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Editor's Note: AdTI Fires Cheap Shot at... Us

Jun 16, 2004, 17:30 (34 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

We must be doing something right. Because now, of all things, Linux Today has earned the direct and, once again, inaccurate scorn of...

(drum roll, please)

...The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution!

This is not the first time Linux Today has been publicly criticized, nor will it be the last. But the comments made on the home page of AdTI.net are so outrageously misleading, I felt it necessary to address them now.

On the AdTI.net home page, there is a short blurb sardonically entitled "Open Source Tip of the Day," which goes on state this: "Open-sourcers hate to pay for copyrighted material--even when it's the much-admired prose of Lee Gomes at The Wall Street Journal. How to read Gomes for free, given the strict copyright policies at Dow-Jones? Answer: click here, to be whisked to Linux Today..."

The link connects to the author search results page for Lee Gomes here on LT, which lists 24 Gomes stories that we have linked to since 1999. Many of these stories were written by Gomes for the Wall Street Journal, and the links reflect that. The links are tied to the either the Dow Jones Web sites or to alternative host sites, such as ZDNet, the Associated Press, or--irony of ironies--MSNBC.com.

The AdTI blurb implies that either the sites which host Gomes' articles are pirating Gomes' copy, or we are. It is unclear to me which is the case, thanks to the pithy, vague writing.

If AdTI is attacking ZDNet and CNET, two of the three sites mentioned in the blurb, then they are grossly in error. If any reputable site hosts an entire article, then it is always because of a cross-licensing arrangement. I have seen many instances where an author's material was clearly stolen from the original source (including my own). I will state this categorically: it is our policy to never knowingly link to unauthorized content. Ever. If we find it after the fact, it gets pulled down instantly.

As for their mentioning of Lucifer.com, I have used the search engine at my disposal on the Linux Today back-end, and according to it, we have never linked to any content on any LuciferMedia Web site. I just opened every Gomes story we have on record, and none of them link to a Lucifer.com site. This is a factual error, that, given the tone of the blurb, seems rife with malice and slander.

If AdTI is criticizing Linux Today directly, they failed to mentioned that none of those links they so carefully mentioned link to the full content of the articles. As always, only excerpts of the articles, as is allowed by fair use of copyright, are posted on Linux Today. That has been our policy from Day One, no matter who owned the site.

The only thing that AdTI got right is that yes, indeed, some of the links are not working. Notice, though, that these are the older links straight to the Dow Jones servers. These were cut off after the WSJ and Dow Jones blocked access to all deep links years ago, as is their right. There was no organized hunt by Dow Jones' lawyers; this was a universal policy they enacted for all their hosted content, and we have abided by it. The links have not been removed because, frankly, it is very difficult to clean out all obsolete links on Linux Today.

It is disappointing to see such a cavalier attitude by an organization that purports to be an intellectually based firm based in the US Capitol. (Cyncial? Me?)

Perhaps this is a form of payback for our recent links to Andrew Tanenbaum's articles lambasting AdTI's Ken Brown. If it is, it seems to have been handled in a clumsy manner.

I personally do not think this is the start of a major organized attack against Linux Today by AdTI. Personally, I think they are just getting their kicks knocking on yet another positive aspect of the Linux and Open Source community. But, once again, they only tell the half of the story they want their site visitors to hear.

Update: There is an article on this very same topic out at LinuxInsider that just went up on that site. One smidge of a clarification: the article mentions that they tried to contact the Linux Today editor for comment. It should be noted that they tried to contact my boss, Jupitermedia Editor-in-Chief Gus Venditto, who is traveling and could not reach Ms. Stapleton in time. He did manage to alert me, and Ms. Stapleton and I have spoken this afternoon.