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Old 08-15-2001, 10:55 AM   #16
margaret
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Default quick click?

from what i recollect about quick click, it is just eaten up with aureate spyware .dlls

is this the case with toptext?
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Old 08-15-2001, 11:27 AM   #17
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Some thoughts:

1) I suggest you spend the time to read Jim's thread at GH:

http://gethighforums.com/Forum10/HTML/001386.html

2) I have seen screen shots of TopText links inserted in a publishers CJ.com control panel. CJ, are you their?

3) I have seen the same at Findwhat.com on the home page AND inside lisitngs that folks are paying money for. Imagine paying a buck a click only to have your lisitng contain links to other sites.

4) Matt or anyone, can you please take some screen captures of our members (not the big properties) sites and post the URL? Please also include a few of our merchants. This should help illustrate this issue. Send me the bill

5) I'm getting ready to call my "buddy" Leslie Walker at the Washington Post so it would be nice if I could guide her to our screen captures.

Last edited by Steve_S; 08-15-2001 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 08-15-2001, 01:44 PM   #18
JP Sauve
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Has anyone tested to see if TopText hijacks text that is already a link? Someone here had a screen shot where the word "loan" was turned into a TopText link. What if that text was already a link on the page, would the TopText link take precedence?
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Old 08-15-2001, 02:07 PM   #19
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A few things:

1 - When you consider how this "Top Text" software is installed, I doubt users are giving them explicit consent to do it. The box to pre-check it is vague and it is PRE-CHECKED! It is more of the user not saying no than them saying Yes. Two different things In fact, had I not been looking for it when I was installing KaZaA, I probably would have installed it too.

2 - This is totally different from copying CDs and such for personal use. The reason you can do stuff like that is called "Fair Use" or something like that. If I want to rip all my CDs into MP3's and stick them on a CDR to take with me so I'm not packing around 400 cds and such, thats Fair Use. I gave my money for the CD and I am entitled to listen to it and make copies for PERSONAL USE.

You can make copies for friends and such, and the record companies won't even say anything about it, but when Napster became big, why did they go after it so hard? Because it is automated and wholesale copyright infringement. Making a copy of a CD for your sister or son may fall under "Fair Use", but sticking a copy up where 500,000 people get it isn't Fair Use.

Now, how does this compare to TopText and such? If you want, you can go to my website and cover up any banner ads you see. You can print it out and give it to your cousin, friend, dog whoever and scribble out the ads if you want. But providing a means for automated, wholesale removal of ads on my site is not ok.

Another way to look at it - When I buy a CD I hand the cashier my credit cards and he/she swipes it through the machine. The store gets part of that money, as do the distributor, label, artist, etc. The consideration in this contract is the money I've paid. Once I give them that money, I have rights to listen to that CD and make copies for personal use.

The consideration when vieiwing a webpage is not usually money, but the ads on that page. If you view a page without the advertisements, or with the advertisement changed, you are not paying me and don't have rights to view that content or make copies for personal use and the like.

Plain and simple: Its like shoving a CD in your pocket and walking out of the store without paying.
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:05 PM   #20
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JP yes it will hijack an existing link

On gethigh I think they have examples of

- Toptext taking over paid links in FindWhat's results

- Toptext taking over the purchase link at a web site and sending it to a competitor's site

- Toptext taking over an advertising link (About.com) and diverting it to the same advertiser --- but in this case TopText get's credit instead of the host site (About)
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:14 PM   #21
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Hi PlanetLaunch

I still think it is legal, i had in mind proxies servers with configurable filters removing i.e advertising banners. It works in the same way - they change content and cut off webmasters revenue.

What about this software Look here : http://www.zonelabs.com/zap26_za_grid.html This adsubstract software. When i see it and imagine that my visitors can use it i hate it , but it is completly legal. Same with software discussed in this thread.


Book example - Yes sure - is your own book and u can do with it what you want. but you cannot distribute books with changed content (removed sites in this case) it is still copyright.

And user can do what he want with code on his hdd (code is changed on his own PC for his own purposes)- of course he / she should allow this software doing it, and should know that content was changed by it. If ne dont know it and in software TOS it isnt clearly said it is illegal.

You can download any copyrighted picture from the net and do what it what you want (on your own HDD)

And finally although it is legal (in my opinion) should be the way to stop it.

My idea is to add to site script checking something like control sum from html and compairing it with value shoul be. When value is different shuld dispaly info for user about changet content and dont display anything, like alere abut virus or something.

Last edited by Celtor; 08-15-2001 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:15 PM   #22
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Since it hi-jacks links, I can only imagine a newbie online. It would be like surfing in pandora's box.
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:34 PM   #23
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I put some pages up at www.jpoc.net/toptext/index.html

If the reports in here are true that toptext will actually change an existing link then one of my ideas is toast.

Also, I'm in a hurry as I have other stuff to do this evening and I don't have the time to figure out how to make some of my links and underlines look exactly like top text but I'm certain that it can be done.

If something like derision or pseudo links might be viable, I'd suggest holding off contacting the media for a little while. We'd need a system to collate and propagate info about what links and merchants top text were running but if we could get a large number of independent sites to use anti top text tactics, that might make a better news story.

Something along the lines of "large multi national company uses stealth technology to advertise on websites without paying the webmasters. But, the webmasters fight back by being cleverer than the big guys and they make the big guys look foolish."

If we could get (say) a tv business programme to run the story with that spin and perhaps get a VP of marketing for an affected advertiser to appear on TV to defend both his ethics and his intelligence, then we might just see top text die very fast indeed.

As for legality. I have my own views.

First, none of us as in IP rights lawyer so we know diddly.

But, (for what my diddly is worth) I own the copyright on my content. I grant a licence to my visitors to view that content on certain terms. Those terms include no ad blockers and they can easily include no top text. Now, if a visitor uses top text to view my content in contravention of the licence they are potentially in breach of US laws under the DMCA. Indeed, top text may count as a mechanism for breaching digital copyright under the DMCA. In that case, visitors and the operators of the top text system and also the advertisers are in breach of federal laws. If the music and movie industries can go after napster and DeCSS why cannot we use the same stick here?

Under EU laws, techniques such as deep linking and framing another's content are to be outlawed by pending legislation so this should also cover top text.

Oh, and I own the copyright to this message and I only grant you a licence to read it while you are standing on one leg with a carrot stuck up your nose.


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Old 08-15-2001, 03:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
And finally although it is legal (in my opinion) should be the way to stop it.
I agree. Either:

1) Let us submit our sites to be banned from it, ie they won't display the ads on our sites; or:

2) Force them to send a USER_AGENT string so we can tell when someone comes to our site and is using it so we can prevent the theft of our content.
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Old 08-15-2001, 04:32 PM   #25
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Hi guys,

I think prize-o-matic and celtor make good points about the legality of this insidious software. But I beg to differ.

You really can't compare this software to someone sitting at home and burning their own mix cds or editing downloaded images on their harddrive.

Reasons:
1) The individual person at home is modifying the content for their own use. They are not replacing the original content with their own degraded version for millions of other people to see (TopText).

2) The individual has seen/heard the original version of the image/music before making changes based on personal preference. TopText does not allow the website viewer to see the original version of your website at all before displaying their commercialized version.

3) The person mixing CDs at home is not doing it for financial gain.

4) The person at home is not competing with the record company. While TopText is competing with you for advertiser's money.

5) The person at home has made the CONSCIOUS decision to change the music that they will individually listen to. TopText is bundled with popular freeware and installed by default by unknowing victims.

I have also heard that this software is legit because it is similar to someone buying a newspaper and then scribbling on it.

Well, I would say wrong again. TopText is more like someone taking the whole stack of newspapers from your corner newsstand, then scribbling over every fourth word in the entire newspaper and then sliding the newspapers back into the newsstand. Multiply this by a hundred thousand to get the actual magnitude of this software.

Also just think about it - if TopText was hooked up to your radio, it would change the chorus of every song to be the company jingle of their highest paying advertiser.

Think about this too - If this virus continues to spread among internet users, why should an advertiser pay to advertise on your site? They can just pay TopText to paste ads all over your site.

I think we can all agree that this is a terrible threat to all website owners and I am quite amazed that it has been allowed to spread this far. I can't believe that companies such as Amazon, Yahoo, AOL, etc. have not destroyed this enemy.

Actually what is even more amazing is that CNet (a company that generates the majority of its revenue from advertising) is the largest distributor of this cancer. Do they not realize that they are actually helping eZula steal their own advertising revenue? Could they be so out of touch, ignorant or indifferent? If CNet owned a house, they would be helping the thief load up their truck.

It is definitely time to launch an offensive strike.
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Old 08-15-2001, 04:43 PM   #26
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"My idea is to add to site script checking something like control sum from html and compairing it with value shoul be. When value is different shuld dispaly info for user about changet content and dont display anything, like alere abut virus or something."

Great idea Celtor! Could an SSI be developed to redirect the TopText visitor?

There must be a way to detect that TopText is being used? If they use a particular user_agent than that would be easy. Checking the file length as viewed by the browser, then I am not sure how to do that.
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Old 08-15-2001, 04:47 PM   #27
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Just wanted to add that when user dont know about it, and he/she thinks that advertisements where added by webmaster it is completly illegal.

It works in this case like proxy or filter but changes content withouth user knowledge.

Look, in this case all ISP and even routers producers,and lol modems, yeah lets make modem, give it for free to users and add ads to transfered html

could add own adveritements as kind fee for using they network devices.
Hmm it would be illegal,

I bet that software producer has info about ading text links in licence and user accept it pressing I agree button. It makes producer clear and thats y huge companies are involved in this kind of business. They have good lawyers and no way they would make something illegal according law, they are protected.
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Old 08-15-2001, 06:18 PM   #28
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Quick Note...

TopText does not change the HTML on the page so a CRC checker won't do much.

I opened up our friend in a hex editor.. nothing special that I noticed, except restrict.txt, not sure its anything though.

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Old 08-15-2001, 06:27 PM   #29
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I'm not sure if you are already aware, but it would seem all this uproar has had some effect. I downloaded Kazaa from CNET/download.com today and the TopText 'plugin' option is no longer pre-checked. Also, the fist time a page is displayed that contains a link, a big pop-up is displayed to tell you what these links are.

It's still outrageous that they are doing this, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

Last edited by paulj; 08-15-2001 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 08-15-2001, 06:32 PM   #30
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Was that your first time installing it?

Because I reinstalled it today and it everything except toptext was dechecked, it had remembered what I did last night (info is in the registry) .. but I remember by default that everything was checked!

Yeah, that popup can be found here:

http://www.ezula.com/TopText/pop-popup.html

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