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Linking to free web content is legal, says EU Court
Lame_Wolf

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 9:38 pm on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Websites can link to freely available content without the permission of the copyright holder, the European Court of Justice says.

[bbc.co.uk...]

 

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 9:55 pm on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Even if the site license on the content forbids it?

That would mean the person visiting the site to obtain the link would be in violation of the site's linking policy regardless of whether it's legal to link to free content or not.

How twisted is that and which would be enforceable, the site usage license or the link law?

Or BOTH...simultaneously in effect because you can be within the letter of the law yet violating an agreement unless the law specifically supercedes all agreements. For instance in California the law expressly prohibits employers from claiming any work outside of work hours to stop companies from claiming inventions made outside of work hours.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 10:46 pm on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not sure I understand you Bill.

The law in most countries is that a link is not usually a breach of copyright. It may be a breach of copyright if it frames the material to make it look like its on the same site.

In this case it appears that the court said its OK even if it looks like its on the same site (which I would not be happy about). The media accounts I have found are not terribly clear.

I do not understand how that implies:

That would mean the person visiting the site to obtain the link would be in violation of the site's linking policy regardless of whether it's legal to link to free content or not.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 11:49 pm on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

I understand it's not a copyright violation, but site's also have restrictions in their TOS over certain types of links, often deep-linking isn't allowed, etc.

My convoluted point was that a linking policy on a site's TOS may have restrictions in the shrink wrap license, and if someone linked in violation of that site's TOS policy, does the site license or the law win out, or do both apply?

Sounds like a can of worms.

Besides, just because something is "freely available" doesn't mean you can do whatever you want without permission. This is the fodder scrapers will use to claim they're doing nothing wrong. RELEASE THE CRACKEN!

I've taken some referrers (eBay, craigslist, etc.) that I don't like linking to my "freely available" content, esp. hot-linkers, and redirect them elsewhere, places that would make Jeffrey Dahmer blush. Let the courts chew on that as technology can be used to easily defeat unwanted links which the newspaper could've easily done. I'm always embarrassed for the news agencies hauling people into court for something a single line in Apache would typically resolve, such babies.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 12:17 am on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

a linking policy on a site's TOS may have restrictions in the shrink wrap license

One does not need to visit a site - let alone agree to such nonsense - to know a URL.

just because something is "freely available" doesn't mean you can do whatever you want without permission

You can point to it and say it is freely available all you like, no permission required.

There was a guy on here a while back who was going to charge 5 bucks each for inbound links.

I wonder how much he made...

...

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 6:49 am on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

IAh, get it.

I think in most countries the answer is that unless you actively agreed to the sites TOS it is not binding. If it is then you can be sued for breach of contract.

Besides, just because something is "freely available" doesn't mean you can do whatever you want without permission


No, but you can link to it.

I'm always embarrassed for the news agencies hauling people into court for something a single line in Apache would typically resolve, such babies.


I bet you are never surprised though! I think they are motivated more by creating precedents than by preventing any particular act.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 7:00 am on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

There was a guy on here a while back who was going to charge 5 bucks each for inbound links.

I wonder how much he made...


Probably not as much as the scumbags running shady directories now charging $$ to remove IBLs

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 3:51 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

The way the BBC account reads it sounds to me as if they are saying that framing and hotlinking is legal, not just linking or deep linking. I hope that is just bad journalism and not carte blanche for bandwidth theft.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4645848 posted 5:37 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

it sounds to me as if they are saying that framing and hotlinking is legal

Indeed, but anything is legal until a law is passed that regulates it.

If there were a law against framing and hotlinking then Google would be the biggest offender.

bandwidth theft

The analogy would be with the free newspapers that are left outside railway stations.

The public is invited to take them, with distribution costs borne by the publishers.

The journalists argued in the original case that users of Retriever Sverige's website would not know that they had been sent to another website by clicking on the links

Hard to tell without reading the judgement, but this case seems to have been about the legal concept of "passing off".

...

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