We’ve always thought of a link to our site as a kind of vote. It means something when somebody refers their readers to you. And Google Webmaster Tools does a good job of filtering out the link-farmers and telling us what we want to know about the 675,000 or more links that come into the LII. It’s a good starting point for figuring out who our audience is and what they want.
Some have an obvious meaning (the more than 100,000 from our friends at Justia, for example, or the 2475 from Jurist). But there are some that…well, they take a little figuring out. 24676 from www.theonering.net, a Lord of the Rings fan site, for example, or the 3792 from www.elflady.com. What could this possibly mean? We were even more worried when we went to the ElfLady site and found something called the Orlando Love Forum Board (shudder).
Turns out every last one of the hobbit-links is to Title 17 of the US Code (copyright, for non-Code-heads). This is part of a trend we’ve noticed, in which people make declarations about a legal position by linking to us. In this case, the hobbits seem to be protecting themselves from orcish rights-holders…. and asserting that they are making fair use of copyrighted material from films and books.
Oh, and we got 50 more links from the hobbits than we did from the law professors at Blawg Emperor Paul Caron‘s lawprofessors.typepad.com . Comparisons are meaningless, but we figure that either the law professors have less to protect or the hobbits are just that little bit cuter.