Be Careful Who You Link At


A Texas Judge ruled a copyright violation to link at copyright files:

"While Lindsay's decision appears to be the first to deal with direct or "deep" links to Webcasts, this is not the first time courts have wrestled with the legality of copyright law and direct links."


Actually, ...

What the guy did was deep-link to copyrighted content in order to bypass the revenue-producing content in which the copyrighted content was embedded.

The judge's ruling is equivalent to saying you cannot rip the advertisements out of a magazine and redistribute the articles since that would deprive the magazine of the value it provides to both the publisher and the advertisers.

The purpose of copyright law is to protect the commercial value of original content. It's a good ruling.

The guy should have had the class to just link to the SFX pages where people could cilck on the link to listen to the audiocasts. He still would have provided a useful resource to his visitors while respecting the copyright of SFX.

Front Door Open

You leave your front door open and unlocked you can't be complaining when people start walking in unannounced. If you place a value on something it's up to you to take reasonable steps to protect it. You don't leave the keys in your car ignition and wonder why it's not there in the morning now do you ...

Blame the victim?

Graywolf, you're right about the practical need to defend oneself, but wrongdoing is still wrongdoing even if the victim lets his guard down. If my neighbour leaves his doors unlocked that does NOT make it okay for me to waltz in to his house uninvited or help myself to his car.

What Robert Davis did is more like hotlinking to images (behaviour which is widely despised) than it is like fair use. Michael's suggestion would make a lot more sense in this situation.


You shouldn't have to do things like that to protect yourself, but we don't live in fraggle rock either, so it's prudent to take steps to protect things you value.

Where I live...

Where I live, there is a baseball stadium that they built in a kind of ravine-ish area.

If you join the health club that is just slightly beyond the center field, you can sit out on a deck that they have and watch the base ball game.

If you go into some of the high rise offices and apartments near by, you can watch the baseball game.

If people are watching the game with out viewing the adverts and such that you see after buying a ticket to the game that you would normally see on the ticket, on promotional signs, and walking through the corridors and seeing the placards and such in the stadium, who's fault is that? The stadium can put up billboards or fences to block the view. They can seek other legal measures like putting up warning signs, etc. If they do not, they can't really complain about things.

While I don't necessarily agree with the second guy deep linking, there really shouldn't be anything against it. SFX should have a cookie that validates that a user has gone to one of their other pages before serving the video. Perhaps a 'you agree not to rebroadcast this' type of cookie page. A login page. A captcha enabled sign in to get to a secure page that serves up the content.

redclaw - Bad analogy....

redclaw - Bad analogy.... You can sit out on the deck and watch the baseball game all you want. But you're not allowed to set up cameras and televise it, and there's no reason the stadium should have to build ridiculously tall barriers to keep you from doing it.

How about the newsclub v. mainpost in germany

Read this story a while back Mainpost is a German newspaper, Newsclub is a search engine for German news that eventually would link to news stories directly (deep linking) and Mainpost sued newsclub claiming its a violation of law.,1283,54083,00.html

After many court appeals the case went to the German supreme court that finally ruled that deeplinking is legal.

search engine command

Does anyone know what search engine operator can be used to get all URL site is linking out to?




Thanks, that's what I been looking for!


Geeez. Whew. I thought I was about to get ripped for linking to threadwatch.

Interesting news... there

Interesting news... there have been lawsuits filed since 1996 over deep linking (the first one I'm aware of being The Shetland News ) but from what I can tell, all of them either have settled out of court or were struck down in favor of allowing the links.

The Movie-List lawsuit was very similar to this one (Aug, 1999) but the kid running the site didn't take it to court... he removed the deep links to the trailers. The site is still up and running though... so maybe they worked it out in the end.

If this case holds up... it could lay the groundwork for suing site scrapers as well as deep linking since it is the first to take a stand on "fair use" of copyrighted internet property.

The article notes that it's a "preliminary injunction" so it's not a precedent yet.

on analogies, and print

The judge's ruling is equivalent to saying you cannot rip the advertisements out of a magazine and redistribute the articles since that would deprive the magazine of the value it provides to both the publisher and the advertisers.

Surely a more apt analogy (because we apparently need one) is that of books.

I have an infinite amount of books, which I can look at without prejudice at any point.

I read Book 1. Book 1 references, by way of a footnote, explanation, or bibliography, a passage in Magazine 1. I want to read that passage, so I open Magazine 1, and hop to the aforementioned page. There is a fair chance that I won't see an ad during that time, because I have skimmed into an article (which for arguments' sake spans both pages).

If one extended this ruling to the world of print, I'd not be able to turn the pages of the magazine without looking at all the ads. Which is ludicrous, because what can they do to stop me, but improve their technology so I have no choice?

Result: complaintant makes it possible to read linearly, only turning pages when the previous page is of the same publication, opened for five seconds, and has displayed an advert. Good on them, they got what they wanted. If they're not inclined to do this, then I should be able to reference any sodding passage I choose.

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