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Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Topic maintained by Electronic Frontier Foundation


The World Wide Web works through hyperlinks, tags that allow web site authors to connect their texts with others and enable web browsers to move quickly from one page to another document to which it refers. These links are what set hypertext apart from static offline texts, and core to Web-founder Tim Berners-Lee's original design.

Nonetheless, you may have received a cease and desist notice regarding hyperlinks on your website. Some companies claim that linking to their websites requires prior permission, or allege that your links falsely imply that they sponsor or endorse your site. Other C&Ds may assert trademark infringement based on the words and images you use in hyperlinks. You may be told that you are violating the law because your site links to illegal or copyrighted material, even if you do not host any of that material on your own servers. What about "deep linking," when you set a link to an inside page, not the website's homepage?

This topic area addresses the issues that arise regarding linking and other web navigation (frames and pop-ups, for example), in legal terms including copyright, trademark, false advertising, the safe harbor for "information location tools," and contract (what effect do a site's "terms of use" really have?).

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions about Linking.

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