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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Many Dangers of the "Wayback Machine"

I learned today, with some horror, of the many virtues and vices of the "Wayback Machine." [Yes, I realize that I'm late to the party. What else is new.]

One of my first-year students came to ask me a question about an assignment that's due in class tomorrow (all about the wonders of motions to dismiss and alienation of affection, yum).  While here, he told me something along the lines of "you were really cute as a six-year-old."  To which my response, after gathering my senses, was "huh?" [The better response, I later decided, would have been "and what about now???"]

Well, apparently that cute idea I had for a webpage when I was a freshman in college, including the fun pictures page, didn't die quite the fiery death I had hoped for it upon graduating (or, to be more honest, one month after last updating it in the fall of my sophomore year).

So, new law prawfs, beware!! If there's a cute, funny webpage all about you from somewhere out there in the Internet ether, your students will find it... what they do with it, well, I'm just glad I kept some of the college photos off the page.

But then again, I'm slow.

Posted by Steve Vladeck on November 15, 2005 at 06:31 PM in Culture, Information and Technology, Life of Law Schools, Steve Vladeck, Teaching Law | Permalink


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» What's On the Net Stays on the Net: Thoughts on the Wayback Machine from Concurring Opinions
Steve Vladeck (law, Miami) visiting at PrawfsBlawg tells an interesting anecdote about the Internet Archive, otherwise known as the "Wayback Machine." Steve writes about a student who discovered his childhood pictures: Well, apparently that cute idea I... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 15, 2005 11:16:46 PM


Paul -- That _has_ to be the serious question here... I mean, I wouldn't dare to pretend to know anything about copyright and/or internet law, but it's also probably a good warning to new blawggers -- nothing you say ever goes away. I guess that makes blawgs (and the Internet in general) the anti-Las Vegas...

Posted by: Steve Vladeck | Nov 15, 2005 10:07:53 PM

You know, in all seriousness, I do have a certain trepidation about the whole business of internet archiving. It's what has kept me from being wholly in Google's camp, lo these many years. Why should silly embarassing stuff be saved? Especially from the days when the internet was young and the norms weren't quite firmed up (i.e. anything pre-Napster)?

Am I the only person who does not want the stuff he tossed onto the internet in the mid-90's to crop up a decade letter? And who might think of using copyright laws to enforce that will? Or maybe even advocate moral rights, a la the French?

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Nov 15, 2005 9:47:47 PM

I knew my complete ignorance about how web pages are made would pay off some day.

Posted by: Matt | Nov 15, 2005 8:11:32 PM

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