Extension for UI improvements on third party website

(Thomas) #1

Hey guys.

I wonder if it would be ok to create an extension which manipulates the display of a third party website.

Would be kind of UI improvements on a very big site with paying users, potentially making them very happy.

Are there any restrictions in publishing such addons?

(jscher2000) #2

I understand you want to be somewhat ambiguous about this. Me, too.

At the 10,000 foot level, modifying the interface of a third party website is a common feature of add-ons. A lot of extensions empower users to modify the display and/or operation of sites. These include extensions for changing website appearance, for blocking ads and tracking scripts, for adding link previews, and many other kinds of changes.

As you know, sites may deny access to content if users do not accept ads (“anti-adblock”) and may use technological means to limit what add-ons can do.

I suppose if the site’s owners are very unhappy, they could ask for a take-down (per https://www.mozilla.org/about/legal/report-infringement/) or go after you directly. That’s certainly a consideration for you in whether to release your add-on, whether you’ve transgressed Mozilla’s guidelines or not.

(Thomas) #3

Thank you for these analogies, I didn’t think of adblockers and stuff and you’re right, this is a common feature…

I didn’t want to write my question in an “ambiguous” way, just did not want to mention any details since this seemed to be a question in general to me.

So no, I think my addon would not make the site owners unhappy, it just adds features like sorting some list stuff. But yeah, copyright or trademark infringement is a thing, because for sure I would have to mention the specific site/service the addon is made for in order to promote/describe it. Are there any precedents for DMCA-takedowns on addons forged to work with a specific third party service or any recommendations how to handle name, description etc.

Just to be clear, I don’t wan’t to do any legal limbo with my extension or the third party site, I just wan’t to make some users happy who face the same problems like me using the service. I’d originally build it for myself and some friends, just wanted to offer my work to other users.

(Mittineague) #4

If in doubt, I think the best thing to do would be to contact the site, explain what your addon would do, and ask them if they have any problem with it.

AFAIK, many sites have a problem if it affects their “brand image”. But I’m guessing that if the addon does only minor CSS tweaks or provides an improved UX (eg. adds table sorting) they would be OK with it.

(jscher2000) #5

I don’t know the history of takedowns on the Add-ons site. For naming – this is not legal advice – you generally would want to avoid using trademarks in a way that implies some connection or endorsement. One example is, “Better Facebook” was renamed to “Social Fixer”.