Recently I wrote about the story of Jennifer Reisinger, a web designer who was hit with a takedown notice because she had a Link to the Sheboygan Police Department on her website, Brat City Web Design.  It seems that this isn’t the only case of ridiculous legal action over hypertext links.

Now there’s another case of internet insanity in the courts and it’s proof positive that something needs to be done to curb appetites of corporate and government types to use their legal muscle to squash free speech online.  This time Jones Day, one of those well connected Chicago law firms, hit Blockshopper.com with a “dilution of trademark” lawsuit over the website’s use of the law firm’s name in a link.

BlockShopper.com publishes real estate information for certain communities.  In this case they showed that a prominent real estate lawyer bought a condo on 46th Avenue.  Specifically, they showed that Chicago law firm Jones Day bought apartments, homes, & condos on Chicago’s north side.

Bear in mind, the information that Blockshopper.com published is actually a matter of public record.  They simply did their part to insure that it was a little bit more public than Jones Day apparently wanted it to be.  At least that’s the only reason I can think of for such a completely ridiculous suit.

As a recent comment points out:

I think a good analogy would be that a hyperlink is no more content than an address is a house.

Frankly, I think that if anything, Jones day needs to educate themselves a bit about some of the basic facts about how the Internet works.  If they had such basic knowledge, they would understand that inbound links are valuable regardless of where they come from or why they’re being used.  In fact, they should realize that every time somebody puts in a link to their site, they gain additional visibility in search engine results pages.

I guarantee you that I’ll not be caught complaining about or suing somebody because they decided to include a link to any website of mine on theirs.  In fact, I’m grateful for each and every one of them, especially when they aren’t nofollow.  {insert big goofy grin here}

Technorati Tags: silly lawsuits, jones day, freedom of speech, blockshopper, preposterous claims, links, text links, chicago law firm

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