I was accused of arrogance yesterday. A case, I’m thinking, of the pot calling the kettle black.

My mind boggles at the hubris it must require to post something to the internet and then expect to control inbound links. It’s as if a pretty girl stood naked in the middle of a public street and then demanded that no one look at her nudity without first obtaining her permission.

Such a girl should understand: she gave her permission when she took off her clothes.

Imagine you were standing in the appreciative crowd, and the pretty girl singled you out. Imagine she pointed and said: “You! I don’t like you! You’re rather tasteless, and I must request that you cover your eyes at once lest your viewing demean my artfully nude performance! Your crude gaze defiles the beauty I so freely share with all these others!”

Would you comply? Or would your jaw drop in amazement that anyone could seriously think it was a reasonable request?

Color me amazed.

  1. Danor commented on March 10th, 2005:

    What I gather from her comments is that, the way she looks at it, it’s rather as if she went out in her own backyard, where she had assembled a few people for a private show, assuming people would have the courtesy only to enter her back yard through her house, only to discover that you had set up an alternate gateway into her backyard that she knew nothing about, and were urging people to come in and stare.

    I agree it’s somewhat naive to look at the Internet this way, and I personally welcome links, but one should always try to see the other person’s side.

  2. Spankboss commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Danor, you may well be right about her point of view. But if so, “somewhat naive” is a breathtaking understatement.

    It’s not so much that I can’t understand the point of view, as that I consider it a very dangerous one. Accomodating that point of view would destroy much of the utility of the internet. If linkable objects on the internet may not be freely linked to, the internet is broken. And I love it too much to help break it.

  3. anon commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Forget about her, I love your site. Keep up the good work, please.

  4. Invidia commented on March 10th, 2005:

    I realize that it has now become a matter of pride, but I do wish you would remove your link to those detestable people. Never have I seen such an outrageous combination of ignorance and arrogance all on one site – and they manage to insult the American political system while they are at it. But keep in mind, they are not “Americophobes” at all. . . . yeah right! However, my favorite part is where she sends the letter accusing you of ignorance and discourteous behavior instead of seeking to find a mutually beneficial and friendly end to the situation – and then she threatens you with her Dom. Ooooo, I’ll bet you were all aquiver! She then proceeds to use the word “forthwith” in what I can only assume is an attempt to dazzle you with her brilliance or frighten you with her facility with legal terms. My guess is that they became aware of your egregious legal infringement when they actually began to see that there were some visits to their site. You see, they want a membership to allow people to view their work (spyware? elitism? Americophobia?), and you were just allowing the mensch to rush in without regard to the delicate balance. Oh dear dear dear, there goes their neighborhood!

  5. Invidia commented on March 10th, 2005:

    While I’m at it, let me say too that there on cerryn’s blog are the lyrics to an Al Stewart song. Though I have no argument with their taste in music, do you suppose they contacted Mr. Stewart first to obtain his permission? I see no notice of such. Tsk tsk tsk. . . Mr. Stewart should write them a kind letter like the one you received, Spankboss. One that accuses them of ignorance and indifference, of discourteousness and arrogance all at the same time. I imagine he would never have wanted his lyrics to be included in such a vulgar site, eh? LMAO!

  6. SpankBoss commented on March 10th, 2005:

    LOL! Invidia, I was all aquiver indeed. I quivered so hard I almost spilled my drink. And then I stopped laughing.

    The Dom in question actually did write me a much more polite letter, although the effect was rather spoiled by the pissy insults he blogged.

    The links do have to stay, but not just as a matter of principle. Laughter is the best medicine for this sort of thing.

  7. TheBoss commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Hmmm, I guess the concept of ‘fair use’ isn’t in their vocabulary. Rather, they are like petulant children when things don’t work exactly and only the way they want them to.

    Perhaps they are merely ignorant. Here, then, is some knowledge:

    Here’s the FIRST paragraph from that page:
    “Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials forpurposes of commentary and criticism. For example, if you wish to criticize a novelist, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the novelist’s work without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copyright owners could stifle any negative comments about their work.”

  8. katy commented on March 10th, 2005:


    “We also hope that this might serve as a caution to other bloggers who publish erotic and/or intimate material in their weblogs…. Some of the rest of you, though, who perhaps perceive these logs as more “private” than they in fact are, may wish to think twice before you post erotica in the future.”

    Private = a log on a password protected site, a journal on your private computer, or (gasp!) a paper and ink diary in your nightstand. The internet isn’t about privacy. The internet is for exhibitionists.

  9. Chev commented on March 10th, 2005:

    I’m a man of years so I have to try to attain a certain amount of decorum.

    However, to these people at this particular website I have to say “Get real!”

    You did nothing but point out a website and (gasp) share another persons insights and views.

    You had the courtesy to include her website.

    Many people went to her website due to your sharing of the link.

    She should be a bit grateful, but she’s rather disrespectful for a submissive.

    Oh, and yes, how DARE you have porn advertisement on a BDSM/Ds Blog! Imagine! Next you’ll hear of cursing going on at a football game, or violence at a hockey tournament.

    There, I vented. Let’s go have a beer, TheBoss, and sit and look at invidia’s latest art work. Living well is the best revenge of all.

  10. Sarah commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Ooooooo! He does *know* a very good hacker! Would someone like to point out to him that his friend is a criminal? What sort of ethics are those?

    I am surprised he didn’t pull the old ‘my cane is bigger than your cane’ comparison, or is he saving that for another day?

    (Pssst Spankboss? I have always found arrogance rather sexy in a man. The other guy was ignorant, and that makes a world of difference.)

  11. Spankboss commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Well, it looks like he’s going for the “we are going to pick up our marbles and go home, we don’t like this playground anymore” strategy.

    As for arrogance, that’s good to know. I guess it’s *unjustified* arrogance that’s so common, and so ugly.

  12. Kam commented on March 10th, 2005:

    It kinda seems like common courtesy to me that if they request you take the link down you do so. I am not all that interested in whether you have legal right to post it… People can do all sorts of things and hide under the umbrella of legality.

  13. SpankBoss commented on March 10th, 2005:

    Kam, it’s not about the law for me at all. (Which is why I removed their text despite my legal right to use it – there being no good reason not to apply common courtesy in that case.) Rather, this is about an important philosophical point about the purpose of the internet.

    Bottom line for me is that I’m not willing to help people who don’t understand what the internet is for spread their lack of understanding any further. If I removed the links, it would help spread the meme that it’s OK to break the internet by trying to control who links to you.

    I’m far more concerned about resisting that meme than I am about courtesy. Some things in life are worth fighting for. The internet is one of them. And in any fight, courtesy is usually an early casualty, although I do my best.

  14. x commented on March 10th, 2005:

    sounds to me like they drink far too much coffee – or are not getting enough sex ;)

  15. cypher.66 commented on March 10th, 2005:

    If I was in their shoes I would apreciate the traffic you sent their way,although I dont know how many repeat hits theyll get seeing as how pretentious and stuck up they seem.I mean how dare you excerpt their literarary genius next to an advert for porn!

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