Sunday, 29 July 2012

"This is for everyone"

I am not watching the Olympics - I think sport, and any celebration of it, is loathsome - but I did hear that the Olympic opening ceremony featured Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. For example, from CNET News, Berners-Lee, Web take bow at Olympics.
The opening ceremony of this summer's London Olympics obliged that sentiment, as Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee got the star treatment during the extravaganza.

A hip-hoppy dance routine featuring legions of fist-pumping club-types gave way as a stage-set suburban house rose from the ground to reveal a lone keyboard jockey surfing away in solitude.

None other than Berners-Lee it was, and with a flick of his wrist, he lit up the stadium with a grandly flashing tweet: "This is for everyone."
I recall that on a number of occasions, Sir Tim has (rightly, in my view) vigorously criticised the egregious practice of commercial organisations operating a 'legal chill' to prevent hyperlinks to their sites. For example:
It is difficult to emphasize how important these issues are for society. The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, for example, addresses the right to speak. The right to make reference to something is inherent in that right. On the web, to make reference without making a link is possible but ineffective - like speaking but with a paper bag over your head.
- Tim Berners-Lee, Axioms of Web Architecture / Links and Law: Myths, 1997
It's highly ironic, then, to see the terms of use for the London 2012 official website:
5. Linking policy
a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted.
So, as Padraig Reidy of Index on Censorship comments at Free Speech Blog, "You’re only allowed [to] link to the official site of the Olympics if you’re going to say nice things about the Olympics."

- Ray

1 comment:

  1. And then there is Mitt the Twitt disparaging the effort. The man can't get one foot out of his mouth fast enough to put the other in. God help us if he wins in November.
    But, we knew the bustards would take control anyway. What drives me batty is when you have to watch a 10-20-30 second commercial to see a tidbit of video. Here's to the good old days.