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Sued for Linking
Threatened with lawsuit just by linking?
Oaf357




msg:919826
 1:12 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Has anyone ever been sued by linking to another web site? I ask because I've been threatened with a lawsuit by linking to a company's web site and not using a favorable review of their service/product.

Has anyone heard of such insanity actually seeing the inside of a court room?

 

Stefan




msg:919827
 1:33 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not the link as such though, is it? It's the unfavourable review.

It probably depends on what country you live in, but if it's the one known to be the most litigious nation on Earth, who knows what's possible? That said, it's hard to believe that even there anyone would have a case to be made for just having a link, when that's the main underpinning of the internet. If your online review is libelous, it's a different thing - by you having put it online, you're publishing it, and it's the same thing as putting up posters on hydro poles, or distributing articles to newspapers.

So, if you don't think it's grounds for a libel suit, tell them to get stuffed, discretely.

(Imho, etc)

hunderdown




msg:919828
 2:37 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't take chances. If you want to leave the review up, consult with a lawyer.

treeline




msg:919829
 2:50 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Find all the sites they link to. Get them to sue the poor sports.

eeek




msg:919830
 4:05 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

It sounds like a bluff to me. You can check on the EFF's site for information on cases dealing with linking. But as far as I can remember the courts ruled that linking is ok (as it should be).

exseo




msg:919831
 7:19 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

This sort of thing happens all the time - the threats I mean - and companies don't realize that bad reviews are the perfect opportunities to openly address issues people have with their products.

I don't know the details of your situation, and please don't take this as advice, but if it were me and I thought I was within my rights to give a (non libelous) strong opinion on a company, I would. If they didn't like it and sent me a C&D just to be heavy handed and shut me up, I'd publicize their tactics.

Anyway, that's just me being the way I am because I've been threatened in the past (and won, after a lot of expense and headaches), but you have 2 choices really...

1. Pull the review and link and fuggedaboudit, or

2. Fight with them and the court system.

If you go for #2, be sure you have a bankroll and lots of time and energy to waste. And stock up on antacid tablets too ;-)

Beagle




msg:919832
 3:31 pm on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

One instance where the company might have a legal basis is if the specific link in question is an affiliate link. Some, not all, affiliate programs have language in their TOS covering what kind of content can/can't be associated with an affiliate link, and that might include negative remarks about the product.

Oaf357




msg:919833
 3:51 pm on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good point, Beagle.

While this isn't an affiliate link it is a good thing for others to keep in mind.

shigamoto




msg:919834
 7:54 am on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

It depends on what you have written in your review. If it's a fair review downgrading their product then it shouldn't be a problem. However if you have written stuff in the review that isn't directly connected to the product or company they might have a chance of suing you.

As for the linking thing it just seems silly and bad PR for the company. I also own a review site and we write bunches of reviews that put products in unfavourable positions and we haven't recieved something this silly yet. Tell them to make a better product and remove the link if it doesn't suit them.

Syzygy




msg:919835
 1:24 pm on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Has anyone ever been sued by linking to another web site?

Relevant to this question only, do look up "deep linking" on your favourite search engine.

Syzygy

rogerd




msg:919836
 2:35 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oaf, are they objecting to the link or the unfavorable review, or both? There have been link lawsuits in the past, with Ticketmaster being one of the early biggies. Usually the issue is deep-linking, which reduces the opportunity for the site to show ads on a succession of pages, encourage visitors to sign up, etc. I haven't heard too much about link suits in recent years, though I have heard of a few ill-informed firms sending C&Ds to inbound linkers. (Clearly, those firms value the opinions of their lawyers more than those of their SEOs. ;))

Removing the link and leaving the content would be one approach. Be sure you are acknowledging any trademarks properly. If your review is honest and properly researched, they have little legal ground to complain. That doesn't mean they can't sue you, of course.

Yet another option would be to offer them the opportunity to post a response on your site. Free content for you, and the tacit acknowledgement that your site is important. Win-win.

wmuser




msg:919837
 11:09 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Cant remember the URLs but i remember that i have read a few cases in which someone has been sued ofr linking to another website

ronburk




msg:919838
 3:16 pm on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I ask because I've been threatened with a lawsuit

Then if you have any assets you value, you need to either consult an attorney or succumb to the threat's demands.

End of story.

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