linking policies and copyright issues

…UNICEF says on their legal page:

If you would like to link to UNICEF’s web site, we ask you to agree to the following, and contact us (choose subject ‘Permission to link’ in the dropdown menu) to let us know for our records. You may link to the homepage or to a deep content page.

Yeah, right. You want me to contact you whenever I am linking to your site? What about search engines, linking to such sites that require prior contact to the site admin?

BoingBoing has another, much better approach on its policies page:

Boing Boing has a linking policy.
After years of making fun of “linking policies” that set out the terms under which a website can be linked to, Boing Boing has decided to create a linking policy of our own. Here it is — now, abide by it!

Boing Boing doesn’t believe in linking policies. They’re dangerous, have no basis in law, and they break the norms that make the Web possible. They’re a wicked, stupid idea.

That said, if you believe in linking policies — that is, if you believe that people who make websites should be able to control who links to those sites and how — then have we got a policy for you:

No site with a linking policy (other than a policy such as this one, created to deride and undermine the idea of linking policies) may link to Boing Boing. Ever.

I like that.

The real problem seems to be that most organisations, institutions, companies, etc a) do not have the capacity to understand the Web, b) employ legal advisers who hardly ever have to deal with Web-related disclaimers or copyright issues for online content and c) – unfortunately – often haven’t even heard of something like the CreativeCommons licencing tools.

My experience is that most authors of online content aren’t even aware of these licencing tools, and – if in doubt – leave it to their legal team (if any) who just put everything under the “all rights reserved” label. That’s just very frustrating!

My question: is there any *official* disclaimer for web pages (linking policies, etc.) that’s just as convenient to use as the (CC) tools & provides this free and open approach as seen on the BoingBoing page?

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Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Google+.

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