Our New Gizmo

Snap Previews.jpgAt Concurring Opinions, we never stop thinking about ways to improve your reading experience. Every so often, we actually come up with something. Our latest innovation: the Snap Tool, which turns your mouse into a previewing projector of any link on the page. Just roll it over a hyperlink, and a little pop-up will appear, displaying what the underlying webpage looks like. (The featured preview illustrated above is the link to “Paro” in my post below.)

We can thank some copyright exceptions for the tool. A copyright maximalist might deem Snap’s previews a “derivative work,” forcing anyone who uses it to ask for prior permission from the previewed website in order to display this thumbnail version. There’s a lot of good law for the opposite proposition–namely, that previews amount to a fair use that does little, if anything, to harm the value of the original work. But, as Ann Bartow has noted, there are some groups seeking to reverse that perfectly sensible doctrine. As far as I’m concerned, tools like Snap are one more reason why we should hope Google (perhaps the world’s premier image previewer) beats them. In today’s world, we need the best tools for processing and mapping information that we can get.

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