Deep linking is legal in Denmark

By EDRi · March 15, 2006

In a long awaited ruling, the Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen
has decided that so-called deep linking is legal in Denmark. The decision is
expected to have a major impact on many Danish online-services and search

Controversially, the Maritime and Commercial Court has decided to go against
a prior verdict by a lower Danish court. In July 2002, the court ruled that
the Danish company Newsbooster was violating copyright law and marketing law
by using deep links to articles in Danish online-newspapers. Instead of
linking to the main pages of the newspapers, Newsbooster was linking
directly to the individual articles, thereby allowing readers to bypass the
front pages. The newspapers demanded that the service be shut down – with

In the new case, the court has taken the opposite stance. This time, the
Danish real estate site was linking directly to houses for
sale at the real estate agent Home. By proving deep links into the
internet-database of Home, Ofir again came into conflict with the same law,
which closed Newsbooster in 2002. But this time, the court decided

“It should be considered ordinary practice, that search engines make
available deep links, which allow the user to access the required
information in an effective manner (…) Parties, including providers on the
internet, should thus expect, that search services will establish links to
those pages which are published …” reads the court ruling.

In an interview with Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper , Hanne Bender, one
of the leading Danish experts in copyright-law, described the new ruling as
a milestone. “This decision is incredibly exciting. It challenges everything
that has been said in all prior cases,” says Hanne Bender, lawyer at the
company Bender von Haller Dragsted.

Maritime and Commercial Court ruling ( in Danish, 24.02.2006)

(Contribution by Karim Petersen, Danish WSIS network)