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Ticketmaster has had its call for hyperlinking to be banned by law rejected by a US federal judge. The ruling follows a row between rival ticket sites Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch and Tickets.com over the practice of deep linking to parts of competitors' Web sites. Ticketmaster had complained that Tickets.com was sending surfers to deep linked parts of its site and in so doing was helping traffic to bypass its front page. Bypassing the front page and accessing the information they wanted in a quick and easy manner stopped users from viewing top line banner ads, Ticketmaster claimed. Increased traffic and the potential for increased sales from people clicking through from other sites is, seemingly, not good enough for Ticketmaster. Unauthorised linking to other sites should be banned, Ticketmaster's lawyer Robert Platt said. "If we spend substantial money to build up a site, why should they be able to take that and build their business on the backs of our hard work?" This is, of course, nonsense. Linking to other sites is one of the fundamentals of life on the Net - to argue against it is to miss the point of the wired world altogether. The judge presiding over the case, Harry Hupp, thought so too. According to reports he said hyperlinking could only be considered illegal if the perpetrator was seeking to duplicate someone else's site. Who said the law is an ass? Not this time it isn't. Ticketmaster is said to be appealing - which is ironic, given how unappealing its attitude to the Internet seems to be. ®

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