Internet sites: Is the link always licit?

Is the link always licit?

The “link” in Internet represents a connection inside a page, to cross-refer to another page: in practice the user positions the mouse over the word, presses it and the new page indicated by the same word appears. This kind of operation is quite frequent on the web and really the same Internet would have no reason to exist without the link, which has the function of connecting between themselves a lot of information and making them readily available. However, in the past, there have been some cases where the right to link has been contested. Particularly, this happened when a site created a link to the pages of a competitor site exploiting someone else’s work, or when the link used a registered mark or similar cases. Normally, though, the link is considered free and if someone does not want to be linked must specifically declare it in his own domain. Recently, in the United States, there has been a sentence where a person has been condemned for having made a link with some books of the Latter-day Saint church covered by copyright and the thing has caused much turmoil. Another case happened recently in Sweden where a boy has been condemned in the first grade for having made a link to pirate musical pieces. Luckily though, this has been appealed and won and the boy has been acquitted. The prevailing principle is that, whilst it is surely illegal to distribute pirate music, it is not so making a connecting link to another site distributing it, as, after the link, it will be the user choosing whether to download it without authorisation or simply perusing through it without committing any illicit action.