Linking is just too risky

University of Bergen assistant professor of law Knut Martin Tande was recently interviewed about his doctoral thesis on “Linking to other people’s material on the www” and possible infringements on intellectual property law. The punchline is saved until the last paragraph (my transl.):

“”And your doctoral thesis will be published on the web, so that we can link to it?”

“No, it will be published as a book, and won’t be posted on the web. At least not yet,” the candidate smiles. He knows how to defend his intellectual property, this man”.

Indeed. Take a look at his official university homepage (to be fair, there’s a brief description of the thesis posted another place on the university’s website). I’m afraid this is quite representative of Norwegian professors’ web presence. I guess most of them a) don’t see the point, or b) would like to be left alone as much as possible. I’m afraid that Mr. Tande comes in the a) category, although it might appear obvious to others that it should be possible to link to a thesis about linking. If he had posted drafts while he was working on it, it might even have become a better thesis. Who knows?

A pre-blogger’s blog PR

Former Netzeitung colleague Christoph Schultheis (hi, csch!) probably draws more readers to Bildblog after the New York Times/IHT portrayed him recently. What doesn’t come through in the article, but should be duly noted in weblog and internet history, is that Christoph was co-responsible for a very early example of the journalism weblog genre that premiered back in November 2000. In the daily “Altpapier” (paper for recycling) column the media stories of the German newspapers were chronicled, commented, criticized and satiricized and of course linked to, and the first version was posted already around 9 in the morning. Here’s the very first column from November 6, a test piece before the real launch on Nov 8, as far as I remember. Other writers took turns with the column, but Christoph wrote over 300 of them over a period of 18 months. I think it’s fair to call the Altpapier (which is still going strong), a weblog, although we didn’t think of the term at the time. It’s success shows we were onto something important, and I only regret we didn’t continue to experiment with the format. It could easily have been used in other sections of the website.