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NY Times: Legality of 'Deep Linking' Remains Deeply Complicated

Apr 07, 2000, 18:08 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carl S. Kaplan)

"When a federal judge issued a decision last week in a case involving "deep linking," many reports suggested that the controversial Internet practice was now unambiguously legal. But the story is more complex than that. In fact, deep linking -- the practice of linking to a page deep inside another Web site, bypassing its home page -- still appears to be in legal limbo...."

"Also, Judge Hupp allowed a few claims that attack deep linking to proceed. For example, he allowed the passing-off and reverse-passing-off claims to remain, as well as the interference claim. And although he dismissed the breach of contract claim, he granted Ticketmaster permission to file an amended complaint with facts showing that its "terms and conditions" created an enforceable contract, seen and agreed to by Tickets.com. A lawyer for Ticketmaster said the company will file an amended complaint shortly that "we believe will satisfy the court's requirements."

"Indeed, it can fairly be said that Judge Hupp left the door open for a link-averse Web operator to ban linking via a contract that a Web surfer is forced to agree to before being allowed to enter a site. He implied that those who deep link in violation of this conspicuous and assented to "agreement" would have a potential breach of contract problem on their hands."

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