Hi Spotyasara ~
Please remember that I am not a lawyer, and this isn't intended to be
legal advice. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Both of the comments below are partially right to a certain extent.
That is, you "can" link to the home page (first page) of other sites
without any real problems; linking to specific pages WITHIN a site -
or deep linking - gets a bit murkier.
Linking and Deep Linking
If you are linking in such a way that your visitor doesn't understand
that the content isn't on your site, or in such a way that you are
restricting the other site's commerce, it can lead to problems for you
- if only in needlessly trying to defend what you believe is your
right to do so.
And certainly your right to add your own synopsis, comments or
critique about the other site's content is protected within the First
However, if you intend to do so in a derogatory way or a misleading
way, there could be problems if you don't do so carefully. It is your
right to voice your opinion about someone, but sometimes it is a fine
line between your opinion and slanderous comments.
Most sites which have a preference as to how you link to them and/or
use their content clearly state that on their websites - usually in a
Terms of Service or Privacy section. You should be very sure you check
any site you wish to link to for such restrictions.
As an example, the Dallas Morning News in its Terms of Service states,
"If you operate a Web site and wish to link to this
Site, you may link only to the home page of the Site
and not to any other page or subdomain of us." [See
No. 4. Links to, and frames of, the Site in their
Terms of Service.]
Can they enforce this? Right now, there aren't any clearly defined
laws that say whether or not they can; however, they can sue to
enforce their terms, and can anyone afford to defend a suit?
Some Informative Articles
On Deep Linking
I am including some articles on deep linking for your information.
While they may seem dated, their information and arguments are still
very much relevant today.
* "Deep Linking Lunacy",
by Chris Sherman, Associate Editor, Search Engine Watch
* "Testing the Links - Could Legal Challenges Limit Internet
Linking?" ABC News
* "Into the Deep - How deep linking can sink you"
by Bret A. Fausett, New Architect magazine,
* "Deep Linking" in the World Wide Web
by the W3C,
My advice is simple ... you can take the chance of linking without
permission and then see what happens, or it may just be easier to get
permission first. You may be well within your rights to do so, but you
need to ask yourself whether it might be worth it to try to defend any
legal action someone may institute if they object.
Logos, Site Content
& Copyright Information
Your second question regarding "highlight[ing] a particular company
... through the use of their logo, graphics and text that I have
written to describe what the website offers - must that be approved?"
The answer is easy. Without permission, you are violating someone
else's copyrights, and the consequences of that can cost you dearly,
including the possibility that your host may close your site down if
U. S. Copyright law establishes the rights to how a particular work
(which includes logos, books, etc.) can be used from the minute it is
reduced to some media, including the Internet. Without permission, you
are infringing on the creator's rights. Those rights are enforceable,
and your site host could likewise be held liable if he is notified of
the infringement and does nothing about it. That is why many hosts, if
properly notified of copyright infringement, will just shut down the
site until the matter is resolved or the material in question is
removed. Again, it's a matter of whether or not you can afford to
either defend a copyright infringement lawsuit or having your site
shut down for a period of time til you resolve the issue to your
host's particular policy.
The US Copyright Office has published those laws here:
In addition to the US Copyright law, the US Copyright Office offers a
copy of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) here,
and The UCLA Online Institute for Cyberspace Law and Policy offers an
in-depth discussion of the Act here,
and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent archive of
issues, including fair use standards and other matters in its archives
and the DMCA in its Archives here,
I ** STRONGLY ** advise you do not use any material, especially logos,
graphics, etc., without explicit written permission to do so.
Google Search Terms Used ~
* deep linking
* copyright law
While the old adage "it's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask
permission" may have some merit, only you can decide if you can afford
the possible consequences of such actions. In the long run, it
probably is easier and less hassle to just ask permission.
Best of luck to you,
Google Answers Researcher