Newsbooster - the case seen by an eye witness

Ca. 388 ord.

I am a native danish speaker and was precent both at the trial and at the ruling. If you have any questions about the trial feel free to email me: newsbooster@tange.dk. I will try to answer the questions here.

What are deep-links?

Deeplinking is defined as links that are not to the primary page (frontpage) of a website.

Is the ruling final?

No. The ruling was an injunction against Newsbooster. They must remove all deeplinks to the websites in question. This injunction will be tried at the national court (Landsretten).

Is deep-linking illegal?

No. The injunction is based on Newsbooster making links systematically and repeatedly to each an every article on the newspapers' websites. A single deep link (say, from /.) is neither systematically nor repeatedly.

Could general search engines (such as Google) get an injunction?

Probably. Allthough the newspapers did mention that they found Google's practice legal, as far as I can read the injunction nothing in the basis for the injunction differentiates what Google does from what Newsbooster does. So any search engine might bit hit by this too.

Could the case have been avoided if the newspapers had a made deep-linking impossible?

Yes, but there was no need to do that. See robots.txt.

Could the case have been avoided if the newspapers had a robots.txt excluding Newsbooster from traversing their site?

Yes. If the newspapers had a simple robots.txt like:
User-agent: *newsbooster*
Disallow: /
then Newsbooster would respect the robots.txt and the case would never have arisen.

The newspapers did, however, not choose to do this because they saw this as a start of an arms race: You can choose not to honor the robots.txt (This is in my oppinion a load of bullshit. It goes to show how little the newspapers and the judge knew about these matters).

Will the ruling be effective outside of Denmark?

There is no doubt that this ruling will be used in other cases - also outside Denmark. So even if the actual ruling will not be effective outside Denmark the use of the ruling will be.

In the trial several foreign cases were presented. Most of the were (in my oppinion) not relevant for this case, but it proves that even foreign rulings will get influence on danish court practises.

Sidst ændret Fri Jul 5 23:58:07 2002