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Danish Court Rules Deep Linking Illegal 382

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the link-this dept.
Jstein writes "In a court ruling today Friday, the court in Copenhagen, Denmark ruled in favor of the Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association against the online news aggregator Newsbooster. Thereby deep linking has been ruled illegal for the first time." Currently the story is only in Danish (from Computerworld Denmark, Online). Update: 07/05 23:15 GMT by T : ttyp writes "Here is a link to an English language story about the Danish deep linking case."
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Danish Court Rules Deep Linking Illegal

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  • by cca93014 (466820) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:32PM (#3827973) Homepage
    until now:

    "Jeg er dybt chokeret. Vi taber på alle punkter, men det er sikkert, at vi kærer til Landsretten, siger han."
  • So no googling in Denmark now ?
    • We'll start seeing signs on web pages:

      Deep linking by permission only.

      Deep linkers will be prosecuted.

      Deep linking allowed.

      But, like "No Trespassing" signs, the notices will have to be every so many web pages, and must be signed with 128-bit encryption. ;)

  • breakin the law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iosphere (14517) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:35PM (#3827988) Homepage
    Aren't you in violation of Danish law by linking to the story?
    • Re:breakin the law (Score:3, Informative)

      by Penguin (4919)
      Computerworld actually would like to intervene with Newsbooster, but wasn't allowed.

      Furthermore, since the case is under private prosecution, Computerworld would have to run their own case against /. - and the case would be an entirely different. The arguments against Newsbooster wouldn't be relevant (if Computerworld would make a fuzz about it - but as mentioned, Computerworld supports Newsbooster in this case)

      And let me emphasize: We don't have a final ruling yet.
  • by ranulf (182665)
    This is all starting to become a dangerous precedent... I hope deep-linking is only considered illegal if you explain how to find something by following the links.

    Does that mean that if I link to slashdot which has an article that links to 2600 which links to DeCSS source (or something that is illegal in whatever country), or even any other convulted route that I am breaking the law? Surely not. Or is it only if I say, "click here, follow link x, follow link y and then link z".

    Sigh.

  • Deep linking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:36PM (#3827993) Homepage
    Too bad. Next week Time Magazine will require you to read pages 1-36 before reading the article you want on page 37.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:36PM (#3828001) Homepage Journal
    Danish Deep Links --

    mmmm, breakfasty!
  • by SpatchMonkey (300000) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:36PM (#3828003) Journal
    Just because one instance of deep linking has been ruled illegal, doesn't mean all instances are illegal. There will have been specifics to the case that causing the ruling to made. Unfortunately, as the article is in Danish, I don't know what they are.

    There are technological ways around deep linking, of course. Checking the Referer header in an HTTP request is one option, and dynamically creating unique URIs on the pages you allow people to visit from is another.

    It would be nice if technology was used to prevent this rather than court rulings, but hey, what can you do?

    Anyway it's only been ruled in Denmark, so the effect on the Internet as a whole is negligible.
    • Actually the effect will be rather pronounced. Denmark is part of the European Union, as a matter of fact they were recently confirmed to the office of the Presidency for the EU. Since the EU holds laws across national borders in certain cases, there is the potential here for deep-linking cases to be heard all over the EU and use the Danish Case as a precedent. Think on that and say it is only negligible.
      • Precisely... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Beautyon (214567)
        And thanks to the European arrest warrant, anyone anywhere can be arrested in Europe for remotely breaking the laws of one European state from another jurisdiction. Your local courts will have no power to stop you being transported and incarcerated in another country by foreign police.

        This is not entirely new. Before this (1996) the Germans were able to raid an address in the Netherlands over the magazine Radikal. Read about it here. [216.239.39.100]

        The fact is that anywhere in Europe that absurd laws are passed, the practical effect now is that the law is simultaneously passed everywhere , for all people. This is A Bad Thing.
    • Given that technology can prevent deep linking, it is most efficient if the law is in accordance with that technological reality. A law which is inconsistent with the real world is a recipe for expensive inefficiency. We may not like restrictions on deep linking, but given that this is how the technology works, it is best if the law works the same way.

      An analogy might be land property rights. You can build a brick wall around your property to keep people out; this is the technological reality. But the law recognizes this and allows you to put up a No Trespassing sign with the same effect. Ultimately the reason we respect No Trespassing signs is because we know that the property owner could put up a wall if he really had to. But building a wall would be an inefficient waste of resources when he can achieve the same effect with just a sign.

      This example demonstrates how keeping the law consistent with reality improves efficiency, and the same thing would be true for deep linking.
      • by jhoffoss (73895) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:40PM (#3828452) Journal
        Given that technology can prevent deep linking, it is most efficient if the law is in accordance with that technological reality.
        And if you want to allow people to deep link to your site? Is it then illegal to do so? I know it's an unreal example, but technology (knives, guns, blunt objects, whatever) can be utilized to injur, maim, murder, etc. someone...does that mean the law should also be in accordance with this technological reality?

        If the technology to prevent deep-linking is present, and a web-site that wishes to prevent deep-linking does not utilize (or attempt to utilize) this existing technology, they shouldn't be able to complain if someone deep-links to their site, IMNSHO.

        Note that I am making two assumptions: implementing anti-deep-linking technology does not require the time or resources it would take to build a wall around 10 acres; the second is that you are just as able to give permission to deep-link as you are able to give permission for someone to murder you.
      • Yes, but anti-deep-linking legislation is completely against the way the Internet works... The whole premise is that we can link to another page, thereby spinning a web of documents. If we couldn't "deep-link," then I presume that Google, et al., will have to shut down, considering the links they produce are "deep-linked." Wouldn't you say?

        And I disagree with you as to why we abide "No Trespassing" signs. It's because I don't want to get my a$$ shot off by some looney character with a shotgun in his lap.

        A better analogy might be the other way around... Take a look at research papers written MANY years ago. Take a look at their bibliography page. Is that not "deep-linking?" Thought so...

        That's all we need is more frigg'n legislation to protect some ignorant people who are only comfortable if they're bitching about something. Face it, deep-linking has been around for years. It makes me so sick that these people (that are new to the Internet) think they own the damn thing. Christ, perhaps the elders of the 'net need to speak up. I know I've been on since it was commercialized mainstream around 1993/94 and frankly, I'm appauled as to where this is all heading.

        Phil
      • At first I missed the point of your analogy (because of the private nature of land versus the public nature of the web), but upon closer reflection it is gets right to the heart of the stupidity of this ruling.

        In passing a law like this they are essentially trying to change the nature of the Web. The Web is supposed to be a means of linking information, and making it publicly available. Seems companies noticed how popular it is and now want to subvert it into a commercial engine where corporations make the rules.

        The sickening part is how many different ways they could avoid this problem on the server side (even without referrers), but they see it as an opportunity to save money in development time while also potentially paving the way for profit through litigation.

        What's scary is that technology is getting too complicated for the legal system to understand the implications of decisions like this. Without a deep understanding of technology, it becomes way too easy for judges to be convinced by the fast-talking techniques of companies crying foul.
    • Just because one instance of deep linking has been ruled illegal, doesn't mean all instances are illegal.

      Indeed it doesn't. But what it may well do is encourage other companies to bring similar cases.
    • Set a cookie on your front page, and have it expire in a short period of time. Then, on subsequent pages, look for that cookie. If the cookie is not found, redirect user to the front page. Point out to your users that cookies are necessary to use your site, and offer to show them how to enable cookies for only certain sites if they wish.

      Really, its not that hard to prevent deep links. Stupid, yes, but not hard.

    • There are technological ways around deep linking, of course. Checking the Referer header in an HTTP request is one option, and dynamically creating unique URIs on the pages you allow people to visit from is another.

      It would be nice if technology was used to prevent this rather than court rulings, but hey, what can you do?


      I am all for deep linking in most cases, and feel it should be legal. But I hate the idea that "there's a way to prevent it, so it shouldn't be ruled illegal." To me, that is the same as saying "There are ways to make your house burglar proof, so we shouldn't have to make breaking and entering illegal." Just because someone can prevent something from happening doesn't means they should have to prevent it. If we refuse to rule on things because there are ways to prevent it, what happens when those ways to prevent it are circumvented? Can we rule then? Or do we just wait for more ways to prevent the circumvention? I think deep linking is legal in most cases, but I want to see it remain legal because it is the right thing to do, not because there's a way to prevent it.
      • I am all for deep linking in most cases, and feel it should be legal. But I hate the idea that "there's a way to prevent it, so it shouldn't be ruled illegal." To me, that is the same as saying "There are ways to make your house burglar proof, so we shouldn't have to make breaking and entering illegal."

        No, it's not quite the same. If you want to make the analogy a little more reasonable, imagine that you installed a little electronic box on your door that, when someone walks up and says, "I want to go inside", unlocks and opens the door for them. This same box could be configured to only let in family members, but you decided that it would just be easier to sue your curious visitors for breaking and entering, then sue anyone who told them your address for aiding the crime.

        If you want to make the analogy even closer, imagine that you live in a world where people enter others' houses this way, welcomed, billions of times a day, that they are unable to do anything but look around once inside, and that your only real complaint is that you wanted all your visitors to go to your neighbor's house and watch commercials first!

        Finally, no, an HTTP request is not "circumvention" any more than saying "I want to go inside" is. If someone discovered that making the HTTP request 5 kilobytes long broke into the web server, or that shouting "MACKEREL!" at the top of your lungs broke the door opener, that would be clearly circumvention even though in each case you're just sending data or making noises. One set of data constitutes an understandable request (in the HTTP case, conforming to internationally recognized protocols); the other set is an intentional attempt to get in without making that request or having it answered.
  • by grungebox (578982) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:36PM (#3828005) Homepage
    Deep linking is when you link to an interior page. For example, Ticketmaster filed a lawsuit a while back (I think) against sites that linked users directly to interior pages to buy tickets for a specific show. Instead of going to www.ticketmaster.com and then searching for, say, Radiohead...a site that linked directly to the "Buy Radiohead tickets" page would be in violation.
    This lawsuit is pretty deep.
    • Why couldn't tickmaster simply check for the refer link and have their webserver decide the policy, rather than sicking lawyers on "bad" people? Are ticketmaster's webmasters that clueless?
      • Excellent comment.

        Deep linking can easily be prevented with current technology using session-based guards against direct access to certain pages.

        But, part of it should be illegal. Entering a cinema without paying through an unguarded area is illegal as well, regardless of the security measures taken. I might not agree with them, but I do believe that the publisher of data has the right to decide the terms of availability. If those terms require access through a certain pattern and not direct access, let's just obey that.

        The linking itself should not be illegal, as that is equivalent to telling someone about a side-door of a cinema. Entering that way should be illegal, so if the linking site clearly indicates that there should not be a problem. The reference should be legal as long as the reader is informed that is not a legal act. Using the link should be illegal and linking without warning should be considered severe neglecance and might indeed be subject to legal action.

        That might sound absurd, but we often compare technology issues to real life scenarios to explain flaws in (proposed) laws. Let's stay consistent, even if we do not like the consequences.
      • Here's a post I made a couple months ago on the topic in response to a similar post, I think it's still valid:

        Let me just quickly say, scripts like that is the stupidest abuse of referrers I've ever come across. The referrer is a great tool for following the flow of traffic, not to police flow of traffic. The referrer is set in the browser (client side), it is not something that any browser has to use. And it can be easily spoofed or disabled. If 10% of the websites blocked my traffic based on my referrer, I'd just find a browser that let me turn off the referrer. And I'm sure I'm not alone. So by abusing the referrer, it's more than possible for browsers to just stop sending it, and hurt websites that are trying to watch flow of traffic to help the users out.
        • You could write/use some proxy software that deletes headers you don't want to use, like Referrer. Anyone know of any examples?
        • Ok, so what do you do against a site that disallows browsers without a Referer header, and only allows requests with a Referer that contains a special cooked-up URL with a random number in it, that changes every hour?

          This is basically using the Referer header as another form of cookie.
        • Ok, then ticketmaster could simply forward to the main page if a session wasn't already initiated once a user arrived at a deeper page.
        • The referrer is set in the browser (client side), it is not something that any browser has to use. And it can be easily spoofed or disabled.

          Cookies set from the main page can enforce the refer policing of traffic.

          And if sites like ticketmaster want to do this? Most likely they aren't visited. It is sites like these that annoy those who create webpages and as a result are likely to be ignored by search engines. If they want to make their own bed, they are going to have to sleep in it too.

          Its within ticketmaster's right to analyze refer and cookies to police traffic and my right to ignore them. But they shouldn't have the right to make laws preventing how I communicate and making web pages is one way I communicate. Ticketmaster can kiss my ass and sue me when I deep link their showing of the goatsex movie.
      • Why couldn't tickmaster simply check for the refer link and have their webserver decide the policy, rather than sicking lawyers on "bad" people?

        I guess there are more laywers than competent web masters.

    • Anyway why should I care.

      I'm unsueable - just by having an ungarnishable income, like drug dealing &/or being on welfare, & making sure I have no assets that are bailifable (by making sure they are in a relatives name or by having a flatmate in the house who can say 'don't take that, its mine' & then leasing anything I need)

      I can get up & slander the most law suit happy people in the world & there's fuckall they can do about it.

      So if you want to deep link, give me some cash & I'll be your silent partner & you can do it under my name.
  • I plan (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    on an immediate boycott of all Danish newspapers in response to this tyranny. Who will join me?
  • Also Illegal: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tswinzig (210999) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:38PM (#3828021) Journal
    - Sending specific URL's to your friends via email.

    - Citing specific pages in your footnotes.

    - Pointing at specific locations with your finger.
    • by DABANSHEE (154661) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:09PM (#3828241)
      Afterall arn't the vast majority of search engine results deep links.

      This comes down to the fact that web advertising doesn't work. Unlike telly there's none of this having to watch adds to watch the program crap.

      Really deeplinking to advertisers I spose is like being able to instantly fast foreward to the actionshots in a movie that some network's broadcasting.

      When will these news sites learn that they're going to have to pr0n up their sites if they want to make money from them.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:39PM (#3828027) Homepage
    Wired News [wired.com] has a similar interesting article about a cease and desist letter [wired.com] sent to an independant news site [barkingdogs.org] by Belo [belo.com], corporate parent of The Dallas Morning News [dallasnews.com], forbidding them from linking to individual stories within the site. They claim that the author can only link to the site's homepage, and attempting to link to stories [about.com] within [dallasnews.com] the site violates their copyright.
  • by mortenf (191503) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:42PM (#3828039) Homepage
    Actually, the ruling is not that deep links are illegal, it's a temporary ruling that makes Newsbooster take their service down until a real trial can be held.

    Newsbooster has a press release [newsbooster.com] on the matter.
  • I hear people making analogies about deep linking, and I think I have a good one. Many phone systems force someone to dig deep into a tree to get to the person who they want to talk to, i.e. tech support systems. Deep linking would be like making a preset speed dial to phone 1-888-555-8765-3,2,6,3,7,2 so that someone wouldn't have to climb a phone tree.

    I'm not making any claims to the good/badness of this, but it is a good way to explain deep-linking to non-internet users, without presenting a bias. Personally, I think it is wrong to do, if the site admin doesn't want it, but it sure shouldn't be against the law.
  • Moronic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wirefarm (18470) <jim@m m d c.net> on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:44PM (#3828056) Homepage
    If you put a document on the web and make it accessible through the use of a(n) URL, anyone can use that URL to access it.

    Of course you can use referrer technology to block how people get to your document, but these people seem to lack the ability to do things like that.

    What if I bookmark a 'deep link'? What about Google?

    Personally, I think that the term "deep link" is a misleading term - each document is equally accessible from outside, well except for a few bytes in the length of the URL.

    Cheers,
    Jim in Tokyo
  • New Meta Tag? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin.kosch@gmAA ... inus threevowels> on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:46PM (#3828072) Homepage Journal
    Just a thought but how about a couple of new Meta Tags:
    <meta http-equiv="LinkStatus" content="NoLink">
    <meta http-equiv="LinkTo" content="False">
    If the browser and search engine was setup properly they could read the tag and ignore the link(s) on the page or give a page is unavalible security zone warning.

    I Corinthians 6:1
    Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
    • If my browser or search engine did that, I'd start using a different browser or search engine. Since I use an open source browser, half of that isn't even necessary...
    • Re:New Meta Tag? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BlowCat (216402) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:08PM (#3828234)
      Then I'll use an "improperly setup" browser. Software should be on the side of the users, or the users will choose other software.
    • ust a thought but how about a couple of new Meta Tags:

      At the Dalas Daily News, a silly synchophant says, "That's a good idea boss, I'll do it right away to prove the concept."

      Three weeks later, the boss is pleased his new browser won't go from BarkingDogs.org to the Dalas Daily News, but rather upset that it also won't go from the front page of the Dalas Daily News either.

      Your tag is the equivalent of "don't ever read me unless the user is able to type my name without any instruction", or simply "I'm hidden, go away".

      Thanks for a fine troll.

  • by Stuart Gibson (544632) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:46PM (#3828074) Homepage
    Let's hope that this doesn't mean that deep linking in itself becomes illegal. There may be a case where advertising revenue pages are bypassed or some other legitimate reason exists that the content publisher would rather users came via their front page.

    However, it is well known that deep linking is good linking [useit.com] as far as users go.

    I don't suppose there's any chance that publishers will come to a gentleman's agreement that it is improper to deep link if they explicitly ask not too (in the same way as it is considered "impolite" to provide direct links to files on others servers.

    Finally, if DeCSS code can be considered "free speech", how can writing an URL not be subject to the same rational?

    Goblin
  • I think all this mess can be traced back to the fact that everyone on earth seems to be an actor/waiter/web-designer.

    So now it seems the inability to have skilled web design is somehow the fault of third parties who want to deep link?

    Stupid. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish my 45 minute long Cold Fusion developer program.
  • by lingqi (577227) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:47PM (#3828083) Journal
    in real-life terms, it would be the equivalent of:

    "look for this and this information in THIS book" would be legal.

    "look for this and this informaiton in THIS book, PAGE # xx-yy" would not be legal.

    rediculous. -- heh, but it does make writing bibliographies easier -- "information obtained from www.nytimes.com"
  • Uh.. this is a moot point.. just make sure that your Deep Links are not going to/coming from denmark.. it's not a 'global ruling'... I'm sure if it does get over there there will be business agreements to deep link, after all lots of the time it promotes more commerce. I think that it's pretty much trying to protect copyright type voliations..

    just thoughts though.
  • there's something rotten in Denmark.
    • ...please do it right! :)

      [Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET]
      HORATIO He waxes desperate with imagination.
      MARCELLUS Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.
      HORATIO Have after. To what issue will this come?
      MARCELLUS Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
      HORATIO Heaven will direct it.
      MARCELLUS Nay, let's follow him.

  • Referer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sirisak (590510)
    A number of large sites, both corporate and strictly informative, use a HTTP-referer mechanism to transport you to the top-level page if you just "ended up" in the middle of the site. Used properly, this is a good example of user-friendly interface engineering without being obnoxious. Just my $.02.
  • Please note: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sheetrock (152993)
    While Denmark may seem a good distance away from many of us, the Hague Convention [cptech.org] may hold all of us responsible for the silly laws one country imposes. Unfortunate indeed, because it may mean no deep-linking for us and the DMCA for the rest of you, and it seems like a rather convenient but nasty way of sidestepping the controversy surrounding each piece of legislation like this by simply allowing it to take effect without any discussion.
  • For more reading... (Score:2, Informative)

    by chacha (166659)
    There's a story on Yahoo news regarding the deep linking brouhaha - it was written before the actual decision, but goes into what the big deal is. I will now deep link to it: deep linking story [yahoo.com]. Ironic, eh?
  • So I'll assume this is a followup to the paper being miffed that someone is linking past the front page, and hurting their front page revenue...

    Hopefully no judge in the US sees this as a precedent, or Slashdot will be a very different place...

    "In Time.com's new article, (Go from the fron page, about half way down, in the tech section, click on the second link from the right, spin around in a circle, and click next to the picture of the space shuttle) there's a new flight plan being shown. In related news, go to www.cnn.com, find the Sci/Tech section, and hope that the story hasn't already changed. The link you're looking for might be called "Shuttle takes off from California" if they haven't renamed it."

    And of course, this doesn't even begin to touch on the Slashdot effect, when 100,000 people have to pull down three pages (or more!) to reach the story of interest, rather than just pulling down the one page story that they're looking for. Three times the traffic means only a third of the people will be able to reach the site before it's slashdotted.

    This is a scary precedent.
  • by fermion (181285) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:57PM (#3828169) Homepage Journal
    While deep linking to individual pages within a web site is generally a good thing, what about data mining a site and displaying content as ones own? I would like to know if this ruling has more do wi'th deep linking or data mining.

    For instance, we should be able to send a browser to any page 'within' a site, but what about aggregating information or links in a way the designer of the website never intended, or publishing the information in a new media. Is there much difference between data mining a web site and publishing public comments on a site such as /. in dead tree form? I certainly do not know, but it seems to be a relevant question.

    There are clearly limits to deep linking. Jakob Nielson gives the example of a quiz [useit.com] on his site. Going to anywhere but the first page of the quiz renders the process meaningless. It is true that in most cases you want as much help as possible to get a user to an 'inner' page, as this appears to one of the greatest impediment to usability, but do we really want people to pull, for example, images or frames from our sites and display them as their own content. As the previous NPR discussion [slashdot.org]illustated, there are times when this will unfairly transfer hosting costs

    • do we really want people to pull, for example, images or frames from our sites and display them as their own content. As the previous NPR discussion [slashdot.org]illustated, there are times when this will unfairly transfer hosting costs

      Well yes we do want that. If your site sucks so bad that others can put your information together in a way that other find easier and better, you have a fundamental problem that can't be legislated away. There is no constitutional right to suck. Ther is a constitutional right to free speech. These laws are only of interest to those who wish to suck, Ticket Master, RIAA and the five music publishing companies, Local Monopoly Newspapers, the four TV broadcasters and others who put billboards on every surface imaginable. They can all rot.

  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguin (4919) on Friday July 05, 2002 @12:58PM (#3828172) Homepage

    I was present at the court (yup, I'm a Dane) - and let me clarify the matter:

    First of all, this is only the first part of the case, whether Newsbooster should be temporarily prohibited until the case is settled. Todays case wasn't settled by a judge, only a "bailiff" (according to my Danish/English translator :)

    Second, the Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association weren't concerned about search engines like Google or just a few deep links. Newsbooster did a systematic index and furthermore sold services for update-information whenever your predefined search words matched any news article.

    Third, the case is very specific and isn't as much about technical details as it is of legal matter. It was concluded that Newsbooster was in violation of Danish law of marketing ("good ethics", mainly concerning not gaining/harvesting of other companies products and services) and Danish law of intellectual property, since the articles at the Danish newspapers' sites were to be considered as a database, an index. Databases are also covered by the law of intellectual property (as a simple example: A name and an address wouldn't itself be protected by the law, but an index like a phone book would as a whole) - and since Newsbooster copied what would be considered as a database, the ruling was against Newsbooster.

    Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association is obligated to present the case in court in less than two weeks. There wouldn't be created a precedent until that case is ruled.

    ..

    And some personal comments: My hope was that Newsbooster wouldn't be prohibited, but the following meeting at FDIH [www.fdih.dk] (Foreningen for Dansk Internet Handel / The Danish eBusiness Association) mostly concerned techniques like robots.txt, usage of Referer and stuff like that.

    I believe it's important to notice that the violation might have nothing to do with links, search engines and other tools, and as such the problem shouldn't be solved with technology.

    • Re:Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

      by prizog (42097) <`gro.silavon' `ta' `todhsals-silavon'> on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:55PM (#3828557) Homepage
      "... as a simple example: A name and an address wouldn't itself be protected by the law, but an index like a phone book would as a whole."

      Europe has the Database Directive, which grants certain sui generis rights to people who create collections of otherwise uncopyrightable information. These rights are analagous to copyright's restrictions on derivative works, called "extraction" in the database case, and on redistribution, called "re-utilization". These rights last for 15 years.

      The UK and Australia simply grant copyrights to these collections.

      The US doesn't have anything at all like this -- indeed, it's been explicitly ruled many times in the last decade that the constitution doesn't provide any authority to grant such rights. See Feist v. Rural Telephone Service for the specific phone book case, and ADC v. Hamilton for maps.

  • Everytime someone sues over deep linking, no-one link to these sites anymore. No links. Whatsoever. Have them removed from Yahoo, Google, everywhere. Remove entries from your own DNS servers. When they go from 10000 hits/day to 2, they'll change their tune. A harsh punishment, but amazingly appropriate.
  • ...by making up the URL's as I go along. In a multiplayer strategy game [starshiptraders.com] it is important that players not be able to simply look into the other sectors to see who is/what is hiding there. Not being a complete fool [belo.com] I didn't just make any URL resolve directly to the game sector in question. You have to log in, get issued a 'ship' and navigate to that sector.

    Of course, I'm not a professional webmaster who knows all sorts of sophisticated web stuff, so it wasn't a problem for me. I guess it's much more complicated if you know what you're doing.

    BTW, I'm wondering what part of 'Uniform Resource Locator' these yahoo's don't understand.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:02PM (#3828195) Homepage Journal
    Being Danish myself, I am surprised by this ruling. 99.999% of the time the Danes are the ones with a clear head about all things.

    Well, they *are* only human, perhaps this judge has some, ah, non-Danish lineage. This would explain this temporary lapse of judgement.
  • by alsta (9424)
    I can recall a lot of people putting their bookmark.htm file online and use that as a start page. Should bookmarks as we know them be illegalized too? Because that's `deep linking' too if you think about it.
  • Sometimes, I just want to throw up my hands and say that people who don't understand the concept of the WEB should not be allowed to use it (much less regulate it). The web is built on hyperlinking. That's why it's popular. If these companies want something else, they should build it and try to get customers to come to them.
  • If you dont want your content deep linked then higher a webdeveloper who can make CGI Scripts ASP, PHP, JSP. Or whatever to prevent unorathrised access. After you setup a minumal security so the data is only available threw the webpage. Then you can accuse any attempts to deep link as a form of cracking (or Hacking for people who want to be that way)
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:15PM (#3828280) Homepage Journal

    The reason "deep" linking should not be illegal is because there is no fundamental difference between a deep link and a regular link. We should quit playing the game by using this term to distinguish "deep" links from others.

    You can't come up with a clear, unambiguous definition of deep links without having a special database or extension to the DNS database (!) to indicate what a site considers to be deep links on a case-by-case basis. In otherwords, the only clear and concise definition of a "deep" link is "a page on the website of Somebody Powerful that that Somebody doesn't want me to link to."

    You can't just say, "A deep link is a link that goes somewhere besides the top of a site." For example, this [dallasnews.com] is a deep link (to a website that has tried to force people not to link to them, I might add), while this [geocities.com] is not. Both are links to something other than just ahost.domain.com, but the second is the top page of a site.

    The real problem is web newbies (big media companies) think every website should have one entry point, but the web wasn't designed that way. We should quit helping these people persist in their misunderstanding of reality by using the term "deep link."

  • by marhar (66825) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:19PM (#3828299) Homepage
    The web has links, period. The term "deep link" was created by individuals who fundamentally don't understand the nature of the web. Using their terminology makes it much easier for them to stay on the offensive.

    Sorry to sound so RM-esque, but sometimes the words really *do* matter... :-/
  • I worked for a company that mulled over prohibiting deep linking, but it was a technological fix not a legal one. It is fairly easy to keep people from deep linking if you don't want them to. Just check the referrer... Shouldn't the burden be placed on the company providing the content, if it's content is so valuable then it should protect it. This is just a link for gosh sakes!
  • by Lars Clausen (1208) on Friday July 05, 2002 @01:42PM (#3828475)
    Having read several of the actual documents involved in this case, let me say this: This case is not about deep linking at all. In no way. Whatsoever.

    What they're being sued over is having essentially copied the table-of-contents. They've taken the links and titles of all the newspaper articles directly from the webpage and presented them to users. Unlike /., they did not put their own title on the references or anything.

    Under Danish copyright law, an index can be copyrighted. This copyright was violated.

    This case sets no precedent for a site that collects links to articles about e.g. Linux, as such a site would have to put their own effort into making the index.

    Everybody, STOP FSCKING PANICKING!

    Thank you.
  • A Conversation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Phybersyk0 (513618)
    wife: "you should really try out that new Thai restaurant, it's really good"
    husband: "oh, really? tell me more about it?"
    wife: "well, they've got great food, authentic atmosphere, native Thai cooks & waitstaff"
    husband: "wow, that sounds really great, can you tell me where it is?"
    wife: "no, i can't. you see, Kansas City has this rule that you can't tell anybody how to get to where you really want to go, they want you to first go to Kansas City, drive around for a few hours, until you happen to see a road sign for your particular destination, and then you'll find out the location"
    husband: "Wow, that's stupid!"
    wife: "I know." ----EOF
  • What about "Favorites", or "Bookmarks" in your web brower?

    I guess people would only be able to make a bookmark to the top page of a site, and not make a bookmark to the content they actually want to remember.

    This pretty much makes bookmarks useless, huh?

    On another note, I wholeheartedly agree with those saying that people shouldn't even play the game by using the term "deep link". due to the nature if the internet, this term is very ambiguous.
  • by alanjstr (131045) on Friday July 05, 2002 @02:21PM (#3828714) Homepage
    Read a summary here [yahoo.com]. The real issue was that the company doing the deep linking was deemed to be in direct competition with the site it was linking to.
    Copenhagen's lower bailiff's court ruled Friday that Newsbooster.com was in direct competition with the newspapers and that the links it provided to specific news articles damaged the value of the newspapers' advertisements.
  • an entire third grade class, including the teacher, has been arrested for bringing newspaper clippings to class as part of a social studies assignment.

    KFG
  • I suspect that this is NOT about whether deep linking is illegal, but rather about what it was being used for.

    Note that this concerns a site deep linking to news stories. Note also that most of the other deep linking cases in other parts of the world have ALSO concerned this very same thing.

    Finally, note that there were similar cases long before the web. They didn't involve deep linking, of course, but rather involved newspapers getting their information from other newspapers. They were only getting the facts, not the expression of the story, so there was no copyright problem. Nevertheless, they were found to be violating the law.

    So, what I suspect is that this is about unfair competition, or whatever the Danish equivalent is, NOT about deep linking. Deep linking was merely the means used.

    It's important to keep in mind when considering how laws should apply to new technology is that in many cases the laws are concerned with the result, not the means.

  • This isn't even a legal issue. Its a technical one. 30 seconds of work on the part of the website administrator and nobody will be able to deep-link to anything, at least without a lot of extra work, more trouble than simply following the links. No lawyers necessary. No wasting time and money in court. And you won't even have to deal with the ire of millions of casual websurfers. Nobody gets upset when a direct link doesn't work, but everyone gets upset when you say you're not legally permitted to do so.

    -Restil
    • by Slur (61510)
      That's exactly the point we need to spread far and wide. Sites can enforce their policies themselves by using the myriad of technical solutions available. For example, if a web surfer comes to their site without getting a cookie from the front page then they are redirected to the front page. If they want to allow deep linking then they provide hidden pages for their partners to use that require authentication before redirecting to the linked page.

      If a company begins establishing policies for the use of their network resources then they're simply creating a private network, and should take advantage of the technical resources available to secure the kind of privacy and use that they want. Going to court is a waste of time and money that they should have paid me to actually solve their problem!

      I'd be a little surprised if the Danish court actually argued against these kinds of solutions in their ruling.
  • Court Rules Against Deep Links http://www.computerworld.dk/Default.asp?Mode=2=152 47 The Newsbooster news service must refrain from sending newsletters with deep links to articles on the Web sites of Danish newspapers. Shaken by the decision, Newsbooster director Anders Lautrup conceded that his company had lost on every count. The judge Michael Kistrup upheld the complaint from the Danish Press Association and agreed to its request for an injunction against newsletters with deep links. His decision, including its premisses, runs to 38 pages. "I am deeply shocked. We lost on every count. But we shall most certainly be taking this to the Court of Appeal," said Lautrup. At the 24 June hearing it was Newsbooster's contention that deep links are an intergral part of the Internet itself - and that his Newsbooster service merely shows its readers the easiest way to the newspapers' articles. The Danish Press Association's counter-argument was that Newsbooster piggybacks on work carried out by others. The association called 2 witnesses, Holger Rosendal and Lasse Bolander. Bolander, head of Det Berlingske Officin, told the hearing about a news service that the 3 newspapers Berlingske Tidende, Politiken, and Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten had under development, which will offer a scanning service of the 3 newspapers. Newsbooster called just 1 witness, Anders Lautrup himself. Journalists present were surprised that Newsbooster didn't call further witnesses, for example people from other Net publications or from Web catalogue services like jubii.dk [a Danish equivalent of yahoo.dk]. Anders Lautrup comment on that was: "You have to be careful not to call too many witnesses, though with hindsight it might have been wise to have called someone from a search engine." "Hyperlinks are a traditional part of the Net's structure, so if the final decision also goes against Newsbooster, the consequence would be that a great many news services will have to alter their current practice," according to Danish IT expert Per Meier, who adds: "If so such a decision would have considerable legal and practical repercussions."
  • ... was created by the marketoids. As soon as people realized that this whole online advertising hack was a way to make some money, then they started creating these silly legal defenses that just end up circumventing the natural order of the technological system that permits the business to transpire in the first place.

    It's funny how people have a tendency to take the law into their own hands the moment they think they have a handle on technology. I guess it's even funnier when judges go through with it.
  • Donut court says it's naughty to dunk them into coffee. Stop it now.

    Oh yeah, deep link all you want, we don't care.
  • The haven't made a story about the ruling yet, but they have written 3 articles about the story: http://search.wired.com/news/default.asp?query=new sbooster [wired.com]

  • Im tired of people looking to the law when they themselevs are capable of fixing the problem themselves...

    they seem to manage at anglefire to prevent linking from outside the domain...
  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday July 05, 2002 @05:07PM (#3829668)
    Sometimes it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I consider myself to be one of the pioneers of news aggregation and linking -- having done this on a number of my own sites since 1995.

    Back in 1998 I came into conflict with the Nando Times [nando.net] when my 7am.com [7am.com] news site over the use of their headlines and links on the syndicated Java news ticker and news-aggregation pages.

    Nando tried to claim that use of its headlines and links to its pages were a breach of copyright and that anyone wishing to do this would have to pay $100/month [com.com] for
    the privilege.

    I told them to go take a hike and they threatened to sue for breach of copyright. Suffice to say that once they checked with their legal department as to the validity of their claims they decided to back down.

    Although they were one of the first news sites on the Web, Nando simply didn't get the concept that links drive traffic and traffic generates ad revenues -- or at least it did when there were advertisers willing to pay for placements.

    The stupid thing about this whole situation was that the 7am.com News Ticker became so popular and drove so much traffic to the various sites included on it that if I decided to remove the links to a particular news site I'd often get an email complaining that I *wasn't* linking.

    Around the same time I had similar problems with my Aardvark [aardvark.co.nz] site and found myself battling a long list of local news publishers who threatened legal action if I continued to deep link to the stories they were carrying.

    As with Nando, these sites eventually worked out that traffic = revenues and withdrew their stupid threats.

    I should make it clear that I have a very ethical and honest linking policy [aardvark.co.nz] which I advertise on my sites so that both the linkers and linkees know what I expect and offer. It's a shame that more sites don't do the same so as to avoid confusion and conflict.

    I've been deep linking for some seven years, been threatened with law suits over my linking activities by much bigger publishers on no less than six occasions -- but never had to spend a day in court and never backed down.

    Some people just take longer to learn that the WWW is *made* from deep links and that to disallow them will effectively destroy the fabric of the web.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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