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Legal concerns with using iframe

I'm wondering what are the legal concerns of using iframe.

see http://66.206.15.14/dealbeta/

When a link is clicked, the external web pages are loaded in the iframe on the right. I chose to use a iframe for convenience so that the pages are always open in the same window.

Should I include some sort of disclaimer or even contact the site owner to have their permission of having their content in a iframe? Any other concerns that I should take into consideration?

Thanks and Happy New Year.
Ric
Ric Z
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 
I doubt there are legal concerns -- about.com uses it for all external links, and I think they would've been sued for it by now if there were grounds. However I think the iframe approach is bad form from the perspectives of both the owner of the other site and your user. I'll focus on the latter.

Looking at your demo:

* Your site only works well with enormously wide browser windows. Even at 1440px wide, the framed page scrolls horizontally. At my preferred 900-100px, the framed page is absurdly thin.
* If the user follows links in the iframe, it's difficult or impossible for them to bookmark or link to whatever page they end up on.
* Even if users *can* bookmark the framed page, most will end up bookmarking your page instead. This is confusing.
* Some of the sites that you link to use Javascript to break out of frames. This is confusing because some end up framed and some don't. It's also a clear indication that some site owners don't like what you're trying to do.

Frames sucked in 1997, and they still suck. I suggest looking for a different approach. In my opinion plain hyperlinks would work better than what you have now.
clcr
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 
How did you determine that about.com were using frame for the external content? I couldn't find any for some reason.

I agree, frame probably is probably not the best choice but I really want to make users stay within the site page. I'm targeting the 1024x768 screen resolutions. They are probably other better alternatives to achieve this.. it's still a work-in-progress.

Thanks,
Ric
Ric
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 
> How did you determine that about.com were using frame for the external content? I couldn't find any for some reason.

Maybe they've stopped doing so, but they used to use a very obvious top frame for all external links.


> I agree, frame probably is probably not the best choice but I really want to make users stay within the site page.

Why? Or, more importantly, why would your users want to? You mustn't put your desires ahead of usability if you want people to actually use your site. Any time you hear yourself talk about making users do something, it's a good idea to step back and ask yourself how you'd react if sites that you use did the same thing.


> I'm targeting the 1024x768 screen resolutions.

Then having your content and the external site's content side by site is simply not an option. Most of the sites you'll be framing are designed for either 800x600 or 1024x768. That leaves either not enough space for your content or none at all.
clcr
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 
I think there *are* legal concerns here.

If the contents of the linked documents are copyrighted, and you place them inside a frame with your name/logo it can be seen as you taking credit for the content. I believe some sites have been sued for exactly this behavior. I wish I could be more specific but I am not a lawyer, nor do I have exact references. This is just what a lawyer friend told me in passing once. Research further, preferably by asking people who actually know the applicable laws.

Don't think it's ok just because an anonymous poster on a software forum says "I doubt there are legal concerns" (no offense intended clcr).

Quick search finds this:

http://www.publaw.com/framing.html
Oliver Send private email
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 
Point. I'd hope that nobody would take what I said as gospel but I probably should've thrown out the usual "IANAL, you should hire one, etc".
clcr
Monday, December 31, 2007
 
 

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