Don’t link, criticize, use our name, refer to us, view our source code…

Just by browsing the website of a company called Inventor-Link, visitors supposedly consent to abide by the terms of a “user agreement” which “strictly” prohibits them from using not only any of the site’s content but even its name without express permission. “Furthermore, we strictly prohibit any links and or other unauthorized references to our web site without our permission.” The company is invoking these terms in a cease and desist letter “in an attempt to stop criticism of the company that appears on, a website that provides information about invention promotion businesses and scams.” Inventor-Link’s law firm? None other than Dozier Internet Law, criticized in this space and many others last week over its claim that its nastygrams are themselves the subject of copyright and cannot be posted on the web. And the Dozier firm’s own website has a user agreement that purports to prohibit “linking to its website, using the firm’s name ‘in any manner’ without permission,” and, weirdest of all, even looking at its source code by clicking on your browser’s “view source code” command. (Greg Beck, Consumer Law & Policy, Oct. 17). More: Boing Boing, TechDirt (including comment that reads, in its entirety, “You are not allowed to read this comment”), Slashdot.


  • Only 1% of patents make any profit for their holder. One does better buying a lottery ticket.

    Inventor assistance firms may take advantage of people’s hopes. They do so to the tune of a few thousand dollars. Patent attorneys are no less shady, but are far more expensive.

  • It used to be thought that in the future everyone would know how computers worked, it’d be a necessary part of primary education, etc.

    It’s clear that the opposite has happened–people are treating computers like washing machines, appliances that they don’t need to know anything about except how to call the repairman.

    This is a sad turn of events, responsible for this and an unending stream of other idiocy, and is part of the death of productivity in this country represented on the other hand by the overabundance of parasites like Dozier has shown themselves to be in other ways.

  • I looked at their source code. Nothing super special there – just some very run-of-the-mill html. Not even worth the keystrokes to save a copy.

  • I see things completely the opposite way jb does. Many devices, when first available, require a detailed understanding of their operation in order to use them at first.

    This was certainly true of cars. You basically had to be your own mechanic to own a car. That limited how many people could use cars and take advantage of them. How many car owners know how to change their own oil now?

    The same is true of radios. How many people know much about how their radio works today? But back in the day, you pretty much had to build and maintain them yourself if you want to have one.

    Computers are becoming mainstream the same way other things have. I can’t see any reason this is bad.