Hyperlinks may cause a war in Europe

PRAVDA.Ru interviewed Anders Lautrup-Larsen, CEO of the famous content provider NewsBooster.

PRAVDA.Ru readers already know about the lawsuit between the famous content provider and Danish Newspaper Organization (DNPO). Soon, a large editorial on the problem is to be published by PRAVDA.Ru. Here is an interview with a spokesman of one part of the conflict on which almost all participants of Europe’s Internet are focused.

Newsbooster was targeted by the DNPO because of its use of “deep links.” Because some of our readers might be unfamiliar with the term, please give us a short definition of the term “deep linking.

These are links that point the user directly to a website's interior pages, instead of leading the user to the frontpage. Deep Links enhance usability and are the backbone of the internet, leading users to the exact page that they are looking for.

Without “Deep Linking” there would be no search engines like Google, Yahoo, or AltaVista.

In your opinion, what was the reason that the DNPO decided to target Newsbooster? It seems that if the DNPO was unhappy with Newsbooster’s services, it would simply stop providing newsfeeds.

I think that DNPO simply do not understand the essence of the Internet and the high value that a Search Engine like Newsbooster bring to their site.

In November 2001 DNPO won a trial against a company that went bankrupt before the trial and never showed up to defend the case. That started a regular war against national sites using “Deep Links," with letters from their lawyers. Several websites had stopped linking to Danish Newspapers. Newsbooster had chosen to fight the case, even though DNPOs newspapers represent a very small percentage of our service.

One might believe that, by using so-called “deep links,” Newsbooster is actually directing a significant amount of traffic to on-line newspapers. For instance, Newsbooster generates a large amount of traffic for PRAVDA.Ru Why do some newspapers object to this practice?

DNPO lives in another century. They have very big problems finding the right business model on the internet. Instead of trying to understand the business potential, it is much easier to fight against it.

It is known that the DNPO has made the decision not to cover the court proceedings. In your opinion, why is this the case?

I believe that inside they know that their attack is very doubtful. If DNPO should win the case, it could cause international chaos. DNPO does not let the press have access to the legal documentation,and last week refused to allow TV transmission from the court. Newsbooster tries to compensate by publishing and translating all legal documentation.

What have been the latest developments in the case?

DNPO had very big problems by defining the problem for the court. The court postponed the trial because of their week argumentation.

DNPO first banned our e-mails with the search results. Then, Newsbooster made our “Statement of Defence” to the court. This made DNPO change their mind, so DNPO now bans every kind of “Deep Links."

The trial looks more and more like a farce. Like a blind man trying to describe something he can not see.

In your opinion, what effects could the outcome, positive or negative, have on web-based information services and the Internet in general?

DNPO claims that they run this trial with the support of international newspaper organizations. If DNPO wins in the court, or if the case is not clearly defined, it could cause a wave of legal actions against such links.

How are events developing now?

Information has recently appeared concerning the “deep links” lawsuit that three media & technology companies are joining the case on NewsBooster’s side. The IDG company (Computerworld) is among the three companies. They plan to launch a similar project in the Danish language, which is to be closed if NewsBooster loses the suit. A group of people supporting NewsBooster sent a letter to Danish politicians to stress the importance of the trial. NewsBooster met with a governmental official responsible for IT and informed him of the situation.

Interview prepared by Justin Cowgill PRAVDA.Ru

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/13/42594.html

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