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CNET News.com: Hollywood looks to kill hyperlinks in copyright fights

Jul 26, 2000, 17:08 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Borland)

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"As Hollywood and record companies go all-out to protect their copyrights online, they've run up against one of the Web's most hallowed traditions: the untrammeled ability to link to anything anywhere on the Net. A half-dozen high-profile legal cases revolve around the legality of links, as entertainment companies try to shutter Web sites or services they say are helping point people to illicit versions of songs and movies."

"Two of these cases are making headlines this week: Napster meets the record industry in court, and hacker publication 2600 Enterprises finishes defending itself in court against the movie studios. In each case, the industry is trying to win a ruling to pull links it says illegally contribute to online violations of copyrights, a legal step that courts have taken only rarely. As such, these cases hold the potential to put the brakes on the anything-goes nature of linking on the Web, free-speech advocates warn."

"What the Web is today is a collection of links," says Robin Gross, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which is helping defend 2600 Enterprises. "Where do we draw the line? We're all two or three clicks away from something illegal or from something someone doesn't like."

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