Fleshbot in trouble for merely linking to Diaz video?
The Gawker Media owned blog Fleshbot (not safe for work) has recieved a cease and desist letter for merely linking to a site selling copies of a 1992 (pre-super star) Cameron Diaz video which they describe as a "softcore S&M-flavored aerobics routine with a Chippendale-looking dude in a loincloth."
Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media says:
"Whether or not Fleshbot or any of the Gawker sites link to (the video's) site, it's still there," said Fleshbot editor John d'Addario. "We didn't host the video, we're not selling the video, and we didn't link to the video itself. There are a lot of blogs out there ... putting it on their sites. It's not hard to find."
This is obviously very disturbing for all bloggers. Can any blogger be sued for merely linking? The Diaz video is the subject of an injuction, but Fleshbot didn't link to the video, only to a site selling it (apparently in violation of the injunction). Anyway, Fleshbot is way more popular that most blogs, that is why it has been targeted, but it is still disturbing for us all.
"Linking ... may be at the heart of the Internet, but there are instances where linking to another site may create potential liability for the party creating the link," wrote attorney Ivan Hoffman in "Linking and Crawling Issues," an online article on the subject.
Mark Sableman, in his 2001 article (PDF) in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, agreed. "Despite the Internet's initial 'free linking' ethos, links can be unlawful when they are designed to confuse viewers, to evade court orders or clear statutory prohibition, or to promote illegal conduct by others," the St. Louis attorney wrote. "But most linking is lawful, even where the linked site claims the right to authorize and control links."