'Links To and From' FAQ
Can I Link My Site To The Library?
Can You Link The Library To My Site?
A 'Lectric Law Library FAQ
THE LIBRARY'S LINK POLICIES
LINKING TO THE LIBRARY
Our policy on other folks linking to us is very simple: We love it, so feel free - you don't need to contact us for permission before linking - except for framed type links discussed below.
We'd appreciate it if you'd link to our "Entrance" - http://www.lectlaw.com - so visitors can get an introduction to the Librarys structure, etc. - saving them and us time & confusion. However, links to any of any of the Library's html formatted "Rooms," "Lounges" or "Topic Areas" are OK.
DON'T link to any of our ASCII information files! The main reason for this is that as the Library grows and changes we sometimes modify the directory structure of the info files... which changes their addresses... which means you'll have a dead link to upset you & your visitors. (If there's a specific file you want to link to... maybe we can work something out.) And while we also discourage links to individual html legal info files, the likelihood of an address change is considerably less likely... though we don't guarantee anything.
As for framed links... While we have some serious questions about some types of them violating IP rights, at this time we're open to allowing non-deceptive ones that show the entire contents of a page... but ONLY if you first inform us so we can check it out or discuss it with you.
LINKS FROM THE LIBRARY
While the Library mentions a number of site's URLs, since the Library's existence is largely dependent on 'ad' revenues our current policy only allows links to:
1. A few major legal index sites and general net search engines [in our 'Lectric Law Links Room at www.lectlaw.com/link.html], and;
2. To clients taking advantage of the Library's 20,000+ daily hits to promote their sites and product/service. Sorry, but until a rich relative dies, if we want to eat we have no choice.
We do plan on developing a section with in-depth reviews of legal sites including non-paid links to those we especially like, but it may be some time before we get it together - like the year 3800. Meanwhile, if you're interested in a cost-effective way of boosting your site's traffic, we have some very reasonably priced products that can be aimed at your specific target clients and will get you high quality visitors like the "Magnet" - a 1000-2000 word information article aimed at your potential client's interests that has a link to your site and more. There's full info in the Inner Sanctum's Promoting Your Service... info. Contact us with any questions.
LINKS TO NON-PROFITS & SUCH
At the same time, we want to encourage & assist folks in making legal info available for free, so while we can't do an unpaid live link, if you like us to, we'll put up copies of a few of your information files. They'll probably be in ASCII text format like most of the Library's files, though we're increasingly going to html format. And while they won't have a link they will contain your site's URL and a little info about it.
If you're interested there's not really much to do. Pick a few of your files [preferably 500 - 1500 words each] that would be of broad interest, add a one or two sentence attribution at the end, your site's URL, e-mail them to us and we'll put them up in appropriate Library locations. Just make sure that the material doesn't violate anyone's rights since you're agreeing to indemnify us should such a problem arise. [see the Inner Sanctum's Contributing Material file] Let us know what you think and feel free to ask any questions.
MORE ABOUT LINKS
The following, mostly written in 1995, includes some history and background leading to our current link policies. Be aware that some of the info may be outdated and that the policies above supercede any conflicting items.
Our policy regarding links to other sites took some time to develop since the Library was faced with a number of issues not addressed very well by the Net's tradition of freely linking to any and all appropriately related sites. Bear with us and hopefully you'll see what we mean.
SOME POINTS WE CONSIDERED
In trying to develop a link policy that everyone could feel comfortable with we considered a number of issues, some of the main ones being:
1. Although there is no charge for accessing any of our legal material The Library is (at least in theory) a commercial site deriving revenue from our "clients/sponsors/advertisers." Therefore, our primary duty is to fulfill their expectation that our visitors at least be aware of their presence. And the traditional link policy just makes it too easy to go net-surfing before visitors even know most of The Library exists.
2. Our basic instinct is traditionalist in that we strongly support the Net remaining an anarchistic, spontaneous network providing and sharing free information and services to/with everyone. And we like the typical site's link practices and the free-flowing spontaneity they provide. We're against government, business, self-appointed do-gooders, or majority rule deciding what is and isn't allowed. (Besides setting technical standards the Net needs to function.) We're uncomfortable with the recent influx of commercial concerns and their often misguided view of what the Net was, is, or should be. We believe the only thing that should govern the Net - besides the Library staff of course - is common sense, mutual respect, and the free choice of its users ... kind of a virtual free market (though execution of invasive spammers and a few other obnoxious "Netizens" might be nice).
3. As mentioned, the Library has to get revenue somewhere. Given other sites are using links as revenue producers, and the fact that links are a type of advertising, and that having a link in the Library will get you additional exposure, visitors and revenue...
4. We greatly appreciate the many sites that have prominent links to The Library. But if we linked to all of them the Library would end up little more than a splinter of content awash in a forest of links -- like too many sites already are. Still, it feels more than a little weird to encourage others to link to us and not reciprocate in some way.
5. As a commercial site we're capitalists... and like all capitalists we're in competition with everyone else to be the best, biggest and most profitable. Whoever dies with the most toys - wins! Get out of the way, Bill Gates, or we'll chop you up and eat you for breakfast!!! You don't see Chrysler helping Ford... or Macys advertising Gimbels... or Proctor touting Gamble... Oh hell... you know what we mean.
THE RESULTING POLICY
After considering everything, we first came up with: "No pay - no link, but anyone that links to us gets $1,000,000." This was our Head Librarian Ralf's idea. Of course Ralf thinks that money's anything that's bright and colorful... and if it tastes good it's big money. He tried to pay the IRS with M&Ms and when the Tax Court Judge asked him . . . but that's another story. Fortunately, calmer, less organically damaged minds came up with our actual link policy.
IF YOU DON'T LIKE OUR POLICY
We expect there to be some criticism, especially about charging for links -- we're not entirely comfortable with it ourselves. But be aware that the new [as of 7/95 when the original FAQ was written] policy isn't set in stone -- we're open to other ways to go. So please contact us if you have any ideas how we can improve it. Just realize that we get enough unconstructive moaning, whining and bitching from Ralf, so any from you won't be appreciated.
Note: We were surprised and pleased that the only comments we got were from folks who basically agreed with our policy. Interestingly enough, most of them also expected lots of people to be pissed off. Also, in the little surfing we've had time for we noticed a number of sites that have started charging for links. However, we saw no hint at any of them of our neurotic self-justification and angst so clearly displayed above -- Those insensitive, self-righteous scum!!