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Case List: Hyperlinking & Framing

What harms can an innocent act of ‘linking’ cause?

A innocuous linking or hyperlinking can get you in trouble when it has the potential to undermine the rights or interests of the owner of the web page or website that is linked to (“Original Website“). It is also possible that your act of ‘linking’ may result in visitors bypassing the advertisement content on the Original Website and getting access to the same content on your website. This is called “deep linking.” Most importantly, the trouble may be bigger when such acts may amount to copyright infringement. This happens when your website contains hyperlinks to copyrighted materials of the Original Website. Here, even though you may not be making copies yourself, courts are of the view that you may be partially held responsible for ensuing copyright infringement. Similarly, a link may also amount to defamation if its effect is to create a defamatory statement which may injure the reputation of a person or business.


  • Ticket Master Corp. vs. Microsoft Corp., No. 2:97CV3055 (S.D.Cal. 1997) (Trademark Infringement)
  • Playboy Enterprises, Inc. vs. Universal Tel-A-Talk Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17282 (E.D. Pa. 1998) (Trademark Infringement)
  • Intellectual Reserve, Inc. vs. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Inc. 75 F. Supp. 2d 1290 (D. Utah 1999) (Copyright Infringement)
  • Ticketmaster Corp. vs. Tickets.com, Inc. 2000 WL 525390 (C.D. Cal.) (Deep Linking)
  • Universal City Studios vs. Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001)

What is ‘Framing’?

Framing allows a website designer to split the Web browser into several distinct areas and then dictate what goes into each frame. Just like ‘linking’, Framing can also amount to copyright and trademark infringement, because a framed website has the potential to alter the appearance of the web content of the Original Website and create an impression that the Original Website endorses or voluntarily chooses to be associate with the website who has framed it.


  • The Washington Post Co. v. Total News, Inc., No. 97 CIV 1190 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
  • Shetland Times Ltd v. Dr Jonathan Wills and ZetNews Ltd., [1997] FSR 604
  •  Futuredontics, Inc. v. Applied Anagramic Inc., 1997 46 USPQ 2d 2005 (C.D. Calif. 1997)

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