Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Shetland Times Ltd. v. Dr. Jonathan Wills and Zetnews Ltd.
Court of Session, Edinburgh (Lord Hamilton, J.) (October 24, 1996)
In this case, the court issued an interim interdict (a Scottish term for a temporary restraint) barring defenders, without the pursuer's consent, from copying headlines from pursuer's newspaper onto their web site, and creating hyperlinks from those headlines to the location on the pursuer's site on which the article described in the headline appears. Such links permitted the user to bypass the pursuer's home page, and took the user directly to the article in question. Note - this case is decided under Scottish law. The pursuer owns and publishes The Shetland Times newspaper. Versions of the paper appear both in print and on a web site operated by the pursuer. The defenders own and/or operate a web site on which they publish a news reporting service entitled The Shetland News. Defenders reproduced verbatim a number of headlines appearing in the Shetland Times. These headlines were hyperlinked to the pursuer's web site. Clicking on the headline took the reader to the internal pages in the pursuer's site on which the related story was found. As such, stated the court, "access to the pursuers' items ... can be obtained by by-passing the pursuers' front page and accordingly missing any advertising material which may appear on it." The pursuer sought an interim interdict, directing defenders to cease this practice, which the pursuer claimed violated sections 7 and 20 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Concluding that the pursuer had "a prima faice case that the incorporation by the defenders in their Web site of the headlines provided at the pursuers' Web site constitutes an infringement ...," the court issued an interim interdict, temporarily directing that such linking be terminated, subject to further litigation on the subject.
Click here for the court's decision.