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Dear Edinburgh Fringe Website

Dear Fringe Website,

Your terms and conditions make me sad.

I work with the Web Science Trust and some of the big names in the Semantic Web and I was hoping I would be able to create “linked data” for the fringe festival. Linked data is the technique being used to publish government data on data.gov.uk and, according to Sir Tim Berners Lee, is the future of the web.

If I was able to do this (which I would happily do for free and with no bother to you), it would result in dozens of websites and phone apps remixing the fringe guide. While I’m sure your own iPhone app will be good (although I have a android phone, so no use to me), it would have been exciting to have 100′s of people providing alternate ways to work with the programme, and far more in the spirit of the fringe. Sadly it looks like the rules have been written from the perspective of advertising revenue and control, rather than fostering creativity and experimentation.

The Fringe will be awesome without linked data, but it could be and should be awesomer.

- Christopher Gutteridge.

ps. You really should rethink the policy “About linking by hypertext to our website” as it is unrealistic and draconian. I broke the terms and conditions by mentioning your URL in an unauthorised tweet.

Posted in Uncategorized.


9 Responses

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  1. Nick Gibbins says

    There’s nothing that says “we don’t understand the Web” as much as the requirement that people should ask for permission before linking.

    I hope that you’re going to mail them the URI of this page and ask for permission to link to them.

  2. Rich Osborne says

    I’d really like to see those terms & conditions tested in court re. linking to their website. There may be no explicit precendent as yet, but I think it’s fair to say that there have been enough cases to predict that the Fringe will lose. A high profile case with something like this might be enough to make others think twice about similar ludicrous ideas.

    Will tweet about this – including links to the necessary items – to spread the word.

    Shame about the Linked Data – I’m on Android too. Apple have done a great job of convincing non-specialists that they are the only phone to worry about it seems. Trouble is it’s become mainstream, and there’s me thinking the Fringe was – well, supposed to about the Fringe. I guess it’s got mainstream too!

  3. Christopher Gutteridge says

    The thing is, while the restriction on creating links is daft and probably unenforceable, the fringe programme is clearly a copyright work which they created, own, and only provide under their own terms.

    I have no worries about linking to them. I think they would have to reasonably go after everybody linking to them: 783 so far: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=link%3Aedfringe.com

    However, they clearly have an enthusiastic lawyer and it won’t do any good to create a public notion that linked data = pirate data. Even if data.gov is sharing large datasets via bittorrent!

  4. Mike says

    Here’s another dumb one.

    “You may only link to the site with the express written permission of the City of Mandurah. Any links, if allowed, must only link directly to the Site’s homepage (and no other pages within the Site) unless otherwise agreed by the City of Mandurah in writing.”

    http://www.mandurah.wa.gov.au/terms_and_conditions

  5. Brian Kelly says

    Hi Chris
    I can’t find the policy “About linking by hypertext to our website” on their page – maybe your post has been influential in getting them to remove it. If so, well done :-)

    • Christopher Gutteridge says

      Well, I think the Guardian blog picking it up helped a bit! It’s not really the bit I cared about as it was unenforceable, but hopefully this will improve the public understanding and demand for open events data.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Please don’t read this post about the Edinburgh Fringe website | Breaking News linked to this post on June 29, 2010

    [...] is a point to this line of questioning, which is driven by a post by Chris Gutteridge at Southampton University. He pointed to the absurd Ts&Cs, writing: “I work with the Web Science Trust and some [...]

  2. Please don’t read this post about the Edinburgh Fringe site – or click the links | The Arts Blogs linked to this post on June 29, 2010

    [...] is a point to this line of questioning, which is driven by a post by Chris Gutteridge at Southampton University. He pointed to the absurd Ts&Cs, writing: “I work with the Web Science Trust and some of [...]

  3. Please don’t read this post about the Edinburgh Fringe site – or click the links linked to this post on March 13, 2011

    [...] is a point to this line of questioning, which is driven by a post by Chris Gutteridge at Southampton University. He pointed to the absurd Ts&Cs, writing: “I work with the Web Science Trust and some of [...]



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