Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

Linking Cases - Deep Links/ Search Engines

Batesville Serv. Inc. v. Funeral Depot Inc. - Shetland Times v. Shetland News - PCM v. - BMG Australia Ltd. v. S 11 - Ticketmaster v. - Ticketmaster v. Microsoft - Stepstone v. Ofir - - v. - NVM v. De Telegraaf  - Software 2000 v. Electronic Arts - Pacific Internet Ltd. v. Pte Ltd. - EBay v. AuctionWatch - Newsbooster - Homestore v. Bargain Network - Newsclub - Movie-List - Finn Eiendom AS and v. Notar AS - Techno Design v. Brein



Batesville Serv. Inc. v. Funeral Depot Inc.

Plaintiff Batesville Casket Company, Inc. sells caskets and other funeral products and services. Defendant Funeral Depot operates a website called through which it offers to sell caskets, including Batesville® caskets. Funeral Depot is not an authorized dealer of Batesville® caskets. If a customer orders a Batesville® casket from Funeral Depot, Funeral Depot arranges to buy the desired casket from an authorized dealer and arranges for shipment from that dealer to the local funeral home chosen by the customer.

Displaying at least some photographs of Batesville® caskets on its website, resulted in a cease-and-desist letter sent to Funeral Depot. Defendant removed the pictures and came up with a great idea: The website was modified so that small, "thumbnail" images of Batesville® caskets were linked to the appropriate casket pages on the Veterans Society website. Veterans Society is an authorized dealer of Batesville® caskets, who had a website, but at that time did not display images of caskets. Funeral Depot designed the Veteran's Society webpages. It paid for those web pages. And it controled those web pages and changes to them. The casket web pages displayed Funeral Depot's phone number rather than Veterans Society's number. Funeral Depot's control over the casket web pages was so complete that the owner of the Veterans Society was not aware of any changes to the casket portion of the website. Batesville Casket alleged copyright infringement and sued Funeral Depot before the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

The court held that Veterans Society was authorized to use the photographs, but that the facts presented were unusual enough to take this case out of the general principle that linking does not amount to copying (see Ticketmaster v. The court held that linking to another website could indeed constitute copyright infringement where the defendant has "extensive involvement" in the content of the linked-to site.

Also see the Decision Section!


Shetland Times v. Shetland News

In 1996 the Shetland Times newspaper filed a lawsuit against the Shetland News for linking to Times' articles. Scotland's Court of Session issued an interim interdict banning the links. Before Scotland’s highest court could rule on the legality of the links, the two publishers settled the case.

  • December 3, 1997: Rothman, David, Internet Links Could Take a Hit in Scottish Feud
  • Digital feud rages in Scotland,
    "The Scotland court will have to decide if unauthorized links are illegal and ponder whether headlines are bound by copyright law."
  • November 30, 1996: Mendels, Pamela, Scottish Case Tests 'Right to Link', New York Times:
    "It is a dispute between two local publishers that some believe could set the first legal precedent about use of hypertext links on the World Wide Web."
  • November 27, 1997: Kaplan, Carl, Editors Feud Over Whether Linking Is Stealing, New York Times:
    "A cutting-edge Internet legal dispute about the "right to link" that arose in Scotland's remote Shetland Islands was settled out of court recently by the still-feuding editors."
  • November 20, 1997: Jonathan Wills, "Floatingpoints: Feedback: Tale of two halves.", Response by Shetland News' operator to previous editorial.
  • November 13, 1997:  Campbell, Duncan, Computing and the Net: Shetland showdown; Duncan Campbell on a good day in court for the Web, The Guardian (London):
    "By taking their squabble to court, the owners of the two media organisations threatened the world with a legal precedent about whether linking to a site without the site operator's express permission was or was not lawful."
  • November 11, 1997: Macavinta, Courtney, Scottish link suit settled,
    "With a small island off the north coast of Scotland as a backdrop, two old friends turned enemies over Web site links have finally settled a long, drawn-out copyright lawsuit."
  • December 21, 1996: Oppenheim, C., 'Copyright Battles: The Shetlands', Ariadne:
    "On 24 October 1996, Lord Hamilton gave in a Scottish court a preliminary interdict (equivalent to injunction in English law) to prevent the Shetland News, an Internet based newspaper, from offering links from its WWW pages to those of its rival Internet newspaper, the Shetland Times."
  • November 11, 1996: The Shetland News Appeal Fund, Shetland News


Also see the Decision Section: October 14, 1996


PCM v.

One of the first news meta-sites that got sued was in the Netherlands. The site provided direct links to articles on newspaper web sites. PCM, publisher of most of the country's national dailies, failed to get an injunction against A Rotterdam court found that PCM could place advertisements next to individual stories, and that external links only brought it extra traffic.   


Also see the Decisions Section: August 22, 2000


BMG Australia Ltd. v. S 11

Record label BMG Australia Ltd. claims that the owners of an Australian website are infringing on copyright laws by simply linking to a song by artist John Farnham.  


Ticketmaster v.

Ticketmaster failed twice in an attempt to obtain a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the Central District of California to stop from deep linking into its pages. According to an March 2000 ruling linking couldn't contravene copyright laws because no copying was involved.

  • October 25, 2000: Kennedy, DeBrae’, Deep Linking Your Way into a Lawsuit, Internet Law Journal:
    "Today, however, the legality of hyperlinking is being debated in courtrooms. What is it about hyperlinking that could lead Web site owners to courtroom battles?"
  • September 12, 2000: Ciminello, Dominic, Deep Linking Is Here To Stay…For Now, Internet Law Journal:
    "A recent decision by a Los Angeles District Court OK'd the use of hyperlinks to link one page of a website to the page of another website, bypassing the second website’s homepage."
  • September 5, 2000: Sinrod, Eric, To link or not to link?, Upsidetoday:
    "Lately there has been quite a bit of commotion in the legal world about whether linking between websites is permissible, and more and more cases are preventing links and related activities."
  • August, 2000: Bonisteel, Steven, Ticketmaster Gets Setback in “Deep-Linking” Suit, Computer User:
    "Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch Inc. [NASDAQ:TMCS] said it has failed again in an attempt to obtain a preliminary injunction preventing another Web site from "deep linking" into its pages while a lawsuit over the issue unfolds in a California federal court."
  • June 7, 2000: Contreras, Jorge / Morgan, Jeffrey / Bevilacqua, Michael, The Legality of Hyperlinks: The Issues Deepen, Hale and Dorr LLP:
    "Many Internet commentators have argued that legal restrictions on hyperlinking would inhibit the growth of the web and defeat the openness that led to its widespread popularity." 
  • April 7, 2000: Kaplan, Carl, Legality of “Deep Linking” Remains Deeply Complicated, New York Times:
    "When a federal judge issued a decision last week in a case involving "deep linking," many reports suggested that the controversial Internet practice was now unambiguously legal."
  • March 30, 2000: Finley, Michelle, Attention Editors: Deep Link Away, Wired:
    "Deep linking has an official seal of approval now that U.S. District Judge Harry Hupp has ruled that websites can legally provide links to any pages on all other sites."
  • October 19, 1999: Rötzer, Florian, Deep Linking, Telepolis
  • October 15, 1999: Rich, Laura, Ticketmaster: Think Before You Link, The Standard:
    "In the hopes of sparking industrywide debate on the topic, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch is set to post a statement on its Web site that argues against certain types of linking."
  • August 10, 1999: Tedeschi, Bob, Ticketmaster Sues Again Over Links, New York Times:
    "Six months after settling a lawsuit against the Microsoft Corp. over the practice known as "deep linking," Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. filed a similar suit against a competitor, Inc."

Cocks, Elijah, Internet Ruling: Hypertext Linking does not violate Copyright


Also see the Decision Section: August 10, 2000 and March 27, 2000


Ticketmaster v. Microsoft

In April 1997 Microsoft launched Seattle Sidewalk, a Web guide to the Seattle area, which also listed various events. When visitors wanted to purchase tickets for them, they were referred to Ticketmaster’s website. On April 28, 1997, Ticketmaster reacted with a suit to Microsoft’s deep linking in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ticketmaster alleged that Microsoft had “pilfered” its content and diluted its value. The lawsuit was finally settled in 1999.  

  • February 15, 1999: Tedeschi, Bob, Ticketmaster and Microsoft Settle Linking Dispute, New York Times:
    "Ticketmaster Corp. has settled its closely-watched lawsuit against the Microsoft Corp., the chief executive of Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch said Thursday, with the ticketing giant prevailing in the dispute over whether one Web site can freely link to pages deep within another site."
  • May 21, 1997: Dunn, Ashley, Hey, You! Who You Pointin’ At?, New York Times:
    "The lawsuit filed earlier this month by Ticketmaster against Microsoft sent a shiver of anxiety through the online world since it struck at one of the most basic aspects of the Web -- the freedom and openness of the hypertext link."
  • May 21, 1997: Macavinta, Courtney, Sidewalk link to Ticketmaster fizzles, CNet:
    "Microsoft Sidewalk tried to sneak its users past Ticketmaster's blocks this week, but faulty search engine links frustrated its efforts."
  • May 19, 1997: Macavinta, Courtney, Sidewalk sidesteps Ticketmaster, CNet:
    "Microsoft's new Seattle Sidewalk site has developed a crafty way to skirt the blocks Ticketmaster put in place last week to halt traffic from the entertainment guide's Seattle and New York sites."
  • May 5, 1997: Schiesel, Seth, Choosing Sides in Ticketmaster vs. Microsoft, New York Times
  • April 30, 1997: Flynn, Laurie, Ticketmaster Suing Microsoft Over Link From Sidewalk Site, New York Times:
    "Ticketmaster, the nation's largest ticketing agency, is suing Microsoft Corp. for linking to its Web site without its permission, accusing the company of "sucking" the value from the Ticketmaster site without paying for it."
  • April 29, 1997: Ricciuti, Mike, MS link irks Ticketmaster, CNet:
    "Ticketmaster's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles yesterday, contends that Microsoft's new Seattle Sidewalk Web site illegally uses the Ticketmaster name and trademark, mainly by providing links to Ticketmaster's own site."
  • April 23, 1997: Flynn, Laurie, CitySearch Teams Up With Ticketmaster to Sell on City Sites, New York Times
  • April 4, 1997: Flynn, Laurie, Sidewalk: The Battle for Seattle Is Met, New York Times



Stepstone v. Ofir

Cologne County Court issued an injunction against StepStone’s German rival OFIR, stopping OFIR from further deep linking to StepStone's online job advertisements. The court held that deep links infringe StepStone’s exclusive rights in its database of job vacancies.  

Also see the Decision Section: February 28, 2001

Belo, the parent corporation of the Dallas Morning News, sent a letter to the Website,, demanding it stop deep linking to specific news articles from the paper's site, rather than its home page.

  • August 6, 2002: US-Amerikaner hat Ärger wegen Deep Linking, Heise:
    "Nicht die Verlinkung generell stört das Verlagshaus der Morning News, die Firma Belo, sondern das Deep Linking."

  • July 3, 2002: Bowman, Lisa, Deep linking faces clampdown, ZDNet:
    "Imagine your surprise, then, when you receive a letter from one of the sites you directed people to, which says posting such links is illegal without first seeking written permission."
  • July 1, 2002: Gibbs, Mark, Links to sue for, NetworkWorldFusion:
    "The issue for these organizations is deep linking, or linking from another Web site to content below a home page. Rather than solve the problem with technology, they opted to bully sites into removing all links except those to their home pages."
  • May 17, 2002: Morrissey, Brian, Can Deep Linking lead to deep trouble? InternetNews:
    "Their mistake: Linking directly to a interview with 800-meter Olympic champion Peter Snell. Instead of linking to the home page, sent readers directly to the "printer-friendly" version of the article, deep inside the site."
  • May 13, 2002: Dizikes, Peter, Testing the Links, ABCNews:
    "To the consternation of some observers, a recent federal court ruling in San Francisco has called into question some basic linking practices — and demonstrated the extent to which the legal status of links remains undefined, even though they have been the essence of the World-Wide Web since Tim Berners-Lee developed it in 1989."
  • May 13, 2002: Kling, Arnold, Deep Links? Yay!, TCS:
    "And lawyers for the Dallas Morning News want to prevent other web sites from linking to pages within the DMN site, other than its home page."
  • May 9, 2002: Public Citizen will defend Dallas Morning News “deep linker”, Politech:
    "Washington-based Public Citizen said Thursday that Belo's stance against "deep links" on the Internet threatens the viability of the Web and attempts to stifle free speech."
  • May 9, 2002: Sullivan, Carl, Public Citizen Attacks Belo’s Deep-Linking Policy, Editor & Publisher
  • May 7, 2002: Coursey, David, Skip the ads, go to jail? Yeah, right!, ZDNet:
    "The good folks at the Dallas Morning News consider deep linking a problem."
  • May 2, 2002: Farrel, Nick, Newspaper hacked off by deep linking Personal Computer World:
    "Legal heavies from the Dallas Morning News are demanding that a website removes so-called deep links to its stories."
  • May 1, 2002: Manjoo, Farhad, Site Barks About Deep Link, Wired:
    "Now Adelman is locked in a battle against the Belo media corporation, owner of The Dallas Morning News, which sent him a legalistic letter this week demanding that remove all "deep links" to the site." on the conflict v. received a letter from Rodale Press, the publisher of Runner's World magazine, demanding it delete a hyperlink to a "printer-friendly" version of a article or face the consequences.

§     May 31, 2002: White, Caroline, Deep Linking = Deep Trouble,
"Brothers Robert and Weldon Johnson, owners of, initially thought the letter - which claimed that they had infringed copyright by linking to an interview page inside the Runner's World site - was a joke."

See with information on the conflict and the text of some letters  

Also see: Deep Linking Redux, Poynter Forums

Legal Letters


NVM v. De Telegraaf

The Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents (NVM) brought a suit against De Telegraaf, a search engine that enables its users to search other websites for information on certain topics, e.g. real estate sales. De Telegraaf lost its case in the first instance verdict of September 12, 2000, but successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal in The Hague. According to the court the NVM database was not protected by a database right. The decision was overturned in March 2002 by the Dutch Supreme Court that ruled that owners of online databases can prohibit deep linking to the contents of their database.

§         March 27, 2002: Vos, Esme, Supreme Court bans unauthorised deeplinking,
"The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that owners of online databases can prohibit other websites from “deeplinking” into the contents of their database."

Also see the Decisions Section: March 22, 2002, December 21, 2000, September 12, 2000


Software 2000 v. Electronic Arts

A German court ruled that Software 2000 can stop deep links from a competitors site, because users might think there was a business connection between the parties.

§         January 20, 2001: Rieger, Susanne, Link setzen ohne Erlaubnis ist gefährlich, ZDNet:
 "Landgericht Hamburg verbietet unauthorisierten Verweis auf die Konkurrenz-Site."

§         January 23, 2001: Gericht: Fremde Links auf eigene Seiten kann man verbieten, Heise:
"Das Landgericht Hamburg hat einer Firma in einem kürzlich verkündeten Urteil, zu dem nun die schriftliche Begründung vorliegt, beim Setzen unerwünschter Weblinks einen Unterlassungsanspruch gegenüber einem Mitbewerber zugestanden – und zwar auf Basis des Wettbewerbsrechts."

Also see the Decision Section: January 2, 2001


Pacific Internet Ltd. v. Pte Ltd.

Sigapore High Court refused to strike out an action for trespass for providing an unauthorised web link. The case was finally settled.

Information on the case in Signapore


EBay v. AuctionWatch

Both Auctionwatch and Bidder’s Edge used software to search other websites and collect descriptions of items for auction. They then displayed them and offered links to the items. One of the searched websites was eBay. In what turned out to be a futile attempt, eBay demanded that the companies stop searching eBay's website. EBay then turned to the courts and filed a suit to stop Bidder’s Edge from crawling its website and invoked the doctrine of trespass. A preliminary injunction prohibiting Bidder’s Edge from searching eBay’s site and displaying the auction results, was appealed. The appeal was dropped after EBay and Bidder’s Edge signed an agreement to end their legal dispute in 2001.  

  • March 1, 2001: Wolverton, Troy: eBay, Bidder’s Edge end legal dispute, CNET:
    "eBay and Bidder's Edge have decided to bury the hatchet."
  • June 8, 2000: Wolverton, Troy: Bidder’s Edge changes eBay search after injunction, CNET:
    "Responding to a court-ordered injunction, Bidder's Edge has modified its search of eBay."
  • July 31, 2000: Cisneros, Oscar: Ebay Fights Spiders on the web, Wired:
    "A lawsuit filed by eBay to prevent automated agents known as spiders from crawling its site could turn websites into no-trespass fortresses and block common searching and indexing."
  • April 14, 2000: Wolveron, Troy: eBay, Bidder’s Edge face off in court, CNET:
    "A U.S. District court judge said today that he is leaning toward issuing an injunction that limits the ability of Bidder's Edge to search eBay's auctions and to display the results on its Web site."
  • November 5, 1999: Rötzer, Florian: Ebay blockiert Zugriffe von AuctionWatch-Servern, Telepolis:
    "Der Konflikt über Deep Linking zwischen der Auktionswebsite Ebay und AuctionWatch, einer Website, die wie eine Metasuchmaschine die Angebote von unterschiedlichen Auktionswebsites auflistet, hat sich verschärft."
  • November 4, 1999: Richtel, Matt, Ebay Raises Stakes in Auction Dispute, New York Times:
    "Raising the stakes in a dispute that has important intellectual property implications for the digital age, Ebay Thursday blocked access to its site from the computers of, a service that lists items for sale from Ebay and other online auction houses."
  • October 11, 1999: Auction Conflict Escalates, Wired:
    ", a startup that runs a search engine for tracking online auctions, said Monday it plans to blow off a request from eBay to stop indexing items on its site."
  • October 5, 1999: Richtel, Matt, Dispute Over eBay Auction Listings, New York Times:
    "In a brewing dispute over Internet auction listings, the Web site said on Monday that it would continue to provide its visitors with lists of items for sale on the site of the industry leader, eBay Inc., which is threatening to sue to stop the practice."

Preliminary Injunction

Bidder's Edge, Inc. also filed an antitrust lawsuit against eBay, Inc. and the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation, see:

  • February 5, 2001: Dembeck, Chet & Conlin, Robert: One Year Ago: U.S. Justice Department Launches eBay Anti-Competitive Probe, E-Commerce-Times:
    "The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating online auctioneer eBay, Inc. to determine whether its efforts to block price comparison search software from probing its Web site Relevant Products/Services from Interland are anti-competitive." 
  • February 14, 2000: Wasserman, Elizabeth, The New Bidding War, The Industry Standard:
    "Federal antitrust officials have launched an informal probe into eBay and its long-simmering dispute with two auction-listing aggregators that scour eBay and other sites to create a master list of all online auctions."
  • February 8, 2000: Dembeck, Chet: eBay Sued for “Anticompetitive Behavior”, E-Commerce Times:
    "Auction portal Relevant Products/Services from Verity Bidder's Edge, Inc. filed an antitrust lawsuit against eBay, Inc. yesterday, alleging that the giant online auctioneer had attempted monopolization, interfered with contractual relations, and utilized unfair practices." 

Also see the Decision Section: May 24, 2000



Newsbooster, a search engine for news articles was sued by the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association (DNPA), which claimed that Danish company Newsbooster violated copyright laws by "deep linking" to newspaper articles on some Danish newspapers' Internet sites. Bailiff's Court of Copenhagen ruled in favor of DNPA, ruling that the deep links violate the newspapers’ intellectual property rights.  

In 2003 Newsbooster has developed a downloadable programm called "Newsbrowser" that uses peer-to-peer techniques to search for news across the Internet. The programm comes as a reaction to a verdict from 2002, that prohibits Newsbooster from deep linking to some news websites.

  • January 23, 2003: Danish news search agent goes Kazaa style,
    "Danish search agent company has begun to offer its Danish clients a version of its Newsbooster service that operates in a similar fashion to the decentralised file-sharing networks like Kazaa and Gnutella." 
  • January 22, 2003: White, Caroline, Deep-linker sets up in the UK,
    "The battle over deep-linking has taken a new twist as the banned search facility Newsbooster moves its operations to the UK."
  • January 17, 2003: Delio, Michelle, This Is Your Deep Link on P2P, Wired:
    "Following links from one Web page to another may soon require users to run special stealth applications, if a Danish search company's experience is a sign of things to come." 
  • October 21, 2002: Ovrebo, Olav, Newsbooster's "Deep Links" Could Create Fallout, Yahoo News:
    "Newsbooster's idea was a simple one. The Danish company combed through the Web sites of local newspapers for stories of interest to its subscribers, and e-mailed story links based on its customers' preferences. To many, that sounded like a good deal. But to one Danish judge, it sounded like a crime." 
  • August 9, 2002: Fatherree, Dwayne, In guarding their content, Web sites lose traffic, Herald Tribune:
    "Some online entities, however, are getting a little provincial about who links to their content." 
  • July 23, 2002: Minahan, Simon, What will become of Web's missing links? Sidney Morning Herald:
    "The legalities of linking have again raised their head, this time in Denmark, where a Copenhagen news-searching service,, has been restrained by a Danish court from providing its clients with direct links to articles provided by members of the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association."
  • July 16, 2002: Crosbie, Vin, Who Owns Your Hyperlinks?, ClickZ:
    "Otherwise tranquil Copenhagen, Denmark, was the epicenter of a convulsion that rocked the online publishing world earlier this month, when a Danish court found that European laws make deep hyperlinking, a fundamental Web function, illegal."
  • July 9, 2002: Bowman, Lisa, Court cuts off deep linking ZDNet:
    "A Danish court bars a news site from linking to other Web sites' back pages without permission - the first legal ruling to outlaw 'deep linking'. It could be the start of a crackdown."
  • July 8, 2002: Delio, Michelle, Deep Link Foes Get Another Win Wired
  • July 6, 2002: Dänisches Gericht verbietet Deep Linking Heise Online:
    "Der dänische Internet-Recherchedienst Newsbooster darf laut einer am Freitag erlassenen einstweiligen Verfügung Meldungen auf den Websites dänischer Zeitungen nicht direkt verlinken."
  • July 4, 2002: Bowman, Lisa, Web ties cut by hyperlinking crackdown ZDNet:
    "Some Web publications are clamping down on 'deep linking', where a hyperlink goes to a page other than their home page, but others warn that this destroys the very essence of the Web."
  • June 26, 2002: Manjoo, Farhad, Deep Linking's Legal Link on Hold Wired:
    "After two days of hearings, a Danish court has delayed making a decision in a closely watched case that could determine the legality of "deep linking" in Denmark and other European Union countries."
  • June 24, 2002: Manjoo, Farhad, Danish Deep-Link Decision Due Wired:
     "If everything goes well for the Danish news service Newsbooster this week, nothing will change: The Web will be the same freewheeling place it's always been, with everyone allowed to link to everyone else."
  • June 13, 2002: Hyperlinks May Cause A War in Europe,
  • June 10, 2002: Jesdanun, Anick, Danish publishers in court over links,
    "Danish publishers, however, equate such linking with stealing - Nicolai Lassen considers linking such a fundamental element of the World Wide Web that he sees nothing wrong with creating a service around linking to news articles at more than 3,000 other sites."
  • June 1, 2002: Deep Linking Prohibition Sought HexMap:
    "Danish Newspaper Publishers' Association is seeking an injunction against Newsbooster for linking to the individual stories instead going through the main page for the web site."
  • May 20, 2002: Taylor, Charlie, The war on links, Nua Analysis:
    "Just imagine for a second that instead of providing you with a link to a specific report on Nua, I forced you to visit the home page and plough through the archives until you found what you were looking for."
  • April 19, 2002: Future of Deep Hyperlinking Could be Decided by Danish Courts, Inside e-Law:
    "The Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association has applied to the Danish courts for an injunction to be taken against Newsbooster for their practice of supplying newsfeeds to its users which contain links to newspaper stories."
  • April 18, 2002: Delio, Michelle Deep Linking Returns to Surface, Wired:
    "Legal experts say that deep-linking can violate U.S. and European copyright and trademark laws." 

For a list of further articles see

Also see the Decision Section: July 5, 2002


Homestore v. Bargain Network

Homestore filed a lawsuit with U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Bargain Network because of its deep linking to detailed real estate listings.

§         April 26, 2002: Bargain Basement, Appraiser’s Cafe:
" (Nasdaq: HOMS) announced yesterday afternoon it has commenced a lawsuit against Bargain Network in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles."



Are Deep Links from Meta-News-Sites legal or can they be banned? The news searching engine was sued by a publishing company for copyright infringement because of web site linking. NewsClub won an interim injunction at Berlin court in January 2001, but lost in the main lawsuit at Munich regional court (LG München). NewsClub appealed the ruling.  

April 2003 Update: The inventor of NewsClub had been sued for linking to the plaintiff's news articles. In January 2001, NewsClub had won an interim injunction at a Berlin court.  Nevertheless, plaintiff managed to move the lawsuit to Munich regional court, and won. The decision was appealed at first but the appeal was withdrawn at the end of March 2003.  By agreeing to comply with the cease and desist agreement, the Plaintiff accommodated the Defendant by abandoning its claims of demanding compensation and further information that had been determined by Munich Regional Court first instance court. 

So the decisive question of the legality of search engines in general will probably be answered by higher German courts in parallel cases against the search engines or

More information on the lawsuit with court decisions, other case documents and an english discussion forum can be found at the newsclub website.

Also see the Decision Section: September 18, 2001, January 30, 2001



Bazinet, who runs the website Movie-List, which contains over 900 links to movie trailers, received a letter from Universal Pictures, demanding he remove all links to trailers for movies from Universal Pictures. Bazinet complied with the request.

  • August 6, 1999: Kaplan, Carl, Is Linking Always Legal? The Experts Aren’t Sure, New York Times:
     "Late last month, Bazinet removed the links to all trailers for movies from Universal Pictures. Lawyers from the studio had sent letters and e-mail objecting to his linking to Universal trailers without permission."
  • July 27, 1999: Cisneros, Oscar, Universal: Don’t link to Us, Wired:
     "A Web site that aggregates links to movie trailers online has come under fire from a major movie studio that says the links infringe on its copyrights."



Finn Eiendom AS and v. Notar AS

Accordings to a Norwegian district court ruling hyperlinks to a competitor's database website do not violate Norway's Copyright Act or Marketing Practices Act (Finn Eiendom AS and v. Notar AS (Trondheim D. Ct.), 162): "Surface Hyperlinking is a normal practice on the internet"


Techno Design v. Brein

The popular Dutch website, offered access to some 30,000 music links. Brein, the Dutch entertainment industry's anti-piracy association sued before a court in the Dutch city of Haarlem and lost. The court ruled that providing links to an MP3 file did not constitute disclosure or publication of contents according to Dutch copyright law. The verdict means that the portal will not be shutdown and can continue to be used to search for music on the internet, regardless of whether its findings point to music that is legal or not.


Linking Cases

There have been a lot of lawsuits concerning linking, framing and search engine issues in the last years. In this section you'll find short introductions into the different cases and links to news articles about it. 

An overview over featured cases can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



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