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Here's the article:
Deep linking is a legal grey area, but in Europe it's clear as crystal: you can't do it without risking court cases in which the plaintiff has a fair chance of winning. Europe has strict database protection legislation and some companies wanting to ban deep linking to their web sites have successfully used this legislation to ban deep linking without prior explicit consent.
The Database Protection Directive passed into the respective EU members' national legislation sometime during 1998. The Directive states that databases developed and maintained in the European Union are protected against unauthorized extraction and reuse for 15 years, regardless of whether the content itself is eligible for copyright protection. If the database owner can prove that substantial new investments have been made in the database, the protection period can even be extended for a further 15 years.
Straightforward republishing of content from another site without permission understandably is against the law. But in Germany and several other countries in the EU, court cases have been won by plaintiffs whose content as such wasn't republished. Other sites simply deep linked to pages on the web site, thereby not entering the plaintiff's web site through the home page. Newsletter publishers are typical examples: they usually publish links to interesting pages other than the home page on a web site.
The bottom line is that every organisation engaging in deep linking and active within the European Union, should be made aware of this legislation and the possible consequences.
I would think reciprocal links, where the potential plantiff has provided permission would be ok though.
I would however, be cautious myself and get it in writing, things can change very quickly with online relationships.
First it would be pretty easy for every newspaper and other publishers to exclude spiders from their material.
Second the decisions made show a very debatable understanding of what a link is. Claiming a link is similar in nature to republishing the linked material, like Google's and other SE's cache do it, is ridiculous, IMO.
Yeah, you're right. I got a bit carried away. But I still think it's good to be careful, and I also think it's a very stupid way to interpret a law that's designed to protect database data.
>>Second the decisions made show a very debatable understanding of what a link is. Claiming a link is similar in nature to republishing the linked material, like Google's and other SE's cache do it, is ridiculous, IMO.
Not your opinion only. It IS ridiculous and indeed, they DON't understand what a link is. In my opinion, if you don't want another site deep linking to your content, you can take appropriate measures such as redirects IMMHO.
joined:Oct 23, 2000
Not a problem for the everyday webmaster that links to a site here and there, but a problem for sites that build their content on (deep) linking to other sites without permission.
Maybe the search engines will have problems in the long run, but let's not get carried away here by saying linking to other sites can put you in court. That's not the case.
The points made about robots.txt is good. Put up a robots.txt and disallow the bot you don't want in. If they go in anyway, you basically have a court case. There's examples of case where robots.txt have been used to present a case - and cases have been won by arguing that the violatior didn't respect the robots.txt.
joined:Oct 23, 2000
As I see it, it would be taking the very nature of out the Web if linking to other sites was illegal.