Monday, 23 February 2009
Permission to hyperlink?
Ars Technica has a story about a small company called Block Shopper that was threatened with a trademark lawsuit by law firm Jones Day and decided to change, or adopt, a new policy for hyperlinks on their website. According to the story, "Essentially, jonesday.com is okay, but not blah blah blah." Or anything that isn't jonesday.com. What happened was that BlockShopper , a website that provides "real intelligence about real estate", linked to the Web profile of a JD lawyer in a posting that highlighted his purchase of a condo, and noted that Jones Day had purchased real estate on Chicago's North Side. The information on these sales is public record, and BlockShopper did nothing more than follow standard Web linking procedure. Jones Day was displeased by these links and filed a lawsuit against BlockShopper leveling a charge of trademark dilution. The complaint cites the issue as "confusion"—the claim was that people visiting BlockShopper and seeing the links in question might assume that it was somehow officially related to Jones Day. Ars concludes the story by saying that "Turning the Web into a permissions-based linking system would be, at worst, catastrophic, and at best, annoying. "