Date of this Version

March 2000

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Postprint of:
Forder, J., “Permission to hyperlink?”, CCH Law and Technology, Issue 19, Mar 2000
Reproduced with the kind permission of CCH Australia Limited.
For more information see


Information providers on the web are generally delighted when others create links to their information. With growing commercialisation of the Internet, however, a number of recent disputes have raised issues about linking practices. One of the better known was when Microsoft linked to Ticketmaster’s ‘internal’ web pages rather than their home page (‘deep linking’). Ticketmaster alleged dilution of trademark, misrepresentation, misleading statements, unfair competition and unfair business practices, but the dispute was eventually settled out of court. This and other deep linking disputes are discussed, but it is noted they are unlikely to result in early clarification of the law since they all look as though they will also be settled out of court.

As for linking to controversial or objectionable material, do creators of web sites need to be concerned about the legality of material to which they link? A preliminary injunction in the US case of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. v Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Inc suggesting they do is noted. The decision is based on the view that publishing URLs of infringing material contributes to copyright infringement. Reactions to the decision are discussed, but again, an early definitive legal view is regarded as unlikely.



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