My friend Brian Dennis thinks my All Music Firefox extension might cause trouble and that "[l]awyers are getting lathered up somewhere". And Sylvie Noël is asking whether I'll be "safe from [legal] pursuit."
For the record, my intent wasn't to offend or anger -- it was to help people use allmusic.com better. And to offer a proof-of-concept that a browser extension can add functionality to specific sites.
But anyway, Brian's and Sylvie's comments bring up some interesting questions.
What legal argument would AMG have against the extension? Copyright? Something to do with intellectual property? I dunno.
If it is indeed somehow unlawful, wouldn't that make the AMG-link-fixer bookmarklet I made a few weeks ago unlawful, too? It also alters page content. As do Jesse Ruderman's site-specific bookmarklets.
But that starts getting really hairy. Illegal bookmarklets? What? That's ludicrous.
Of course, the bookmarklet requires a user to click it each time the page loads. Whereas the extension removes that step. Is that the line? Automation?
This is some really interesting stuff to think about.
I see the All Music Guide extension as a sort of Web proxy. Kind of like those Web proxies that filter content to your liking -- like the ones that fix HTML and remove <blink> tags and stuff. The extension adds functionality to the site and, if anything, encourages people to spend more time there.
I can't see anything questionable in that.