A Most Definitely Unauthorised Link to the Athens Olympics

This page links to the Athens Olympics. It does not follow the Stupid “Hyperlink Policy” because it doesn’t have to. The hyperlink is on this site, not the Athens’ Olympic site, so it is this site that gets to decide on hyperlink policies, not that one.

In seeking to control how people do or do not link to their site the Athens Olympic site is violating basic principles of both web architecture and free speech. A link is a reference, it is not copying or using the content linked though but rather it is referencing it much as the references section of a paper or book do. As such there can be no rule banning them, indeed in academe it is not providing references that get you into trouble.

The Link Already

So anyway, you can follow this link here.

What’s the fuss about anyway?

Trying to intimidate people into not linking to you or into only linking to you a particular way through empty legal-sounding “policies” is both a technical issue and a political one.

It is a technical matter because the ability to link to any other resource is the fundamental ability on which the web is built, without it there wouldn't be a web but at best a bunch of mini-webs with no way to find your way from one to another. For more on the technical side of this issue see URIs, Addressability, and the use of HTTP GET and POST and “Deep Linking” in the World Wide Web.

It is a political matter because we have the right to refer to another work whether what we have to say about that work, its authors or its subject is complimentary or otherwise. People protesting against the olympics, such as the Fair Olympics Campaign organised by Oxfam and others, have just as much right to link to the site as someone with nothing but praise for them, and don’t have to go through the site’s owners to do so. Should someone say something libelous or threatening then that would already be covered by relevant laws and there is no need for web-specific rules.

Link Through This Site

If you want to link to the Athens Olympic site through this protest page you can either link to <http://www.hackcraft.net/web/athens/> or use the following form to create a link to a specific page on the Athens site:


You are of course free to use whatever text or images you would like within the existing laws on libel etc.!


This page is in no way endorsed by the Athens Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, the W3C, Oxfam, the Fair Olympics Campaign or the Tooth Fairy. That's the point! ☺.

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