LAVANYA's Profile and details
Student at Saveetha School of Law
The Concept of Framing – An Analysis
In recent years, internet in India has evolved such that users who used to be primarily information seekers have now started to create a web identity via expression. There has been significant growth in community content driven services like wikis, blogs etc. in India. As the Internet spins a web of inter connectivity around the globe, as it grows literally by the hour, India is struggling, not to catch up but to keep from falling further and further behind. With increasing use of the internet for numerous human activities, the role of law vis-à-vis such activities has always been a hot topic of debate.
Technology of Framing:
Web browsers allow web authors to divide pages into “frames”. A frame is an independently controllable window on a website through which pages from another website can be viewed. Since it is possible for a site to call a frame’s contents from a different location, a programmer might frame another’s web content beneath his own navigation or banners. This allows him to use creative content owned by another entity to sell banner advertising on its on site. A typical use of frames is to have one frame containing a selection menu and another frame that contains the space where the selected (linked to) files appear.
“Framing” is the process of enabling and allowing a user to view the substances and contents of one website while it is framed by data from another site, similar to the “picture-in-picture” highlight feature offered on some televisions. This may generate a dispute under copyright and trademark law theories.
In creating a Web site, frames is the use of multiple, independently controllable sections on a Web presentation. This effect is achieved by building each section as a separate HTML file and having one “master” HTML file identify all of the sections.
Frames, originally created by Netscape (introduced in 1996) as an HTML extension and is now a common technology used on many web pages, but sometimes it can lead to legal problems for those who use it.
Example: John starts a site devoted to auto racing news called John’s RacingVision. He offers a number of links to racing industry Web magazines like Autosport, whose content he displays within a frame on his site. When users click on “Read Autosport News,” for example, the content from the Autosport site is displayed within John’s RacingVision website, in a frame. When the user reads Autosport’s news, the user’s computer is still connected to John’s website, not Autosport’s.
Framing is generally unpopular with websites whose content is framed on another site (unless they have agreed to it). Websites that frame the content of other sites are often seen as stealing the other site’s content.
While case law hasn’t developed definitive rules on the issue, a framer is more likely to be found liable for copyright (or trademark) infringement if copyrighted material is modified without authorization or if customers are confused about the association between the two sites or the source of a product or service.
Effects of Framing:
Ø One can see a framed site, but the browser’s computer does not change the address. It continues to display the address of initial site. This may confuse some casual internet users.
Ø The advertisements appearing on a framed site must co-exist with the ads displayed on the borders of the initial site thereby changing the visual impact of the ads on the framed site.
Ø It changes the way the framed site intends its materials to appear. This may involve a copyright violation.
Ø There may be a trademark violation of the framed site as it is shown on the site of the initial site.
The Web Paradox of Frames: The web was built as a system of addressable resources (naturally of information) that identifies each resource can by a unique URL. Frames breaks this design since now many resources are grouped together under one URL (the frameset URL), but only one resource can be shown (typically the default page defined in the frameset).
Bookmarking: Visitors expect to bookmark the exact data on a page. But the frameset gets bookmarked instead so when users follow this bookmark they then have to hunt for the relevant page every time. This is the drawback of breaking the Web guideline of a one-to-one mapping between URLs and resources.
Search engines: Search engines have problems with framed websites because of the frames paradox. This results in unframed pages being indexed and linked to, so typically the user sees the first page without the frameset, and typically without navigation (known as blackhole pages). By adding navigation links to the content, the developer has lost the advantage of separating content from presentation and navigation.
Content and Presentation Separation: The issue of framed websites are easier to maintain is ludicrous, since to keep up with non-framed sites the developer will have to duplicate the menu (something frames was supposed to prevent), then creating framesets for every combination of content/banner/navigation so the pages are bookmarkable (thus losing out on the maintainability argument). Since the reason for using frames in this instance was to only have one copy of the navigation bar.