The practice of deep linking has taken another blow with a new decision by an upper court in Munich, Germany.

The court has ruled that using a search engine to link to stories on other newspaper sites violates European Union law. The 'Database Directive' grants copyright protection to database creators for selecting and arranging the information, even if the creator does not hold copyright.

It was the latest legal decision in a two-year battle between German paper Mainpost and search engine NewsClub.

Last month a Copenhagen court ruled in favour of the Danish Newspapers Association in its fight against Newsbooster - an almost identical battle between a large publishing company and a small news-searching service.

The number of media web sites that attempt to ban linking to their material by other sites is growing. In the US, Belo Media and Bloomberg - founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - prohibit linking without permission.

Another hearing on the Mainpost case will be held in the Munich Upper Court later this month. If the judges do not reverse their decision, NewsClub plans to take the case to the German Federal Court.


Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).