20th > July > 2003 Archive

Epson, we don't have a problem

The Dutch Consumer Association Consumentenbond has admitted a cock-up in calling on its 650,000 members to stop buying Epson inkjet printers. It has withdrawn this advice, issued last week, after conceding that the "deceptive smart chip" used in Epson inkjet cartridges was not deceptive after all. The chip indicates a change of cartridge is required, even though there is enough ink left to print another 50 pages or so. The consumer group now concedes that this residual ink is necessary to run the printer properly, and that punters are not short-changed by the technology. In a statement released on Friday, Consumentenbond said it regretted making the mistake, but is rather less gracious elsewhere: "Epson has managed to convince us of the fact that they're not acting deceptively, or playing any tricks," Ewald van Kouwen, a spokesman for the organisation said, AP reports. According to the newswire, Epson last week conducted an "advertising onslaught" in the Dutch press, arguing its case. We guess that Consumentenbond's humiliating public climbdown will be enough to stave off a lawsuit. Next stop for Epson could be an offensive in the UK, where the Consumer Association's Which? Magazine this month questioned also the value of Epson Intellidge-powered cartridges. As we reported at the time: But, after bypassing this system a Which? researcher was able to print many more pages at accepted quality before the ink ran dry. In one instance the researcher printed 38 per cent more pages during the tests. The least amount of extra pages he was able to print of on an Epson printer was 17 per cent. We haven't seen any UK press releases or ads contradicting this yet. Have you? ® Related stories Epson, we have a problem Printer ink seven times more expensive than Dom Perignon Lexmark unleashes DMCA on toner cartridge rival EU tells HP et al to scrap inkjet 'clever chips' EU probes HP over ink prices
Drew Cullen, 20 Jul 2003

Deep links are legal in Germany. Official

Deep-linking has won the legal thumbs-up in Germany. The Germany Federal Court of Justice ruled Friday, July 18, that Paperboy, an online search engine, neither violated copyright nor competition law. According to Links & Law, a web site which campaigns against legal attempts to stop deep linking, the plaintiffs' argument against the headline scraper was that such deep links are illegal, because they "take users directly to news articles, bypassing introductory pages and advertising, thus depriving the plaintiffs of revenue from their advertisements". Couldn't the plaintiff, publishing firm Verlagsruppe Holtzbrinck, sell more advertising on the traffic generated by deep-links to interesting storys? Most Internet publishers welcome a deep link to a story, courtesy of a Slashdot or a Drudge Report, or a prominent position on Google News. They know this traffic ain't going to come along every day, and they know it ain't "their" traffic. People who use news headline scrapers are news junkies rather than website brand loyalists and they aren't going to come in through the front page just to find the one story that they want to read, which they only know they want to read because they saw the headline on the news scraper. The German court also thought the plaintiff's demand that users must start with the home page was unreasonable, says Links and Law. "The court stressed the importance of deep links for the internet and held that it is up to the plaintiffs to prevent deep links with technical measures, if they don't like them. The court did not answer the question if the circumvention of these measures would be illegal." Unhidden Depths In March 2003, another case brought by Holtzbrinck subsidiary Mainpost against Newsclub.de, a news headline aggregator, for deep-linking was terminated, following a cease and desist agreement. However, it was accepted that the legality or otherwise of deep linking was to be established by the Paperboy case, a Newsclub.de press release said at the time. Germany's Copyright law, in common with other EC member countries, is soon to change, so the deep-linking argument could be resurrected in a later date. Without deep linking, the Internet as we know it, Jim, would collapse. You couldn't have a search engine, for example. But some grey areas do need to be addressed. Many publishers are moving to curtail or block permanent deep links, as more free content moves behind registration screens or is shepherded after a few days into paid-for archives. This month for instance, The NY Times confirmed that it was talking to Google over removing copies of articles cached on the search engine's servers. More problematic is deep linking to commercial Internet databases without the permission of the content owner. By far the most prominent dispute concerning this was in the US courts between Ticketmaster and Microsoft in 1999. The case was settled out of court with MS agreeing to stop deep linking to Ticketmaster's services. However the definitive case, establishing the legality of deep linking in the US, was in March 2000, when Ticketmaster lost a similar case against Tickets.com. ® Some Deep Links Germany: deep linking lunacy continues Guest editorial by Christian Kohlschütter, NewsClub.de Search Engine Watch: Deep Linking Lunacy Bechtold: The Link Controversy Page Jakob Nielsen: Deep Linking is Good linking
Drew Cullen, 20 Jul 2003