I received a legal document from Adobe Inc two weeks ago requesting the removal of deep links pointing to Adobe's own official FTP server.
The article referenced in the document linked to Adobe Reader X downloads on the FTP server which Adobe requested to be removed immediately. Failure to comply would result in them throwing all legal power they had at their disposal at the site and its operator.
The letter had some glaring issues, for instance that Adobe mentioned only Adobe Flash Player in the letter but the article the company referenced in the letter was not about Flash Player but Adobe Reader.
I was left with a couple of options (and little time)
- Seek legal counseling to find out if the request would hold in court. The links pointed to public locations on the Adobe FTP site and while I'm not a lawyer, I would assume that they cannot sue you for those.
- Comply and remove the links.
- Do something else.
If I would have selected option one, it would mean that I would have to spend time and money. While a ruling would not only be beneficial for my site but for other sites on the Internet as well, I decided not to pursue this option due to time and money constraints.
Option two sounded like the easy way out and I first thought about it as it would be the fastest option, but several of the articles would not be useful anymore as the only recourse would be to either link to Adobe's official download page, which meant online downloads only of the latest versions, or not link at all which would not help users.
So, I decided to pick option three instead which had me go through Ghacks' vast archive of articles and remove pages referencing Adobe Flash Player or Adobe Acrobat updates, news and downloads.
I moved more than 50 articles to the trash in the process and redirected them via htaccess to the following two posts:
- Adobe Flash to Living without plug-ins such as Flash or Java
- Adobe Reader to Goodbye Adobe Reader Hello Sumatra
You will still find some articles on Ghacks about Flash or Reader, but those are mostly troubleshooting guides to fix issues in browsers.
In addition to this one-time cleaning of the site, we have a new policy in place that prevents us from linking to Adobe sites ever again or reporting about Adobe news. We will still cover issues that users may experience in web browsers and such, but everything else is off the table.