Ticketmaster is suing software-industry giant Microsoft. After unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate for permission to link one of its websites to a Ticketmaster site, Microsoft went ahead and did it anyway. So what's the problem? Linking one site to another without permission of the other site's owner is standard practice on the web. It generates more "hits" for the other site and is generally considered good for the other site, the users of the Net and the practical efficient functioning of the Net itself.
Ticketmaster, the plaintiff in this case, alleges they have a partnership with another company for purposes of linking their sites, and accuse Microsoft of "electronic piracy." It would appear that Ticketmaster is claiming that the right to link to their site is a property right, which Microsoft cannot obtain without permission. Actually, Ticketmaster does not deny the defendant the right to link to its home page, but does complain about their directly linking to pages involving a specific event or venue. A novel concept, right? Maybe not.
The State of Georgia has made it a criminal act to use hyperlinks or domain names on a web page without the permission of the owner of an included trademark or trade name. The validity of this statute is also being argued in U.S. District Court, with a ruling expected soon.
Two British newspapers are also involved in a court battle as to whether one paper may publish links in its website to articles within the site of the other paper. So far, the English court has prohibited the publishing of those links without the other paper's consent. A final decision is expected soon in this case as well.
For specific information as to how these cases and others play out in the courts, stay tuned for further developments. It should be interesting no matter which way the courts decide.
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