Re: LAW: Legality of deep linking to Web sites

From: John Calvin (
Date: Thu Jan 18 2001 - 17:05:24 MST

On Thu, 18 Jan 2001 13:47:33 -0800 Eric Watt Forste <> wrote:
>Max More writes:
>> Does anyone know what the law says about "deep linking". Say you
>> write some comments on an article appearing on a magazine's Web
>> page, and you link directly to the article. (The article appears
>> in a new browser, exactly as it would appear if the viewer had gone
>> there directly.)

A couple of articles


"The debate over "deep-linking" will likely be resolved under current copyright litigation, with the web site MP3Board initiating legal action in California to seek a declaration that deep-linking does not constitute a re-publication for the purposes of copyright law. Most legal commentators, while acknowledging the issue is untested in significant jurisdictions, have guessed that the degrees of separation possible with hyperlinking (to the file, to the page, to the directory, to the computer, to the network) mean that the line is probably drawn at the level where a link results in a browser downloading the particular copyright infringement. As copyright violation is both a civil tort and a criminal act, an element of "mens rea" or "guilty intent" is required to obtain a conviction, leading to the conclusion that a link to a particular file demonstrates an intent to violate IP, whilst a link to a page may not."

This second one

Mentions the Sidewalk-TicketMaster dispute which Microsoft ended up settling.

I have a suggestion though, frame the page you are linking to in between to large quotation marks, then you can claim that you are merely quoting the artical and therefore protected by the fair use laws.

?does my providing deep links in this e-mail to a widely read list constitute an issue that someone might send me a cease and desist order? If not in what significant ways do the two mediums differ, especially since this message will be archived with the rest and eventually veiwable in a web page?

John Calvin

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