Bloggers frequently put links in their blogs. Indeed, carrying links on any kind of web site is one of the ways in which the Internet works. In fact, the “hypertext” system of links was developed by Tim Berners-Lee (whoops I’ve put in a link) often known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. In fact without links, we have no Internet as we know it.
So perhaps we should pity the 26-year-old man from Cheltenham who has been arrested for including links in his web site. I jest not. The man was behind the TV-Links web site (whoops I’ve put in another link – prison here I come). The site (now taken down) was a listing of links to broadcast video. In other words, a useful site, that helped people find interesting bits of TV. You would have thought the broadcasters would be happy that the site, ranked 182 in the world by Alexa, was bringing them extra publicity.
But, oh no, the people whose links were carried by TV-Links were far from happy. Indeed, they have now claimed that the TV-Links site was breaching trademark law by carrying the links. Well, let’s take a risk here, Microsoft (a registered trade mark) has never taken out criminal proceedings because I have linked to them. So, having done it again, there’s a chance I’m going to be taken off in handcuffs. I await the blue flashing lights.
However, as Digital Lifestyles points out, the root of the problem is the slowness of the broadcasters who are only just waking up to the fact that you can watch video online. Of course, if the broadcasters had brought a case about copyright infringement it would be easier to understand. But trademarks? Barking up the wrong tree, I reckon. Or just plain barking.
Of course, I’m not a lawyer, but once again this case shows how big business and the brilliant legal brains of Britain fail to understand the Internet and its users. If links become trademarked goods, then virtually every site on the World Wide Web would grind to a halt – including your blog.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+