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Derek Whitehead Eight Questions About Deep Linking.

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Presentation on theme: "Derek Whitehead Eight Questions About Deep Linking."— Presentation transcript:

1 Derek Whitehead Eight Questions About Deep Linking

2 1 What is deep linking? Hyperlinking is linking from one site or location to another. Deep linking is linking from one web site to another website by means of a hyperlink to a web page other than the home page. Shallow linking is a link or pointer to an index or home page.

3 2 What terms should I know about? Home page is the top page in a hierarchy, or the front page, or perhaps an index page / second page. Complex sites have more than one home page. Framing = linked website appears within the frame of the first website. In-line linking = a graphic from the linked website appears to be on the first website. The Dilbert case was a blow to inlining. Passing off is a legal term from trade mark law and involves falsely implying identity or association or rights.

4 ... and some history Shetland Times Ltd v Wills – began it all in 1997 Stephen Bechtold froze the Link Controversy Page in July 2004 because “… although some issues in regards to linking and framing are still open questions, this area of cyberlaw has largely been settled.” Tim Berners-Lee suggests “On the Web, to make reference without making a link is possible but ineffective – like speaking but with a paper bag over your head.”

5 ... and Ticketmaster TicketMaster was involved in litigation with Microsoft (1997) and Tickets.com (2000) “hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act... Since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library’s card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently.” US District Judge Harry Hupp 27.html 27.html

6 ... and in Germany The Federal Court of Justice decided in July 2003 that deep linking did not violate copyright or competition law  Verlagsruppe Holtzbrinck v Paperboy  Deep linking is a technical simplification of entering the URL manually  The efficiency of operation of the Internet relies on deep linking  Private proprietary material can be readily blocked

7 3 When do librarians deep link? Libraries and universities more widely provide deep links in a number of situations From the library catalogue to documents in a wide range of circumstances From print publications to online versions. From reading lists, resource lists, subject gateways and other finding tools. In the course of their everyday work – s, papers, policy documents.

8 4 Who else deep links? Everyone deep links. Google is an engine for searching and deep linking to the search results. A search for “deep linking” finds 813,00 results, almost all deep links. Academic staff link from within an LMS to a web document, or a licensed article or other document There are now conventions for citing links in scholarly publications, because all of them do it. Citing is linking. Much is predicated on deep links – try starting at or

9 5 Do lawyers deep link? Everyone deep links, but lawyers have some issues Linking to an infringing copy may give rise to liability. Linking to defamatory material. Linking to other kinds of illegal material, such as material refused classification, or infringing the new Australian Internet prohibitions. Linking in a way which passes off someone else’s material as one’s own.

10 ... more about lawyers Linking in breach of the terms of a licence, even a clickon licence – such as prohibition of linking without permission Trade Practices Act – deceptive & misleading conduct Linking in a way that obscures the origin or ownership or terms of use of linked material – e.g. framing or inlining, bypassing ownership information. Passing off, trespass, breach of conditions of use, unfair competition, tortious interference, trademark dilution.

11 6 Are you saying its not a problem? More or less yes. There are some risks, but they are not great. The main risks are There are some reasons website owners may not like deep linking – the user may bypass advertising, branding, context. There are some legal hazards such as inadvertent linking to illegal or infringing material. Risks can be mitigated by willingness to apologise even when in the right, and willingness to take down.

12 ... not a problem? Some mitigating actions are not practical. They include  permissions – response rates are poor, and the main response would be to ask why you bothered  Checking for restriction statements is likely to be time- consuming and unnecessary  Copyright statements may be confusing and unclear. The reality is that bad web housekeeping is a much worse problem than anything to do with linking.

13 1. Do not obscure the origin of the linked material and make sure no one could regard it as yours – always acknowledge source. 2. Ensure that there is some simple quality control on what you link to – as a minimum, look at the document before linking. 3. Link to the (original) site where the document originally appeared or the document owner’s site. 4. Stop when asked. Post a disclaimer statement and express willingness to consider any problem 7 How can I keep nice?

14 ... keeping nice – more rules 5. Avoid inlining and framing, and don’t link to anything if it isn’t clear where or whose it is. 6. Think about what would annoy content or website owners, and try to avoid that. 7. Practice good web housekeeping – fix broken links, don’t link to unstable websites, prefer versions where there is a choice of formats, don’t use other people’s trademarks as the link device. 8. Don’t worry about copyright – deep linking is not a copyright issue.

15 8 Is this presentation legal advice? Certainly not ! For more advice see – a website devoted to deep linking and the law Tim Berners-Lee, Links & Law: Axioms of Web Architecture (1997) Stefan Bechtold: The Frozen Link Controversy Page your campus copyright officer as a last resort, your campus solicitor


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