Legality of Hyperlinks

Michael Froomkin writes:

Discourse.net: “My own personal view is that a hyperlink is and should be every bit as illegal as a footnote in an academic article.”

Correct, presuming that the hyperlinked page is intended as being public on the original website.

If people do not want access to be made to their pages by hyperlinks or otherwise, there are developing technologies to prohibit this.

One technology to prohibit deep-linking and scouring of databases is found at Networksolutions’ WhoIs.

If you have not tried it yet, go to WhoIs and enter a known domain name e.g. lawpundit.com. This will then take you to a page where you have to enter a randomly created string of letters and/or numbers to access the desired information page, which keeps the page from being scoured by robots or from being deep-linked by websites attempting to use the WhoIs database for their own website pages. I am not an expert on these types of protections, but it seems to be very effective.

It is too much to ask of users to read the “fine print” of every website he or she visits to find out what can ostensibly be linked to and what can not. That is simply not a practicable viable legal solution.