newspapers and periodicals, including CNN, Dow Jones, Reuters, Time Inc.,
Times Mirror, and The Washington Post
filed suit in the Southern District of New York against Total News, Inc.
(97 Civ. 1190 (S.D.N.Y., filed Feb. 2, 1997)),
alleging copyright and trademark infringement by framing their news stories. The
conflict was finally settled on the basis that Total News may continue deep
linking to the articles, but ceases framing.
December 20, 1997: Stone, Martha,
sites go after framers, ZDNet: "Online news publishers
are mad as hell about framing and certain linking by some news index sites, and
they're not going to take it anymore."
11, 1997: Kirsner, Scott: TotalNews
Pokes a Stick at Big Media Again, Wired: "Just days after settling a lawsuit with several media giants, TotalNews is once again flirting with the same framing technology that spurred accusations of copyright and trademark
February 25, 1997: Biggs, Brook Shelby,
Struggle with Online Archives, Wired: "What if the information on the
other end of that link doesn't want to be found, or wants to be found,
but only at a price? Those questions are at the heart of a debate now raging
among the newly wired denizens of the newspaper industry."
24, 1997: Mitchel, Dan, Para-Site
Draws Ire, Suit from News Giants, Wired: "Several major news organizations have sued TotalNews, a so-called "para-site" that links to news stories on other Web
Austrian company Meteodata, which is producing weather charts, started billing
webmastes for unsolicited links to their website.
2003 Update: Meteodata filed a petition for bankruptcy. This comes as a
reaction to a verdict from the OGH that held that framing the website with the
weather charts produced by Meteodata, is not illegal. Some webmasters, who had
already paid for links, demanded their money back, while other webmasters, who
thus far have not complied with the demand, were strenghtened in their view that
the company has no legal basis for its claim.
2003 Update: Meteo-data demanded that people
pay for links to their website. In one case they sued for framing their
weather-charts. They lost. That does not keep others from trying again. As
reported before, Hot Maps also send letters to people who linked to their site,
demanding they pay a fee. Hot maps obtained interim injunctions against some
website operators. In one case the defendant produced firm pieces of evidence
that the Hot-maps website contained the statement that links to the website
concerned in this lawsuit were free of charge. The court hearing before Hamburg
regional court was lifted on application of Hot Maps. Hot Maps will not make
further claims in this case.
August 29, 2003:
Verfahren abgesagt, intern.de: "Nach Angaben des Anwalts hat der Kläger, die Hot Maps GmbH, an
"zahlreiche Betreiber von Homepages Abmahnungen" verschickt und
teilweise auch Einstweilige Verfügungen erwirkt."
August 29, 2003:
Klägers im Prozess um Deep Links, webwork-magazine: "Wer Links auf die Unterseiten des Stadtplan-Dienstes Hot Maps setzt,
muss mit einer Abmahnung wegen Urheberrechtsverletzung seitens des
April 3, 2003:
meldet Konkurs an, Futurezone: "Der oberösterreichische Wetterinformationsdienstleister Meteodata hat am Donnerstag den Konkursantrag gestellt."
February 24, 2003:
ermöglicht fremde Inhalte auf Website, diepresse.at: "Öffnet der Oberste Gerichtshof dem Content-Diebstahl Tür und Tor, oder erleichtert er im Interesse von Anbietern und Nutzern bloß die Benützung des WWW? Diese Frage stellt sich nach einer Entscheidung des Höchstgerichts, mit der Internet-Anbietern gestattet wird, fremde Leistungen unter bestimmten Bedingungen auf der eigenen Homepage darzubieten."
February 20, 2003:
spricht von "Fehlurteil" und will vor den EuGH, pressetext.at: "Meteodata will den Fall um die Einbindung von Wetterkarten in Frames der Website der oberösterreichischen Baufirma Bernegger Bau http://www.bernegger.at vor den Europäischen Gerichtshof bringen."
February 20, 2003:
will vor den EuGH, futureZone: "Der Antrag auf Einstweilige Verfügung, die oberösterreichische Baufirma Bernegger Bau dürfe in ihre Website keine Wetterkarten von Meteodata.at mittels Frame einbinden, wurde in letzter Instanz zurückgewiesen."
30, 2002: Arge
Daten versus Meteodata, derStandard.at: "Die Firma Meteodata schickt an Website-Betreiber, die auf ihrer Seite einen Link auf die Wetterkarten von Metedata gesetzt haben, laut ARGE Daten - "nicht nur eine Unterlassungsauffoderung, sondern auch eine Honorarforderung mit teilweise absurden Beträgen und Begründungen"."
9, 2002: Erste
Klagen von Meteodata, Internet Ombudsman: "Richterspruch soll endgültig Klarheit über die Zulässigkeit von Links auf fremde Websites schaffen."
4, 2002: Millionenklagen
wegen Website-Links, derStandard.at: "Das oberösterreichische Unternehmen Meteodata, Betreiber der Wetter-Site Meteodata.com, hat mehrere Website-Betreiber in Österreich, Deutschland und der Schweiz geklagt, weil sie auf ihrern Websites Links auf Wetterkarten von Meteodata gelegt haben."
March 5, 2002:
Posse um Links, Netzzeitung.de: "Das weiß doch jedes Kind: Das Internet wird von Verknüpfungen, so genannten Hyperlinks, zusammengehalten. Wer die setzte, machte sich bislang um Gebühren keine Sorgen. Bis zu diesem Streitfall in der Alpenrepublik jedenfalls."
4, 2002: Abkassieren
für Hyperlinks, futureZone: "Summen bis zu 100.000 Euro wurden von kleinen Firmen gefordert, die illegal Inhalte von Meteodata übernommen hatten."
International uses the framing technology to display both the Tunisian
propaganda website (www.amnesty-tunisia.org) and Amnesty International's
description of the human rights situation in Tunisia (www.amnesty.org/tunisia)
on the screen
plaintiff alleged that a framed link falsely tied the defendant to plaintiff's
service. Injunctive relief was denied, and the denial was affirmed by
the 9th Circuit on July 23, but defendant's motion to dismiss was also denied.
The case was finally settled.
visual search engine (ditto.com, formerly known as Arriba) crawls the web to
produce thumbnail images of photographs and uses them to link to the original
pictures. Leslie Kelly, a professional photographer filed suit on April 6, 1999,
alleging copyright infringement. A California District Court ruled that both the
creating of the thumbnails and the inline-linking is justified under the fair
use doctrine. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed and reversed in part the
district court decision. The display of the tiny images was deemed to be legal
fair use, but not the inline-linking.
8 (August 2003):
On February 6, 2002, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that
that unauthorized inline linking to images residing on the copyright owner's
website violates the copright owner's right of public display. The court
rejected defendant's fair use defense: Inline Linking diminishes the
oppurtunities of the copyright owner to sell or licence the images on his own
website. If the court's conclusion would be applied to all hyperlinks, it could
seriously interfere with internet use.
In July 2003, the court found that the district court
should not have reached the issue because neither party moved for summary
judgment as to the full-size images." So the lower court once again has to
take a look at the issue of inline linking.
July 10, 2003:
and framing ruling revised, Out-Law.com: "A US federal appeals court this week revised an earlier copyright
ruling over a search engine that provided miniature images in search results,
known as thumbnails, and linked to the original image framed within the
search engine's own site."
July 8, 2003:
Thumbnails OK, says
Journal: "An Internet search engine did not break the law when it collected and
distributed thumbnail images of copyrighted photos, the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled in another case involving the
Internet and copyright law."
July 7, 2003: Olsen, Stefanie,
backs thumbnail image linking, CNet: "Search engines' display of miniature images is fair use
under copyright law, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, but the legality
of presenting full-size renditions of visual works is yet to be determined."
15, 2002: Filler, Stephen,
Internet-Age Copyright Ruling, atnewyork.com: "Also, and more significantly, the Court ruled that the Web site's use of inline linking and frames to display content residing on a third party's server was a copyright
20, 2002: Sullivan, Danny, Legal
Rulings On Image Search & Meta Tags, Search Engine Watch: "In the right circumstances, image search engines don't violate copyright and using another company's trademarks in meta tags isn't infringement, two separate court cases have
February 20, 2002: Contreras, Jorge / Steinberg,
Fair Use and Hyperlinks: The Ninth Circuit Breaks New Ground in Kelly v.
Arriba Soft, Hale and Dorr LLP: "On February 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp. further expanded the scope of the "fair use" exception to include "thumbnail" reproductions of copyrighted images generated by a visual Internet search engine. In doing so, however, the court also confirmed that hyperlinking to full-sized images "framed" by the search engine was not
7, 2002: Krebs, Brian,
Rules “Thumbnail” Images OK, Full-Sized Copies Not, Newsbytes: "In an important decision for the application of copyright law on the Internet, a federal appeals court has ruled that while Web sites may legally reproduce and post "thumbnail" versions of copyrighted photographs, displaying full-sized copies of the images violates artists' exclusive right to display their own
February 6, 2002: Sandburg, Brenda, Bigger
Not Better With Copyrighted Web Photos, law.com: "Search engines can display "thumbnails," but not full-sized images of copyrighted works on their Web sites, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled
The American Society of Media Photographers, joined by The Author's
Guild, North American Nature Photographers Association, National Music
Publishers' Association and the Harry Fox Agency, also filed an
thumbnails are legal in the USA, but what about the situation in Germany (Update
16, March 2004):
Google News went online in July 2003, covering about 700 news sources.
Germany was the 7th country to get a country-specific Google News service, which
presents information culled from many news sources. Topics are updated
continuously throughout the day. There are no human editors. Google has
developed an automated grouping process for Google News that pulls together
related headlines and photos. And here is the legal problem: Often thumbnail
images from other news sources are used to illustrate links. These thumbnails
could be in contradiction to copyright law. In the USA, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Kelly
v. Arriba Soft Corp. held that the " fair use" exception
includes "thumbnail" reproductions of copyrighted images generated by
a visual Internet search engine. But the legal situation is different in
Germany. Under the German Copyright Law of 1965there is no general
limitation of fair use, but a closed set of `limitations' on a copyright
owners rights (e.g. the reproduction for private or scientific use is permitted).
All limitations don't apply to the conversion of internet photos to "thumbnails",
according to the regional court of
Hamburg. This means that Google can no longer
use thumbnail images without the permission of the copyright owner. The decision
is on appeal.
publisher Haymarket is suing oil firm Burmah Castrol for infringement of its
intellectual property rights. Haymarket websites (whatcar.com and autosport.com)
are framed in a Castrol-branded border.
2001: Misquitta, Anthony,
been framed: "Internet hyper-linking and framing are currently hot topics, not least because of the lack of any English case law. Having recently advised Haymarket Magazines on their well publicised (and successful) claim against Burmah Castrol for the unauthorised framing of two of their sites, we review where the law is at
2001: In too
hypertext linking on the web, Legal 500: "Recent decisions in a number of cases across Europe and the US have contributed to a confusing picture on the legality of deep linking: the use of hypertext links (strings of text, usually coloured and underlined, or graphics) between websites which bypass homepages and the banner advertising that they
10, 2001: Leyden, John:
frames car sites – publisher sues, The Register: "UK publisher Haymarket is suing oil firm Burmah Castrol for alleged infringement of its online intellectual property
According to an injunction from Cologne, framing a database
of poems and prose violates German copyright law, if the frameprovider adds
advertisement to the original content.
“Framing” verletzt Urheberrechte, Heise:
"In einem noch nicht rechtskräftigen Urteil von Anfang Mai hat das Landgericht Köln festgestellt, dass das "Entführen" tief verlinkter fremder Webseiten in Frames bei gleichzeitigem Hinzufügen von Werbe-Frames rechtswidrig ist."
owners of The Journal Gazette and The News-Sentinel filed suit against the
WebsiteFt-Wayne.Com, because it
framed its content (Journal Gazette Co. v. Midwest Internet Exchange,
98-CV0130 (D. Ind. filed May 4, 1998)). In response to the suit, the defendant
discontinued the use of frames. The action is still pending before the Northern
District Court of Indiana.
29, 1998: Kaplan, Carl, Lawsuit
May Determine Whether Framing Is Thieving, New York Times:
"A lawsuit pitting a pair of century-old Midwestern newspapers against three Internet companies could set the stage for an important court decision on the legality of a common Internet practice known as "framing."
According to a
preliminary ruling in a US
Federal Court thumbnail images displayed
in Google Image Search
breached Perfect 10
copyright. The court did not
follow Google's argument
that its creation and
display of thumbnails is
fair use under 17 U.S.C. §
107. Decisive arguments:
... If third-party websites
that contain infringing copies of P10 photographs are also AdSense partners,
Google will serve advertisements on those sites and split the revenue
generated from users who click on the Google-served advertisements...Google
has a strong incentive to link to as many third-party websites as possible—including
those that host AdSense advertisements. (does not seem very convincing to me...)
...In early 2005 P10 entered
into a licensing agreement with Fonestarz Media Limited for the sale and
distribution of P10 reduced-size images for download to and use on cell
phones. Google’s use of thumbnails does supersede this use of P10’s images,
because mobile users can download and save the thumbnails displayed by
Google Image Search onto their phones (very convincing, but the argument is
limited to this case, so Google's picture search as such is not in jepardy)
US District Court Judge
Howard Matz also held that Google was
not responsible if surfers
clicked on thumbnails that
directed them to full size
porno images hosted on third
party websites, taken
without permission from the
official Perfect 10 site.
This is big news: The court
held that Google is not
secondarily liable under the
doctrines of contributory or
vicarious infringement for
linking to infringing
content! Bringing visitors
to the linked-to-websites is
not enough to establish
material contribution. So in
theory, Google could stop
removing websites with
infringinging content from
their search results. Google
no longer depends on the
safe harbour provision (17
U.S.C. § 512 (d)).
Howard Matz ordered Google
and Perfect 10 to develop a
preliminary injunction that
reflects both factors. The
order could effectively bar
Google from featuring
thumbnail pictures. So no
February 22, 2006:
No Googling Perfect 10's
Nudes, Wired: "Google's
Google v. Perfect 10: Appeals Court decision
Last year, a U.S. District Court in California
preliminarily enjoined Google from creating and publicly displaying thumbnail
versions of Perfect 10’s images, Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., 416 F. Supp. 2d 828
(C.D. Cal. 2006), but did not enjoin Google from linking to third-party websites
that display infringing full-size versions of Perfect 10’s images (see
Update 38). Perfect 10 and Google both appealed the district
court’s order. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned that
decision and sent the case back down to the District Court for further
The owner of a computer that does not store and
serve the electronic information to a user is not displaying that
information, even if such owner in-line links to or frames the electronic
information. So inline-linking to full-size images constitutes no direct
Perfect 10 has succeeded in showing it would
prevail in its prima facie case that Google’s thumbnail images infringe
Perfect 10’s display rights, but failed to show a likelihood that it will
prevail against Google’s fair use defense. The court concluded that the
transformative nature of Google’s use is more significant than any
incidental superseding use or the minor commercial aspects of Google’s
search engine and website: "The district court reasoned that persons who
can obtain Perfect 10 images free of charge from Google are less likely to
pay for a download, and the availability of Google’s thumbnail images would
harm Perfect 10’s market for cell phone downloads. Id. As we discussed above,
the district court did not make a finding that Google users have downloaded
thumbnail images for cell phone use. This potential harm to Perfect 10’s
market remains hypothetical." So the Ninth Circuit disagreed that the
display of a thumbnail constitutes copyright infringement.
A search engine operator can be held
contributorily liable if it has actual knowledge that specific infringing
material is available using its system, and can take simple measures
to prevent further damage to copyrighted works, yet continues to provide
access to infringing works.
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.