|CPT's Hypertext Linking Dispute Page|
|Resources on Linking|
|Recent Disputes Involving Linking|
Also see CPT's page on Cyberspace Jurisdiction for more relevant disputes.
|Microsoft vs. Slashdot|
On May 2, 2000, Slashdot posted an article describing Microsoft's proprietary extensions to the Kerberos standard. Several Slashdot users posted hyperlinks to Microsoft's Kerberos specifications. Invoking the 1998 U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Microsoft sent Slashdot a May 10th letter alleging a "case of blatant copyright violation," and requested that Slashdot remove readers' posts containing the hyperlinks. Slashdot refused to remove the posts.
|The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act|
The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999 seeks to crack down on the spread of illegal methamphetamines (speed).
Section 203 of the Senate version includes language that would force ISP's to yank websites hosting methamphetamine-related content, or linking to such content.
|MPAA vs. 2600|
2600 is a quarterly magazine and website specializing in hacker issues. 2600 The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed suit against 2600 in an attempt to prevent them from linking to websites featuring DeCSS -- a program for circumventing DVD encryption. The movie studios won a ruling that prohibited 2600 not only from posting DeCSS on its own website, but from linking to other websites hosting the program.
2600's editor commented on the implications of the ruling on August 21, 2000 (article referenced below):
"Naturally, one of the most disturbing parts of all of this is the ruling on linking. 'The only distinction is that the entity extending to the user the option of downloading the program is the transferee site rather than defendants, a distinction without a difference.' We can all laugh at such words but they represent something very sinister. We are now expected to believe that telling someone how to get a file with a link is the same as offering it yourself. I want to know if this works both ways - if I point someone to a site or product that costs money, is that also a 'distinction without a difference' that will allow me to be compensated? This kind of logic is already giving me nightmares."
|Linking Found Illegal in Japan|
On March 30, the District Court of Osaka, Japan ruled that linking to a webpage containing illegal content may be considered illegal.
|Ticketmaster Corp., et al. v. Tickets.com, Inc.|
March 27, 2000 "Further, hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved, the customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently."
|Shetland Times v. Wills|
This early linking dispute concerned the websites of two newspapers -- The Shetland Times and The Shetland News. The Shetland News website contained hyperlinks that led directly to articles posted on the Times' website. These hyperlinks included the text of the appropriate Times headlines. The Times contended that these hyperlinks constituted copyright infringement.
On November 11, 1997, The Times and the News reached a settlement which permitted the News to link to the Time's articles on the condition that each such link contained a representation of the Shetland Times' masthead, and was underscored with the caption "A Shetland Times Story."
|Linking in the News|
Questions, comments and suggestions to Vergil Bushnell