Certain forms of "linking"
may give rise to copyright liability while other forms may not.
Indeed, linking may be an essential component for communication
on the World Wide Web as it provides some direction to our web
surfing. This web site, for example,
provides several surface links to "related material."
Moreover, several search engines use some form of "linking"
to help Web surfers find information. 
Nevertheless, there is an on-going debate as to whether linking,
particularly "deep linkin," may give rise to copyright
Surface linking, or the process
of connecting one web site to the homepages of another site, poses
little legal concern. Surface linking
might be akin to telling someone that a television show is about
to be broadcast or telling someone that a book is available in
a public library or in a particular bookstore. The web publisher
that includes surface links on his or her page is merely directing
a user to access another's homepage and to enter through the "front
door." The publisher has not copied, reproduced, or distributed
a copyrighted work without the authorization of the copyright
Deep linking, or the process
of connecting one web site "deep" within another's site,
may pose more copyright concerns.
This form of linking, by definition, bypasses the homepages of
the copyright holder and therefore may bypass advertising or proprietary
content that the copyright holder wishes the Internet surfer to
see. In some respects, then, this form of linking may interfere
with the copyright holder's right to control the display and distribution
of his or her work. Such
a claim was made by the owner of a site, Ticketmaster, when Microsoft
Corporation deep linked directly to Ticketmaster's order form.
The suit, however, was settled before a legal decision could be
reached. Indeed, a U.S. court has
yet to address this issue fully.
Two possibilities for copyright
liability, however, remains: contributory or vicarious infringement.
Contributory infringment occurs when an individual, with actual
knowledge, substantially assists another in violating copyright
law.Vicarious infringement occurs when an individual, with or
without knowledge, recieves direct financial benefit from another's
copyright infringement and when he or she suprvises or controls
the activity leading to the infringement. 
Hyperlinking to clearly infringing material may lead to liability.
The person or corporation creating such "hyperlinks"
may be essentially directing others to violate the law and thus,
may be held liable, depending on whether he or she meets the
test for infringement. To date, this issue is still being debated.
Whether a U.S court would actually
find liability for the creation of such links, however, would
depend on a variety of factors. Maureen O'Rourke, an Associate
Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, for example,
has argued that there is either an "implied license"
to "link" or that linking is a form of "fair
use." She also emphasizes that the Internet has received
strong First Amendment protection for its unique abilities to
facilitiate the exchange of information and idea, and that these
First Amendment values would weight strongly in favor of free
linking.  In other words, if
hyperlinking could give rise to copyright liability, this liability
could have a "chilling effect" on Internet communications.
Nevertheless, in light of the ongoing debate, it remains unclear
whether linking activities may be restricted by copyright law.
or "In-Line Linking"
- Copyright implications that
might arise from "framing" copyrighted works within
a new web site.
See Alain Strowel and Nicolas Ide, Liability with Regard
to Hyperlinks. 24 Colum. VLA J.L. & Arts 403, 404 (2001).
id. at 407 and 423.
more information about these rights, please turn to the Rights
of Copyright page
Strowel, supra note 1, at 423.
See id. at 433-434.
See Bruce P. Keller, Internet and Online Law: Copyright,
in Fourth Annual Internet Law Institution, Practicing Law
Institute, Vol. 1, 169, 207-208 (2001).
Strowel and Ide, supra note 1, at 416.
See Maureen A. O'Rourke, Legal
Issues on the Internet: Hyperlinking and Framing. D-Lib Magazine,
April 1998. Available at <<http://www.dlib.org/dlib/april98/04orourke.
html>> Last accessed, November 28, 2001.