The suit contends, however, that representatives of Harding Earley should not have been able to view the old Healthcare Advocates Web pages - even though they now reside on the archive's servers - because the company, shortly after filing its suit against Health Advocate, had placed a text file on its own servers designed to tell the Wayback Machine to block public access to the historical versions of the site.
Under popular Web convention, such a file - known as robots.txt - dictates what parts of a site can be examined for indexing in search engines or storage in archives. Most search engines program their Web crawlers to recognize a robots.txt file, and follow its commands. The Internet Archive goes a step further, allowing Web site administrators to use the robots.txt file to control the archiving of current content, as well as block access to any older versions already stored in the archive's database before a robots.txt file was put in place.
But on at least two dates in July 2003, the suit states, Web logs at Healthcare Advocates indicated that someone at Harding Earley, using the Wayback Machine, made hundreds of rapid-fire requests for the old versions of the Web site. In most cases, the robot.txt blocked the request. But in 92 instances, the suit states, it appears to have failed, allowing access to the archived pages. In so doing, the suit claims, the law firm violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits the circumventing of "technological measures" designed to protect copyrighted materials. The suit further contends that among other violations, the firm violated copyright by gathering, storing and transmitting the archived pages as part of the earlier trademark litigation.
The Internet Archive, meanwhile, is accused of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, negligence and other charges for failing to honor the robots.txt file and allowing the archived pages to be viewed." Lees meer (gratis registratie, voor artikel moet na een paar dagen betaald worden).