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Someone Threatening Action Because I link to there Site

     
11:46 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Guys,

Quick question - I have a links page on my site, where i link to 4 different articles on another website.

For the link, i use merely the name of the article as the link text - thats it. (i.e.// <a href="link">Article Title Name</a>)

The owner of the website just sent me this email [edit: just describe it, thanks. mb]:

<snip>

Do they have any recourse? Should i remove the links? Isn't it "fair use" for me to link to them?

Andrew.

[edited by: martinibuster at 2:46 pm (utc) on July 27, 2006]
[edit reason]
[1][edit reason] <br>[1][edit reason] Removed email content. SEE TOS. [/edit]
[/edit][/1] [/edit][/1]

11:52 pm on July 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

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That sounds like the response of an irate webmaster who has been 302-hijacked, but you say you have created normal links. Are you using frames? If the links open within your site's frame, it may appear to a newbie webmaster as though you have copied his content onto your site. Is this what is going on?

[edited by: martinibuster at 2:46 pm (utc) on July 27, 2006]
[edit reason]
[1][edit reason] Removed email quote. [/edit]
[/edit][/1]

1:03 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the reply.

I'm definately creating normal links, absolutely nothing funny about them - hand coded in good ol' fashioned HTML - no iframes / frames, nothing of that nature. Just a pure link like i showed above. 302 hijacked? not sure what you mean by that.

Again, like I said, there is absolutely no text of the article, i merely use the article name as my link anchor text.

Is there any legal recourse for the webmaster? Should i remove the links immediately? It's something i know my users will find useful.

Andrew.

[edited by: tedster at 3:47 pm (utc) on July 29, 2006]
[edit reason]
[1][edit reason] fix typo [/edit]
[/edit][/1]

1:13 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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just remove it, why go through the aggravation.
12:51 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is there any legal recourse for the webmaster? Should i remove the links immediately? It's something i know my users will find useful.

I'm not a lawyer yada yada legal disclaimer.

If it's just a link it's not against the law. One thing to note make sure you're not slandering someone with your anchor text, that could cause problems. If you don't want the trouble just take it down.

4:55 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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On the other hand... why let someone else tell you what you can't use on your site? If it is relevent to your content and within the acceptable practices, I say leave it up and forget about it. After all isn't that why they call it the World Wide Web?

If you are still thinking of removing it, I'd say at least wait until the site owner spends $500 on a lawyer to send you a cease and desist letter. Make he/she pay for the grief they are causing you.

Just my 2 cents.

5:00 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you are interested in "linking and the law" here's a list of some cases, rulings, and other info through 2004 broken up by country

[jura.uni-tuebingen.de...]

3:26 pm on July 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One resource the above link refers to puts it nicely. This a text from 1997 but in essence nothing should have changed.

Myth one
Myth: "A normal link is an incitement to copy the linked document in a way which infringes copyright".

This is a serious misunderstanding. The ability to refer to a document (or a person or any thing else) is in general a fundamental right of free speech to the same extent that speech is free. Making the reference with a hypertext link is more efficient but changes nothing else.

When the "speech" itself is illegal, whether or not it contains hypertext links, then its illegality should not be affected by the fact that it is in electronic form.

Users and information providers and lawyers have to share this convention. If they do not, people will be frightened to make links for fear of legal implications. I received a mail message asking for "permission" to link to our site. I refused as I insisted that permission was not needed.

There is no reason to have to ask before making a link to another site

But by the same token,

You are responsible for what you say about other people, and their sites, etc., on the web as anywhere

Myth Two
Myth: Making a link to a document makes your document more valuable and therefore is a right you should pay".

This is another dangerous one. It is of course true that your document is made more valuable by links to high quality relevant other documents. A review in a consumer magazine has added value because of the quality of the products to which it refers the reader. I may be more valuable to you as a person if I refer you to other people by name, phone number or URL. This doesn't mean I owe those people something.

We cannot regard anyone as having the "right not to be referred to" without completely pulling the rug out from under free speech.

Myth three
Myth: Making a link to someone's publicly readable document is an infringement of privacy.

The "security by obscurity" method of hiding things behind secret URLs has the property that anyone knowing the URL (like a password) can pass it on. This is only a breach of confidentiality of there is some confidentiality agreement which as been made.

 

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