Leisering's letter and response from UM

Date:         Mon, 29 Jul 1996 22:00:16 -0500
From:         Jonathan Shapiro <jonathans@unitedmedia.com>
Subject:      Dilbert -Reply
To:           jparker@baker-hostetler.com, rudyleis@texas.net
Cc:           dwallach@CS.Princeton.EDU, jboulin@united.com

Dear Rudy:

I understand your concerns. Unfortunately, Mr. Wallach is not linking to our pages in their entirety. Borrowing from your NBC analogy, its as if you were providing someone the ability to watch the Olympics on NBC without seeing any of the ads. The only way NBC can offer the Olympics or other programming to viewers free of charge is to sell advertising. United Media is in a similar position. We offer our comics to readers free of charge. All we ask in return is the opportunity to sell advertising near these comics to support our Internet efforts. By linking to just our comics, Mr. Wallach violates impairs our ability to generate the revenues necessary to keep our comics coming for free. For the record, United Media does not object to anyone linking to our site provided they link to our pages, in their entirety, without altering them.

I hope this helps clear up the situation. Thanks for your understanding.

All the best,

Jonathan Shapiro United Media

>>> Rudy Leisering <rudyleis@texas.net> 07/29/96 09:39am >>>

If I were standing on a corner and somebody came up to me and asked me where I might watch the Olympics and I said "Try NBC," I am fairly sure that NBC would would be grateful. By Linking people directly to your page Mr. Wallach is doing you the same favor. He is not "stealing" your signal, but pointing people to your images.

If through finacial arm twisting you manage to intimidate Mr. Wallach to stop his page, I will organzie an effort that will have the following aims.

1) We will rotate through a variety of webmasters the code necessary to link to your page. You will be forced to one by one hunt them down and threaten them with sufficient force to get them to quit, and then we will just pop up the links on someone elses page. I have discussed this with an individual in Venezuela. I wonder how much intimidation you can bring to bear on her. I suspect that you will find this very tedious.

2) We will organize an "anti United Media" movement - an electronic boycott. The first aim will be to get people to quit frequenting your "Dilbert Store." The second will be to attach as much negative publicity to you, and United Media as possible. Anytime someone does a search for Dilber, they will also retrieve the listings for those pages. We will not slander or do anything illegal, but we will expose the stupidity and arrogance of you and your company.

Dan Wallach, CS Department, Rice University
Last modified: Sun Aug 04 19:34:08 1996