Court Rules Against "Deep Citations"

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, June 20, 2002

from the read-page-256-go-to-jail dept.

TOLEDO, OHIO -- In a stunning decision, a Federal judge ruled that a graduate student at Northern Ohio Ivy Minor League College violated copyright law by including a "deep citation" in his research paper to a copyrighted magazine article he used as a source.

"This is a victory for publishers everywhere," said Mr. Vull Churr, lawyer representing Random Lawsuit Home, Inc. "No longer will readers be permitted to bypass the table of contents -- along with the advertising -- within our magazines. We want them to have a full and complete reading experience. That will only happen if scholars stop directing readers to specific page numbers and instead encourage them to browse through the whole magazine issue and thus appreciate the full context of the work."

The judge ruled that any "deep citation" including a page number or chapter title must be pre-approved by the publisher in writing. "If you flip to a specific page in a magazine and read the content while bypassing the advertisements, then you are a thief," the judge wrote in his decision, which was apparently lifted straight out of a Random Lawsuit Home press release.

"Does anybody have airplane tickets and an entry visa for a country that doesn't have lawyers?" the losing defendant said. "I simply can't believe this decision. If Random Home is so paranoid about 'deep citations', why don't they use technical means to prevent the problem? Why not simply print several versions of each magazine issue in which the articles appear at different, random page numbers in each one? That would make it impossible to link to a specific page. For that matter, why have page numbers at all?"

Right on cue, the USJEOEACDICL (Union of Slashdot Junkies Expressing Outrage at Every Asinine Court Decision Involving Copyright Laws) issued a statement expressing outrage at this asinine court decision involving copyright laws. Unfortunately, we cannot include their statement here because it includes deep citations to several books about copyright law. Our lawyer, Mr. Noah Morals, pointed out that the Humorix legal defense fund currently includes only 15 cents, which is not quite enough protection against the barrage of deep linking lawsuits that would likely result.

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