Internet Ruling: Hypertext Linking does not violate Copyright

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/st_org/iptf/headlines/content/2000040401.html

On March 27, 2000 federal Judge Harry L. Hupp for the Central District of California issued a first ruling in favor of Tickets.com in the case of Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com (99-7654) involving alleged copyright infringement for hypertext linking. Tickets.com is an online provider of entertainment, sports and travel tickets and provides hypertext links to Ticketmaster web pages for tickets not available at Tickets.com. Ticketmaster sued Tickets.com claiming such links constituted copyright infringement, among other claims.

In his ruling, Hupp concluded “hypertext linking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act.since no copying is involved.” The basis for this conclusion can be seen from the statutory language of the Copyright Act, Title 17 section 106 of the United States Code, describing the exclusive rights of copyright holders, which reads as follows:

“Subject to sections 107 through 120, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
2. to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
4. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
5. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission. ”

17 U.S.C. sec. 106.