a cached copy of any page on the Web. Google’s cache would allow easy access to any blocked page, so any effective blocker must block Google.

Seth Finkelstein points to his previous discussion of overblocking due to the “need” to censor caches, search engines, and the like. The court decision striking down CIPA (the law that required libraries to use blocking software) even mentions this:

As noted above, filtering companies often block loophole sites, such as caches, anonymizers, and translation sites. The practice of blocking loophole sites necessarily results in a significant amount of overblocking, because the vast majority of the pages that are cached, for example, do not contain content that would match a filtering company’s category definitions. Filters that do not block these loophole sites, however, may enable users to access any URL on the Web via the loophole site, thus resulting in substantial underblocking.

Given the proliferation of indices, search engines, archives, translators, summarizers, and other meta-level tools on the web, the censor’s job is getting harder and harder. The people creating such sites surely outnumber the censors many times over.

Another person explained to me how to defeat China’s blocking, using simple methods well within the capability of an average Web user. The trick has two parts. The first part is to configure your browser to use any ordinary Web proxy outside China. The second part is just as easy, but I’d rather not say what it is. This method allowed access to any blocked site from within China, as of a few months ago.

Preliminary Injunction Against Aimster

A Federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the Aimster file sharing service.

The judge found it likely that Aimster will ultimately (after all the evidence is heard) be found liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Based on a quick reading, it looks like this is based on Aimster’s involvement in promoting the available files, the use of infringing files as examples in its documentation, and on its failure to enforce its stated policy of kicking off infringers.

The opinion has some commentary on the Supreme Court’s Sony Betamax decision, hinting that Betamax established a standard based on the “primary use” of a product.

The exact terms of the injunction (i.e. what Aimster will be required to do or not do) are yet to be decided.