There is currently a case running in the Danish courts that will effectively decide the law in Denmark for linking to a page other than a home page, typically known as deep linking.
We are not talking about hot-linking, pulling an image or video off someone else’s server into the middle of your own content, but linking as you might to this blog article, using the permalink.
There is a mapping company in Denmark that creates web pages based on other people’s data, such as a company address, and provides maps on how to get there.
They then bury deep within their terms and conditions a link to another page that states that they will charge you money if you link to one of their map pages without permission.
I suppose that is similar to me adding a terms and conditions page, and from that a linking page stating that anyone who links to my blog has to pay me $1000.
Sounds like a lot of money doesn’t it?
Krak.dk only charge $940
Krak.dk have been forced / encouraged by their previous outing on Digg’s front page to not charge a blogger for linking to a map, as long as they are not for profit, and providing they ask permission first. As of this writing however I am led to believe they haven’t changed their official paperwork on their site, or improved their notification on the content pages that you could be charged $1000 linking to information about themselves.
Business sites however are not in the clear, and one is currently fighting “the just cause” for the rest of internet users, but is having their plight ignored.
The court case between Gauguin (an auctioneer house) and Krak.dk is now well underway and Iâ€™m eagerly awaiting the outcome of this. The case is getting good coverage in the Danish blogosphere (just check out Overskrift), and well it should as the outcome of this case could affect us all.
Unfortunately this hasn’t been picked up by any major Search Engine news site, or A – List Blogger.
The consequences of Krak winning this court battle, and maybe for the ruling to have a knock on effect across Europe are extremely serious, and could damage the way the internet works.
Websites would again become insular, not linking where credit is due simply because noone has time to search for hidden terms and conditions requiring you to pay $1000 just to link to a page.
I did my own analysis of all the links currently going to Krak.dk internal pages – their sugar trap will possibly net them $6m if they win.
Here is the current statement of the rules from Krak AFTER all the coverage from the last 2 weeks.
Official Krak answer:
Every blogger in the world is welcome to use deep links to Krak maps for free. But please ask us.
When it comes to commercial use, Krak has the same policy as Google and others. You cannot use our copyrighted maps without asking.
Krak alone decides whether the use is commercial or not.
In the actual case, the site by nature looks like a blog, but may in fact be a business, so we decided he had to pay.
If we were wrong, and if the blogger in question in fact is not selling anything (no animals or accessories), we will reconsider.
Kraks Forlag A/S
- This is more serious than a small tweak to a search engine’s algorithm
- A change in the terms for Google Adsense is insignificant compared
- The latest start-up from “Demo” is inconsequential
- Hell this is bigger news than Robert Scoble talking at a new PayPerPost gig (and for the record I respect Robert for doing so, and for his disclosure)
- And for search, no matter how important people might think Wikipedia is, I guarantee the ability to freely link to any web page is of much higher consequence.
- I am not sure how this compares with Britney Spears or Paris Hilton up the skirt pics, but imagine you couldn’t link to the site that just listed them?
- I am not sure how this compares in importance for global warming – hell if people couldn’t link to each other, maybe the internet would become less attractive, and we would all plant more trees.
- Windows Vista? Well you can always read an opinion on Paul’s blog about how his better half liked it (a non-geek)
Maybe I should spend the next hour checking every page of Paul’s blog in Denmark just in case he has a hidden charge for linking to his. I don’t have to do that because he is a normal sane person running a normal legitimate business and doesn’t need to trap people into paying him money.
Seriously, this story need some main-stream international press coverage.