Eric Goldman, a Marquette Law professor who was formerly the Epinions.com general counsel, weighs in on the Google Toolbar:

From a legal standpoint, AutoLink looks questionable. The tool modifies publisher's web pages by adding hypertext links without the publisher's consent. While this modification isn't a huge change, I could still see some (many?) courts treating them as unauthorized derivative works. Honestly, it seems like a fairly routine copyright infringement.

Comments

I bought a rubber-stamp maker which allows me, should I wish, to create 'unauthorized derivative works' from print-outs of websites. Time to enjoin Office Depot?

epinions? what's that?

big deal, a guy has a law degree and worked for a dismal dotcom.

seems like a fairly obvious case of idiocy, honestly.

I don't buy that argument. As I see it, the end user uses Google Toolbar to enhance his browser's display of the original web page, analogous to hitting Ctrl-+ to increase the displayed text size on this browser, or to running one of those text-to-voice readers which people with bad eyesight use.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Goldman, who from his bio, is teaching the following subjects at Marquette Law: cyberlaw, intellectual property, copyrights, contracts, licensing and professional responsibility.

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