Re: links on web pages (fwd)

this message includes a link to an excellent discussion of the laws on
links and copyright in question and answer form.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 05:44:01 -0500
From: Carl Oppedahl <carl@oppedahl.com>
Reply-To: cni-copyright@cni.org
To: Multiple recipients of list <cni-copyright@cni.org>
Subject: Re: links on web pages

On 01/23/97, Barbara Herbert <herbert@georgian.edu> wrote:
> Our systems librarian is in charge of the library section of our 
> college's web page.  He is awaiting college approval for the project 
> he is working on right now, but has a couple questions in the meantime.  
> Question # 1: May we put a link from our web page to a copyrighted web 
> page?  We would make no changes to the copyrighted web page.

Generally, yes.  See "May I freely link to the Web sites of others?" at

A comment or two on your use of the phrase "copyrighted web page".  By 
this do you mean "a web page bearing a copyright notice" or "a web page 
that is protected by the copyright laws" or perhaps "a web page for which 
a copyright registration has been granted by the US Copyright Office"?  I
mention this because any original work fixed in a tangible medium is
protected by copyright, regardless of whether it does or does not contain 
a copyright notice.

Also, can you make clear what you mean by "we would make no changes to the
copyrighted web page"?  If your link is an HREF link (and I am assuming it
is) then you would be incapable of making any changes to the linked-to web
page anyway, seems to me.

> Question # 2: A copyrighted web page contains a link to a second 
> copyrighted web page.  The second web page is not available for public 
> consumption; it may only be accessed through the first web page.  May 
> we put a link from our home page to the second copyrighted web page 
> (without initially visiting the first web page)?  Again, no changes 
> would be made to the copyrighted web page.

If "the second web page ... may only be accessed through the first web
page", then how is it that you are doing what is apparently impossible,
namely linking directly to that second web page?

Or do you simply mean that you have some way of knowing that the author 
of the first and second web pages *prefers* that you not link to the 
second page, but only to the first page?  In that case you are basically 
asking if there is some law that you must honor that preference.  For 
this I again refer the reader to the above-cited article "May I freely 
link to the Web sites of others?".  I think it is bad form to require 
others only to link to one's home page, and to forbid others to link to 
sub-pages within one's web site.

Carl Oppedahl