links, frames and tags
page looks at disputes about framing, 'deep linking',
shallow linking and metatags.
It covers -
2006 Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst sued Gawker, among
other sites, for linking to a adult video in which he
appeared. Gawker editor Jessica Coen sneered
though, we don't know why you're so mad at us. The situation
is really rather simple. Someone sent us a link to a
video of your penis, we went into shock, and we shared
it with the world for about two hours. Then we wept,
found God, took a hot bath, and removed the video from
Durst eventually dropped the suit
In contrast to dispute about domain names there has
been less disagreement about restrictions on unauthorised
framing, ie presenting content from a separate site in
a way that obscures the authorship/ownership of that content
or that removes links to other parts of the original site.
We'll be discussing principles and major cases in the
deep and shallow links
In his 1997 Links & Law: Axioms of Web Architecture
Tim Berners-Lee identified
fundamental principles about links on which the web is
based, commenting that lawyers, users and technology and
content providers must agree to respect the principles.
He notes that
the web, to make reference without making a link is
possible but ineffective - like speaking but with a
paper bag over your head
there's been broad agreement about the principles, some
site operators (and courts) have required
permission for any linking to one site from another -
both shallow linking (ie a pointer to the index/home page
of a site) and deep linking (ie linking directly to a
subsidiary page). Observers have asked if site operators
don't use readily available software to prevent deep linking
are they giving the world an implied license to deep link?
Is deep linking permissible regardless of the operator's
conduct and desires?
We'll be exploring those questions shortly, with an identification
of principles, practices, major litigation and commentary.
the interim Stefan Bechtold's Link Controversy Page
is a rich resource if you are interested in the debate
about deep linking, shallow linking or framing.
Dan Burk's 1998 paper
Proprietary Rights in Hypertext Linkages and the
by Edward Cavazos & Coe Miles about Copyright on
the WWW: Linking & Liability precede several important
recent court cases but provide succinct introductions
to linking and framing issues. Mark Sableman's 2001 paper
Link Law Revisited: Internet Linking Law At Five Years
is a succinct US overview.
Burk has subsequently commented - in discussing the Ticketmaster,
Futuredontics, Shetland Times and Utah Lighthouse Ministries
litigation - that "despite the fairly clear logic
against a finding of copyright liability, some courts
have been sympathetic" to such claims.
He suggests that disagreement about the activity of data
aggregators - a notable example is the eBay v. Bidder's
Edge case, in which the site operator invoked the
'trespass to chattels' theory in claiming unauthorised
access to its data - is likely to be of major concern
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen's March 2001 Alertbox
that "Deep Linking is Good Linking":
that go directly to a site's interior pages enhance
usability because, unlike generic links, they specifically
relate to users' goals. Websites should encourage deep
since on etail sites problems "in getting from the
homepage to the correct product page accounted for 27%