AT&T/Cingular Says No Deep Linking. Whaaa!?

judge.jpgRemember the Web as it was in the 1990s? We were all getting our feet wet, figuring out how it was going to work. This is part of what makes the Web so powerful, the fact that it’s always evolving. One thing that keeps the motor running is unrestricted linking. You can link to any story on this blog, and we can link to any story on your site. We don’t have to like what you link to, why you like to it, or what you say about it, but that’s ok; it’s your right as a citizen of the Web.

AT&T Wireless does not agree with this. According to its acceptable use policies, linking to any page on AT&T’s website other than the front page is unacceptable. In addition, linking in a “derogatory manner” is no good either, and it can revoke your right to do so. How, we’re not sure, AT&T/Cingular is not that granter of that right. Behold, a tasty quote:

You are granted a limited, nonexclusive right to create a hypertext link to the homepage of the Sites, provided such link does not portray Cingular Wireless or any of its products and services in a false, misleading, derogatory, or otherwise defamatory manner. You may not use a Cingular or Cingular Wireless logo or other proprietary graphic or trademark of Cingular or Cingular Wireless to link to the Sites without the express written permission of Cingular Wireless. This limited right may be revoked at any time.

Listen to me, AT&T, I’ve apparently been doing this Internet thing a lot longer than you have. If I want to link to your site in a derogatory manner, that is my Web-given right. I can have a hyperlink in the text AT&T has a stick up its collective ass and there’s nothing you can do about it. This has been held up in court. In addition, I can link to any page on your site I feel like. You can link to any site on this one that you feel like. Go for it, it’s fun. You’ll feel better, trust me.

And I can do it again and again. Look, here’s me linking to your actual policy. And you know what? It’s Okay.

Cingular says they can sue for linking to their website? [DSL Reports]