Recent Case Notes & Commentary

Can Your Website Include a Link to Another Website?

A recent US court case sought to stop a website from including links to lawyers in Jones Day to follow up their real estate purchases, which was the activity in which the internet site engaged.


The court action had brought criticism on the grounds that it was a regular practice of the internet to contain links to other websites and that this was important from the dissemination of information and for free speech.


The case has now been settled and the internet site will be allowed to continue to have links to the Jones Day lawyers, but must do so by using the firm’s web address as, for example, in www.jonesday.com/dpmalone.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer report is, in part, as follows:


” BlockShopper posts information from public records on residential sales in 11 U.S. markets. It adds to that brief articles about transactions involving lawyers, doctors and other buyers and sellers whose names show up in Google searches.


Jones Day sued BlockShopper in August after it posted articles about Dan Malone Jr. and Jacob Tiedt, lawyers at its Chicago office who had recently bought condos. The articles linked to the lawyers’ profile pages on the firm’s 2,300-attorney site.


Jones Day asserted that the links could give viewers the mistaken impression that it endorsed BlockShopper or Critics scoffed, saying that Jones Day’s position was an attack on Blockshopper’s First Amendment rights and jeopardised the common practice of linking from one Internet site to another.


…BlockShopper … offered to “make the link more literal” by including the law firm’s Web address — the terms agreed to this week, ( BlockShopper) said.


…Under the settlement,… BlockShopper can publish links to Jones Day but they can’t be “embedded links.” Those are defined as hyperlinks that are placed on a word or name.


Instead, BlockShopper will have to place the Web address next to references to the firm. In other words, instead of writing Daniel P. Malone Jr. is an associate in the Chicago office of Jones Day,” BlockShopper must write “Malone (www.jonesday.com/dpmalone) is an associate . . .”


BlockShopper is permitted to use “deep links” to any Jones Day site. Those are links that directly access a specific page beyond the home page, such as attorneys’ biographical pages.


While the settlement may seem like a fig leaf, it still rankles digital rights proponents who say BlockShopper did nothing illegal.


…Paul Levy, a lawyer with the consumer group Public Citizen, encouraged people to “replicate the lesson to Jones Day” by posting hyperlinks to the firm “as a way of daring, ‘Big boy, try it again.'”


While the case was pending, BlockShopper agreed to remove links to the condo-buying associates in Chicago.

Now those postings will go back up, along with listings of property transactions by other Jones Day lawyers, (BlockShopper) said. ” With acknowledgement to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.”