Wayback Machine will no longer archive pages if owners object and the story of a weird Web site - www.profane-justice.org
I've worked in the legal field for close on 20 years, and keep an eye on various law-related blogs because of this. An article published on Overlawyered piqued my interest today - it talks about a lawsuit between Suzanne Shell and Internet Archive wherein Shell sued Internet Archive for archiving her site.
Original lawsuit: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/waybackshell.pdf (sourced from http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2007/03/can_a_spider_en.htm)
Overlawyered article: http://www.overlawyered.com/2007/05/wayback_machine_we_wont_archiv.html
The lawsuit has now settled according to a press release:
http://www.knowyourcourts.com/Shell/06cv01726/2007-04-25_pressRelease_.pdf (sourced from http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2007/05/april_2007_quic.htm)
Overlawyered refers to an article dated 25 April by WebProNews which deepened my interest even more - the article discusses the lawsuit *and* other goings-on involving Ms Shell. WebProNews reports that in the original lawsuit Shell apparently accused Internet Archive of conversion, civil theft, breach of contract and violations of both federal racketeering and Colorado organized crime legislation.
WebProNews article: http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/04/25/webmaster-settles-with-ia-goes-after-teenager
The accusations against Internet Archive are unbelievable enough in and of themselves, but WebProNews also reports that Shell contacted the FBI about, and also published on her site, the name, address and contact details of a 15 year old boy, Jeff Veillette, in retaliation for Jeff framing her Web site and daring Shell to take action against him. An amazing catfight between Shell and Veillette ensued.
WebProNews article about Internet Archive, Shell and Veillette:
WebProNews also questioned whether it is even legal to publicize the name, address and contact details of a legal minor.
Ok, this is all too weird. Who the heck is this Shell woman and what's the big deal about her site? I decided to take a look at www.profane-justice.org, only to be confronted by even more weirdness. (You will need to refresh the page to view it if you click on my link – at the time of preparing this edit Suzanne is trying to block attempts to access her site via links on Spyware Sucks - oh well, at least we know we have her attention - maybe she will remove the block once she realises we are on to her)
The Web page immediately triggered the following warning:
Why the hell does profane-justice.org want to access the Clipboard on my local PC? There is absolutely no legitimate reason that I can think of that justifies the Web site's attempt. I had never visited the site before, I was attempting to load the entry page.
It makes me wonder if Shell is trying to access the Clipboard so that she can check for her own site content, match that to IP address, and sue the ass out of whoever it is she discovers. Sorry Shell, but if that is why you are doing it, the end does not justify the means. Trying to access the Clipboard of all visitors is a major invasion of privacy,
The alert occurred again when I accessed this page:
(Again, try refreshing the page if it does not load - at the time of editing wildblue.net was not trying to block visitos from this site, but who knows, that may change. Now that we have her attention, perhaps Suzanne would care to explain via a comment why her site triess to access a visitor's clipboard?)
Not only that, on several pages I saw this alert:
Which, if you clicked on cancel, resulted in this:
All right, we get it, you don't want anybody to copy your page content, but the question of HOW and WHY www.profane-justice.org (again, refresh to view the page if you use that link) is trying to access my Clipboard remains unanswered. I must consider the possibility that the site may have been hacked because there is no good reason to try and access the Clipboard of every single visitor to the site's entry page, even people who have never visited before and have had no opportunity to attempt to copy content on the page that, to be completely frank, is of no great interest to me in the first place.
I right clicked on the entry page to view the source code in an attempt to work out how/why profane-justice.org is trying to access my Clipboard, and saw this:
Ok, that's not a problem. The standard fix for such an error is to add the Web site to IE's restricted zone, neutralising the scripting that blocks access to the page's source, so that's what I did. I then reloaded the page, only to be confronted by:
Sorry, but I have to say that the actions of profane-justice.org and its owner are just too weird. It is a Web site that:
- has gone to great lengths to protect copyright
- attempts to access the Clipboard of visitors (a privacy risk for visitors)
- blocks access to the page source
- has publicized the contact details of a 15 year old legal minor,
and it's owner has accused Internet Archive of violations of both federal racketeering and Colorado organized crime legislation. I wonder if Ms Snell will get all up-in-arms about my comments, my capturing screen shots of her alert messages and the page that appears if you add her site to IE's Restricted Sites zone - if she does get huffy again, it would be wise of her to bear in mind that I'm not a 15 year old boy and that I am much harder to bully.
BTW, for those of you that may be interested, when you are considering the use of copyright material you should always keep in mind the doctrine of Fair Use.