every company loves links. Linking policies that request permission for a simple
link become more and more popular, challenging the freedom to link to any site
companies contacted webmaster and requested the removal of links. News articles
deal with the linking policies from the Better Business Bureau, KPMG and NPR.
NPR’s linking policy once stated: “Linking to or framing of any material on
this site without the prior written consent of NPR is prohibited. Please use
this form to request permission to link to npr.org and its related sites.”
Krak, a mapping company in Denmark enables
users to input a company name, address, telephone number etc and the service
brings you up a map with a little dot showing where on the map this address is.
Their terms and conditions state that they will charge money for links to one of
their map pages without permission. Following stories
on Digg’s front page the company changed its terms and they no longer charge
a blogger for linking to a map, as long as they are not for profit, and
providing they ask permission first.
There is also a court case underway between
Gauguin (an auctioneer house) and Krak.dk. As O'Flaherty, the person who has
covering this the most (in the English Language at
http://blog.oflaherty.dk) puts it, "if
Krak win this court case then it will be legal for any company to hide a linking
policy away deep on their site and then hand out bills for any amount of money
2, 2001: When
should linking be impermissible, LeFile: "A letter from the Better Business Bureau to a web site operator to remove a "link" to the BBB has caused a stir in internet
23, 2001: Kaplan, Carl: When
Linking Isn’t Better Business, The New York Times: "But not everyone loves hypertext links. Take the Better Business Bureau, for example. Recently, the consumer protection and educational organization sent an e-mail demanding that a Web publisher take down its unauthorized links to the
BBB tries to keep Web sites from linking to it, InfoWorld: "The policy, promoted by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) in Arlington, Va., doesn't just limit use of the well-known BBB logo. It also asserts that the CBBB might not "permit" a for-profit Web site to even link to a BBB
8, 2002: Janssen, Mike, No
linking to NPR? No way!, Current Online: "After outraging many webheads with an effort to tame the Internet, NPR has backed away from a policy restricting links to its website."
1, 2002: “Link-Affäre”
beim öffentlich-rechtlichen US-Radio, Netzzeitung.de: "Der angesehene Kultursender «NPR» verlangte bis vor kurzem vor jedem gelegten Hyperlink einen schriftlichen Antrag. Erst eine Protestbewegung aus dem Netz stimmte ihn um."
28, 2002: Manjoo, Farhad, NPR
Retreats, Link Stink Lingers, Wired: "In response to furious criticism of its online linking policy, National Public Radio will no longer require webmasters to ask permission to link to
21, 2002: NPR:
Hype and Paranoia, What Do I Know: "What was once a small, rather silly rant about NPR’s linking policy on their web site has bloomed into a full blown tech news story."
20, 2002: Manjoo, Farhad, Public
Protests NPR Link Policy, Wired: "When huge, nameless, faceless corporations try to impose "linking policies" upon webmasters who want to point to the company's site, people usually react in a predictable way. They get mad, they spitefully put up dozens of policy-violating links, and they bemoan, once more, the fact that some folks still don't understand that if you don't want to be linked you shouldn't be on the Web."
11, 2001: Hyperlinks?
Bitte erst beantragen, Netzzeitung.de: "Die bekannte Firma zur Wirtschaftsprüfung KPMG will aber nicht verlinkt werden. Die Internet-Gemeinschaft protestiert dagegen - mit Links."
December 6, 2001: Manjoo, Farhad,
Stink Over a Simple Link, Wired: "In a letter to a consultant in Britain who runs a personal website that has not been especially nice to KPMG, the company said it had discovered a link on his site to www.kpmg.com, and that the website owner, Chris Raettig, should "please be aware such links require that a formal Agreement exist between our two parties, as mandated by our organization's Web Link Policy."
28, 2000: McCullagh, Declan, Free
Links, Only $50 Apiece, Wired:
"Online news sites are turning to a novel way to make some extra cash:
requiring fees for links. The Albuquerque Journal charges $50
for the right to link to each of its articles. Localbusiness.com and
Latino.com are more generous, and permit one to five links without payment."
associate professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago links to
"stupid linking policies" that restrict linking.
September 10, 2002: Manktelow, Nicole, Net
lawyers ponder the right to link, The Age:
"To link or not to link? There's no question in the mind of David E. Sorkin, an American legal expert and Internet campaigner fed up with some websites telling others what to do."
21, 2002: Festa, Paul, Web
site flouts linking bans, CNet:
"Sorkin, associate professor of law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, is the man behind Don't Link to Us, a Web site that exists merely to flout what it terms "stupid linking policies."
January 8, 2003: You
Can't Link Here, Slashdot:
"His website fights 'stupid linking policies' that attempt to impose restrictions on other sites that link to them. Now a German law student joined the fight against linking restrictions and starts getting media attention in Germany."
There have always been reports
about webmasters that don't like links pointing to their websites. First they
sued - mostly because of deep links - and lost in many European countries (e.g. Austria,
Germany) and in the
USA - remember the Ticketmaster
case? Than they tried to restrict the right
to link with "stupid"
linking policies and ridiculed themselves (the websites of Prof.
Sorkin and Links
& Law feature lists of companies that do so in the USA and in Germany).
And are they getting smarter now? Guess not! Take a look at the official Olympic
website and their Hyperlink
policy: If you want to link to their site you have to send a request letter
to the Internet Department stating e.g. a short description of your site, the
url of your site, the publishing period (How about linking for three months?...)
and the reason for linking (I always wanted to link to your site, I very much
admire its content....)! And finally you are only allowed to use the term
"ATHENS 2004" and no other term as the text referent...
"Fast Company permits
links to the Fastcompany.com Web site. However, Fast Company reserves the
right to withdraw permission for any link and requests that you not link for
any impermissible purpose or in a manner that suggests that Fast Company
promotes or endorses your Web site.
not allow framing of its Web site content."
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.