"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
"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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