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snopes
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A federal judge in Texas has ruled that it is unlawful to provide a hyperlink to a Webcast if the copyright owner objects to it.

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6145744.html

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James G.
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My initial reaction to this was to think that the judges desicion was a mistake. However direct linking to the webcasts could be seen as 'leeching,' especially as in this case it appears to deprive the target website of the advertising revenue. However I would have though the most sensible thing to do would have been to shift the sponsorship notices into the casts themselves, thus taking advantage of the extra traffic. Alternatively, if this was not possible, or otherwise desireable, I would have thought a polite request to link to the hosting page would have been enough (Or should have been. I assume it wasn't). (I do fail to see how this can be mooted as a copyright issue though. Plus I don't really see how it went to court, as someone capable of setting up a webcast is equally capable of filtering out leachers.)

I hope that this ruling doesn't stand in the way of the structure of the web. Tim Berners-Lee designed the web with hyperlinking at its very core. If this ruling challenges this then that is very worrying indeed. Hopefuly no judge will extend it to cover hypertext pages themselves.

To be honest, as there is an easy and unobtrusive techincal solution to this problem, I really don't see how it got so far.

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TrekkerScout
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Since there are now two conflicting federal court rulings on the matter of hyperlinking (5th district saying hyperlinks can violate copyrights, 9th district saying they do not), it will have to be taken up by the US Court of Appeals. Since the appellate courts (and the US Supreme Court) are usually fairly reserved and do not rule for government intervention unless it's an absolute necessity and since there are technological remedies that can prevent direct linking, I would wager that the 5th district ruling will be overturned.
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by TrekkerScout:
Since there are now two conflicting federal court rulings on the matter of hyperlinking (5th district saying hyperlinks can violate copyrights, 9th district saying they do not), it will have to be taken up by the US Court of Appeals.


I didn't think there was any such automatic hearing that took place, even in the case of conflicting rulings from federal courts within the same circuit. It would make sense if they did, though.

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TrekkerScout
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr:
I didn't think there was any such automatic hearing that took place, even in the case of conflicting rulings from federal courts within the same circuit. It would make sense if they did, though.

It isn't an automatic thing (I didn't mean to imply it would be). The plaintiff and/or defendant still needs to file an appeal. However, when there are far reaching consequences to a lower court judgment and there are other court rulings that are in conflict, the cases will usually wind up being merged into one blanket case that covers all the basic conflicting points.

Even if this particular case doesn't go forward, other cases that are decided based on this case law are likely to force the issue into appeal and ultimately to the Supreme Court.

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