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A case that threatens the right of Web sites to link freely.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
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Linked Out: A case that threatens the right of Web sites to link freely.

By Wendy DavisPosted Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, at 4:49 PM ET

Last April, startup real estate news site BlockShopper ran the headline "New Jones Day Lawyer Spends $760K on Sheffield" with a link to the bio for the lawyer in question—Jacob Tiedt—from the Web site of his law firm, Jones Day. In July, it ran a similar item about a home purchase by Dan Malone Jr., another Jones Day lawyer, with the link to his Jones Day bio.

BlockShopper was following standard operating procedure by linking to publicly available Web sites. But Jones Day got mad. The law firm (a big one, at 2,300 lawyers) has never publicly said why it sued; maybe the powers that be there thought the posts compromised their lawyers' privacy. Housing records are public documents, but the Web turns public into accessible, and the firm presumably wasn't thrilled about having its attorneys' home purchases broadcast. Jones Day demanded that BlockShopper remove the items. When BlockShopper refused, the firm sued the 15-staff startup for trademark infringement. Jones Day's legal theory was that BlockShopper's link would trick readers into thinking that Jones Day was affiliated with the real estate site.

This may seem far-fetched, but the judge in the case didn't think so, and that led to a settlement this week that will require BlockShopper to change the way it creates links. And that's not a good signal to send about the Web, where linking has been an unrestricted currency available to all.

Cont. story at: link

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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Jones Day's legal theory was that BlockShopper's link would trick readers into thinking that Jones Day was affiliated with the real estate site.

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That sounds reasonable to me. With so many websites with links to other websites, I seriously doubt this will be an issue, but if a particular person or company believes that posting a link to their site implies an endorsement of your website, they have a right to stop that from happening.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
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Ya it sounds fishy to me. Does this mean by posting links to news websites we like the articles of we're endorsing them instead of citing them as sources?

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Ya it sounds fishy to me. Does this mean by posting links to news websites we like the articles of we're endorsing them instead of citing them as sources?

I don't think it's the same. A website is actually publishing their content - so if they have a link to another site, there is an implied endorsement. And with so many sites that include hypertext links, I doubt it will be an issue. In fact, most websites that generate revenue from ads will welcome the traffic.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
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I would think linking is a good thing cos most sites want that. The more clicks mean the more hits and more time being spent on their website which means money from advertisers. Maybe just for this case they didn't like the traffic to their public website because of the trickiness of their link and the sensitive information they publish there. If they didn't want their attorney's information broadcasted then perhaps they should have redesigned their website to log in only like an intranet for the company of 2,300 employees?

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I would think linking is a good thing cos most sites want that. The more clicks mean the more hits and more time being spent on their website which means money from advertisers. Maybe just for this case they didn't like the traffic to their public website because of the trickiness of their link and the sensitive information they publish there. If they didn't want their attorney's information broadcasted then perhaps they should have redesigned their website to log in only like an intranet for the company of 2,300 employees?

I don't they'd have a leg to stand on if they are saying that info that is published on the internet is private data if the general public has open access to it.

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