Interesting ruling which will hopefully be contested in higher courts: 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, reports News.com. The lawsuit was against an aggregation website Supercrosslive.com, which was linking directly to the video/audio webcasts on Supercrossonline.com, which has the official rights for “Supercross” motorcycle racing events. SFX Motor Sports, a Texas company that owns the official site, contended that fans who go to its own website will see the names and logos of sponsors, but direct links to webcasts won’t bring up the sponsors.
Not the first time that direct/deep linking has become a legal issue, but this ruling runs counter to previous case law on text links, as the story says. IN case an infringing site links to illegal content, the case laws have been relatively clear: can’t do it. But usually deep linking to legal content has stood the legal scrutiny.
Anyway, the court ruling: “The court agrees that if Davis is not enjoined from providing unauthorized Webcast links on his Web site, SFX will lose its ability to sell sponsorships or advertisement on the basis that it is the exclusive source of the Webcasts, and such loss will cause irreparable harm.”