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Update 40: June 1, 2006


1. The Latest Attack Against Torrent Sites

The Motion Picture Association of America and major film and TV studios filed suit February 23 against seven Web sites for copyright infringement. The suit alleges that defendants knowingly enable, encourage, induce and profit from massive online piracy by indexing so called eDonkey hash links, thus enabling users to locate and download infringing copies of Plaintiffs' copyrighted motion pictures and television shows for free and without authorization. By clicking on the file name, an illegal copy of the movie or television program is automatically copied to a user’s computer. Sites sued include, and It is the first time that the studios and the MPAA sue indexing Web sites in the US (we have seen similiar lawsuits in Germany; they were successfull!)

One complaint can be found at


2. Denmark, Netherlands and India: New Deep Linking Decisions 

Over the last ten years, a number of deep-linking cases have been litigated in the United States and abroad. The courts in most countries (e.g. USA, Germany and Austria) have come to the conclusion that deep linking is permissible and no copyright infringement. The operator of a web site can not prohibit deep links to his site. In the last few months several cases from other countries have been reported to me, that I want to mention in this update:

In 2001 a court in Copenhagen, Denmark ruled in favor of the Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association against the online news aggregator Newsbooster. Thereby deep linking has been ruled illegal. In 2006, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court has taken the opposite stance. The court accepted the use of deep links. The Danish web portal had made deeplinks to real estate advertisements on the Internet, including advertisements from the market leading estate agency chain Home, who sued Ofir. The court stressed that search engines and deep links are desirable for the functioning of the internet today:

"Different kinds of search services which may be considered to be increasing in number on the Internet must be considered to be desirable as being necessary for the functioning of today’s Internet as a medium for searching and exchanging an incredibly extensive and steadily increasing quantity of information. The database protection that is one purpose of the Database Directive also reflects these conditions. It must be considered that search services generally make available deep links whereby the user can efficiently directly arrive at the desired information which, as the Internet is established and functions, generally must be seen to comply with the interests followed by those who choose to use the Internet for the provision of information to the public."

(Home v. Ofir, Maritime and Commercial Court Ruling, February 24, 2006, English translation of the relevant parts available here; pdf in Danish)

  • March 6, 2006: Groundbreaking Judgment Deep Linking, Law & Justice:
    "In a groundbreaking judgment the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court accepted the use of deep linking in relation to real estate advertisement."


Other country, same opinion: (””; ZAH) is a search engine, which searches all web sites of estate agents in The Netherlands for houses that are for sale on a daily basis and places the results of its search actions on its websites in the form of deeplinks. A court in Arnhem denied two estate agents and the Dutch Association of Estate Agents (NVM) a injunction to stop ZAH from deep linking. According to the court, deep linking is permissible and the texts accompanying the deep links are allowed under the quotation right.

And finally, a closer look to India:

In the beginning of 2006, in a case between the search engine and job site, the Delhi High Court in India prohibited from deeplinking to This is the first case of its kind in India.

  • March 23, 2006: Bhaswati Chakravorty, The Deep Linking Conundrum:
    "Deep linking has confounded the Internet community always. As the Naukri case becomes the first-ever in India, we try to delve into its evolution"


3. US Law would stop metatag abuse by porn sites

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will push for new legislation that requires all commercial Web sites to label every page that includes adult material in an effort to protect Web users from pornography. The proposed law is called "Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006" and would prohibit commercial Web sites from initially displaying sexually explicit material without further action, such as an additional click. The DOJ initiative would also make it illegal for a person to knowingly deceive others into viewing obscene materials. This could effect the use of metatags, cloaking, doorway pages or other search engine manipulation methods that are used by e.g. some porno-sites that try to lure people to their sites although they are searching for "innocious content" like toy names or popular film stars.

  • McCullagh, Declan, Gonzales calls for mandatory Web labeling law, CNet:
    "Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed Thursday."


4. Google and Child Porn

Nassau County Legislator Jeffrey Toback is suing Google because the search engine is allegedly profiting from child pornography and taking in billions of pounds by allowing child pornography and "other obscene content" adverts on their sites through sponsored links. The lawsuit says that Google is "the largest and most efficient facilitator and distributor of child pornography in the world."  Google "continues to put its economic gains ahead of the interests and well-being of America's children," the lawsuit, filed in Nassau State Supreme Court alleges.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald Google spokesman Steve Langdon responded: "Child pornography is illegal, and Google prohibits it in our products. When we find or are made aware of any child pornography, we remove it from our products, including our search engine. We also report it to the appropriate law enforcement officials and fully co-operate with the law enforcement community to combat child pornography".
As for the lawsuit's chances of success, they seem to be very small,  see Goldman, Eric, Google Sued for Child Porn--Toback v. Google, Technology & Marketing Law Blog

Toback v. Google, Inc., No. 06-007246 (NY Sup. Ct. complaint filed May 4, 2006)

  • May 10, 2006: Google accused of profiting from child porn, The Register:
    "Google has been sued by Nassau County Legislator Jeffrey Toback who claims the search giant is promoting and profiting from child pornography, going so far as to suggest that child porn is part of its business model, according to reports."
  • May 5, 2006: Broache, Anne, Suit accuses Google of profiting from child porn, CNet:
    "Google has made child pornography an "obscenely profitable and integral part" of its business and must be stopped, a new lawsuit claims."

5. Click Fraud case not settled yet (see Update 38)

On the matter of the proposed settlement that Google is trying to make in California regarding click fraud, the judge is expected to consider the class-action settlement in late July. The former Google advertiser Joseph Kinney sued in Arkansas state court to block the settlement, arguing the amount grossly understates how much the online search engine leader has benefited from "click fraud."

The agreement is available here (PDF), and the order giving preliminary agreement is available here.

Also see "The Click Settlement Website"


6. Belgian Company Sues Google Over Google Suggest Suggestions

A Belgian network-monitoring outfit called ServersCheck has sued Google claiming its tool bar points the way to pirated software. The suit claims that Google's Suggest feature shows would-be purchasers of ServersCheck software where to get the latest cracks and pirated versions. When you begin to type your search at Google Suggest on "ServersCheck" it brings up results for e.g. "ServersCheck Crack" and "ServersCheck Serial."


New in Legal Resources:

  • Rechtsanspruch auf Aufnahme in den Suchindex marktbeherrschender Suchmaschinen, NIP 2/2006, p. 43-48
  • Yohan Benizri, "L'hypertexte: mise à jour, mise à disposition et mise à mort" (forthcoming, University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal, Summer 2006)
  • Ernst, Stefan, AdWord-Werbung in Internet-Suchmaschinen als kennzeichen- und wettbewerbsrechtliches Problem, MarkenR 2006, 57-59
  • Nimmer, Raymond, "Google Print Project" - Unfair Use of Copyright, CRI 2006, 1-6

PS: There have been lot of decisions regarding metatags and keyword advertising in Germany, France and in the USA. I will cover these in the next update.





The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



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