If a website you're trying to reach is blocked for legal reasons, do you have a right to know about it?
Developer advocate Tim Bray thinks so, and he's got a perfect error code for it: 451, a tribute to the late Ray Bradbury's landmark novel about censorship, Fahrenheit 451
Bray, a self-described "general-purpose Web geek" who helped develop several key Internet standards, wrote a formal specification
for his proposal and submitted it to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the body that develops and promotes Internet standards. The group is slated to take up Bray's proposal at next week's annual meeting, which begins Sunday in Vancouver, Canada.
"I've been told by the chair of the IETF HTTP Working Group that he'll give the proposal some agenda time at the next IETF meeting," Bray told CNNMoney by email. "It's not a big proposal; shouldn't take long."
Most internet users are familiar with "404 Not Found" errors, the HTTP status messages that come up when you click on a broken or dead link. Another common error, "403 Forbidden," is displayed when you try to reach a site whose server won't grant you access to it.
That's the error code U.K. blogger Terence Eden hit when he tried to reach The Pirate Bay, a notorious hub for pirated content
that is frequently targeted in lawsuits. Eden's Internet provider had been ordered to block out the site, but Eden wasn't happy with the 403 error response it generated.
"As far as I am concerned, this response is factually incorrect," Eden wrote on his blog
He points out that it wasn't Pirate Bay's server that refused to allow him access. "The server did not even see the request. It was intercepted by my ISP and rejected by them on legal grounds," he wrote.
Eden called for a new "HTTP code for censorship" -- a call Bray answered with literary flair.