Autorisation d’inclure des liens hypertextes – Etats-Unis

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Le site de ZDNet résume une affaire qui fit grand bruit aux Etats-Unis, dans laquelle des gestionnaires de sites web ont assigné un autre gestionnaire pour lui enjoindre de supprimer tous liens hypertextes vers leurs sites (et d’en tirer de gros bénéfices…). L’affaire s’est finalement soldée par un accord à l’amiable que certains regrettent, car…

Le site de ZDNet résume une affaire qui fit grand bruit aux Etats-Unis, dans laquelle des gestionnaires de sites web ont assigné un autre gestionnaire pour lui enjoindre de supprimer tous liens hypertextes vers leurs sites (et d’en tirer de gros bénéfices…). L’affaire s’est finalement soldée par un accord à l’amiable que certains regrettent, car il risque de créer un précédent dangereux.

Dubbing TotalNEWS a “para-site,” the Big Media Six in late February sued TotalNEWS in the U.S. District Court in New York (http://www.ljx.com/internet/complain.html), claiming the newsstand’s practice of linking through frames constitutes “the Internet equivalent of pirating copyright material.”

“TotalNEWS’ main frame features their URL across the top, and a Java-scripted advertising banner along the bottom, with such high-profile advertisers as AT&T. When the link is made to another site in frames, the URL and advertisement remain.”

“The 20 page settlement has postponed the delivery of a ruling on who can link. But it has given birth to offspring with a dubious future — linking licenses — after three months of laborious negotiations.”

“Internet commentators say that though the settlement creates no legal precedent, the pact will have a chilling effect on the free-wheeling Web’s linking practices, particularly on commercial sites using advertising, trademarks or marketing techniques.”

“In the settlement, TotalNEWS, which links to more than 1,400 news sites worldwide, agreed to stop framing the plaintiffs’ sites. The use of TotalNEWS’ URL, advertisements or other proprietary text, graphics, audio or visuals is verboten while linking to the Big Media Six sites.”

“The case has implications that reach beyond the practice of framing,” Jakab said. “Does a Web site have the right to demand that the other site can’t link to it? It’s the same issue in the Ticketmaster suit. Who knows what the resolution will be.”

“My clients aren’t anti-linking,” said Bruce Keller, an attorney representing the media companies at New York’s Debevoise & Plimpton. “When one goes on the World Wide Web, you don’t agree to be linked. You don’t give up rights just because you participate in this medium.”

“Internet commentators have wondered what impact the settlement would have on linking.”

“Sometimes on the Internet we come up with a cure that is worse than the disease. If the license becomes some legal force, that would be the case,” said Dominique Paul Noth, an online media consultant and Internet commentator at Dom’s Domain.”

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