Digital Media Consultant at Lansons Communications
09 September 2008 16:14pm
I have a client for whom we produce a newsletter which contains links to other news items of interest. To clarify, the content is not reproduced just linked to.
Our client has sent the newsletter to their US office for legal checking and the latter has come back and said we need permission to link (either free or via bought license) since, and I am now quoting the response I got...."in some cases US publications consider a link a form of reprint, although they can have different rules on hard copy reprints and links. This is because the publishers still want to be able control who has access to (and bypasses other marketing efforts and advertising) specific content on a website."
This sounds crazy to me - surely a link is good news for publishers, and this seems to deny the whole point of the web, and existence of search engines.
If anyone can shed more light on this, provide some chapter and verse or indeed links (!) to more info it would be appreciated.
Copywriter at HappyCopy
11 September 2008 07:14am
This is perfectly legal and I cannot immagine the publisher who would object to inbound links! These are the strands which bind the web together.
The only danger to your client is a vague legal threat to them - if they link to something defamatory then they are drawing attention to it and could, in extreme cases, be held responsible for highlighting slander.
A simple disclaimer on the site explaining your client is not responsible for the content of external sites linked to is one way of covering their back regarding that.
Look at it this way - the BBC links to thousands of external pages and no one complains.
Hope this helps,
E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker
11 September 2008 14:42pm
hi, Simon, how are you?
I remember a couple of ancient lawsuits along these lines: Ticketmaster vs Microsoft & one between a couple of Shetland newspapers (!) The only time I've heard of anything like this recently is sites linking to illegal downloads, etc. eg PirateBay manages to get away with it because they just link to illegal content, they don't host any of it.
If you're looking for a lowest-common-denominator comeback to the legal dept, you could ask them how Google manage to get away with it, or send them a list of pages linking to their own website?
In summary: You're right - they're totally mad.
Hope that's of some use!
30 September 2008 13:01pm
According to links and law a web site which campaigns against legal attempts to stop deep linking, the plaintiffs' argument against the headline scraper was that such deep links are illegal.Because they take users directly to news articles, bypassing introductory pages and advertising, thus depriving the plaintiffs of revenue from their advertisements.
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