This Boggles My Mind: Don't Link to Sheboygan, Whatever You Do

The City of Sheboygan started criminal prosecutions against one Jennifer Reisinger. Why? She linked to the city site. Now she's suing. Excerpts and links below.

I think if it wasn't a city, they would have slapped her with a DCMA takedown notice instead.

Can a city stop people from posting a link to its Web site?

That’s the question at the center of a federal lawsuit brought by a Sheboygan woman against the mayor and other officials there, in what appears to be a first-of-its-kind case...


The city went further, the lawsuit claims, launching a criminal investigation of Reisinger for linking to the department on one of her sites.

Boyden said some companies require other Web sites to get permission to link to them, but he knew of no companies, much less a government body, that have tried to enforce violations of that condition if the links didn’t infringe on a copyright or trademark.

Boyden said not all speech is protected, including links. For instance, someone might use a link to communicate a threat or violate a copyright, and that wouldn’t be protected.

On Oct. 18, 2007, the mayor’s secretary e-mailed McLean, the city attorney, asking if Reisinger could link to a city Web site. McLean answered, “Anyone can create a link to someone else’s Web site very easily without the knowledge or consent of the linked party.”

Nonetheless, McLean said he could issue a “cease and desist” order to Reisinger, and the mayor said to do it.

Full story here:

Just to be punk: http://ci.sheboygan.wi.us/Mayor/MayorHome.html Look! I'm linking to you!


WaltzInExile said...

Had my usual "What the--?" face as I read most of this. Until I got to the last line. Which has me in tears. Thanks for starting my day off with a belly laugh.

Yet Another Girl said...

I've never done very well with bullies in power. They bring out the Juno side of me.