The battle over deep-linking has taken a new twist as the banned search facility Newsbooster moves its operations to the UK.

It still offers the same service, searching for stories on other web sites, but now customers download its software on to their own computers - making the legal situation much less straightforward.

Newsbooster lost its first battle against the Danish Newspaper Association (DDF) last year when a court in Copenhagen passed a preliminary injunction barring it from deep-linking to 28 Danish newspapers.

Now its 3mb application for PCs can be downloaded free, and performs exactly the same function by linking to stories within other web sites. However, editor-in-chief Nicolai Lassen knows it is much harder to prosecute copyright infringements performed by an individual than a search engine controlled by a central server.

Mr Lassen told dotJournalism that Newsbooster would continue to fight the Danish court's decision that deep-linking was illegal. Until then, the new 'newsbrowser' service would continue to do the same thing legally.

"It's a bit like what happens in Denmark, where Danes drive to Germany every weekend to get Danish beer cheaper than they can in their own country," he added.

Web commentator Ernst Poulsten said in Poynter Online: "At present it is not easy to predict the course of events. Will the DDF sue Ltd in London in order to stop the new search program? If it does, Lassen may simply sell the technology to a company in Singapore - with servers in Holland - as he planned to do just a few weeks ago. Even if Ltd should fold in the process, competitors in countries outside the EU (for example, WiseEye in Switzerland) might win their share of the market. It seems that the news industry is facing an opponent nearly as strong as the ones facing the music industry."


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