Link to this site?

The Athens 2004 website carries a lengthy statement on their “Hyperlink Policy”. The Policy states that for “your protection and ours” one must send a “request letter” containing a brief description of your website, the reason for linking and the period of time you intend to link for. After (e)mailing the request (and agreeing to several other conditions) one may link to their site. However, if your hyperlink is not approved you will recieve notice that your link request has not been accepted. I have sent a request, we’ll see if I’m denied permission.

The Globe and Mail has an article on this issue with comments from ONI partner Jonathan Zittrain.

Battles over linking have appeared before. In a related case, the courts have ruled that “deep linking” is, in fact, legal. “Deep linking” refers to links to specific content within websites (as opposed to just linking to the domain or /index.*) . There is a good overview of “Web Site Legal Issues” here.

The deep linking cases involved competitors linking to eachother’s content, this case involes a normal hyperlink. The hyperlink is a critical part of the WWW and I believe that attempts to control information in this subverts the free flow of information and principles of free speech. I wonder if search engines had to ask permission to index/link to the site? Imagine if this were commonplace?

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