A Texas judge ruled last December that SuperCrossLive.com, owned by Robert Davis, was violating copyright laws by directly linking to audiocasts of motorcycle racing that were created, owned and hosted by SFX Motor Sports.
The judge ruled that "the link Davis provides on his Web site is not a ‘fair use’ of copyright material" and ordered all links to the audiocasts to be removed. SFX sued supercrosslive.com because they believed that listeners should only access the audiocasts through the website, in order for logos of sponsors to be seen.
Robert Davis actually represented himself and was against a Baker Botts lawyer who’s listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2007, so it’s no wonder he lost.
SuperCrossLive.com appealed the decision by the Texas court but the appeal was denied on January the 18th. On January the 30th SuperCrossLive.com appealed to the 5th Circuit Court which can overturn the original verdict.
This case is of course far from over and the ruling itself has been heavily criticized as it is considered to undermine the functioning of the web as a whole. The judge has been accused of misunderstanding the technology involved.
I very much doubt that this case will wind up in favor of preventing deep linking and will be overturned in the 5th Circuit Court. However, should the injunction against SuperCrossLive stand up it would have huge implications for the whole internet. It would set precedent that you must get permission from copyright owners to link to anything but the main page of a website.
What SFX should really do if it doesn’t want people to link directly to its streams is put technology in place which prevents it, rather than embarking on a controversial court case to prevent deep linking.
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