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Linking / Framing LINKS
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Washington Post Co. v. Total News, No. 97 Civ. 1190 (PKL) (S.D.N.Y. complaint filed Feb. 20, 1997)
Total News framed content of several news sites, including sites belonging to the Post, Time, and CNN. The news organizations alleged various unfair competition and trademark causes of action, as well as copyright infringement. To settle the case, Total News agreed to link to the news organization's sites, rather than frame them.


Shetland Times Ltd. v. Wills, Scot Sess Cas, No. - -, 10/24/96
Trade press account of first case to address linking. Given absence of US law at the time, case received close attention from US observers, despite emanating from Scotland. C
ase settled on a cooperative note.

Ticketmaster Corp. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 97-3055 DDP (C.D. CA, complaint, filed 4/28/97)
First major linking case in US. Microsoft's "Sidewalk" site allowed visitors to buy tickets to entertainment events via "deep" link to Ticketmaster site. Ticketmaster alleged trademark dilution and other unfair competition causes of action. Case settled on undisclosed terms, although Microsoft removed its deep link.

Bernstein v. J.C. Penney, Inc., No. 98-2958-R (C.D. CA, dismissal Sept. 22, 1998)
Early US linking case. Swedish website displayed plaintiff's photographs of Liz Taylor without permission. Vendor of perfume associated with Taylor linked to photographs. Plaintiff alleged copyright infringement; court dismissed case without comment.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc. v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Inc., No. 2:99-CV-808C. (D. Utah Dec. 6, 1999)
Defendant, subject to injunction against publishing plaintiff's copyrighted work, exhorted visitors to read same work unlawfully published on other sites, and provided links to those sites. Court held defendant liable for contributory copyright infringement. To reach result, court found that visitors to the other sites "copied" the work when their computer's cached it automatically.

Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc., CV99-7654 HLH (BQRx) (C.D. CA, Mar. 27, 2000) [requires acrobat reader to view]
Tickets.com deep linked to Ticketmaster's site to provide its visitors the opportunity to buy tickets to certain events. Court dismissed contention that linking constituted copyright violation, because there was no literal copying. Court also found that absent specific evidence of assent, allegation that defendant breached site's "terms of service" failed to state a claim. Literal copying claim and certain unfair competition claims not dismissed, however.

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 00 Civ. 0277 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 2000) [requires acrobat reader to view]
Defendants were subject to a preliminary injunction against distributing software that enabled copying of movies stored on DVDs. As in Intellectual Reserve, they then provided links to other sites offering the software, and urged visitors to download the software there. Again, as in Intellectual Reserve, the court held linking plus encouragement to be unlawful (here under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits circumvention of electronic copyright protections). So long as linking liability requires clear and convincing evidence of a "forbidden purpose," the court wrote, it will not impermissibly chill speech on the internet.




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