JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Stephen Morse's website shut down #general


Dear Group,
Avotaynu's newsletter, "Nu, What's Nu?", just sent out a message that
the The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. has shut down
Stephen Morse's EIDB websites. (Text below)

I've written them a letter expressing my opinion. I got the address
from their website.
Hilary Henkin
Atlanta, Georgia USA

Reprinted with permission >from "Nu? What's New?" the Internet e-zine
published by Avotaynu.
Steve Morse "One-Step" Site Forced to Shut Down

Under the threat of legal action >from The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island
Foundation, Inc. (SLEIF), Stephen Morse has shut down all of his sites
that link to the Ellis Island Database. The Foundation accused Morse of
creating a site that performs what has come to be known as "deep
linking." Deep linking is the act of linking to a page at a web site
other than the Home Page.

Deep linking may, indeed, be illegal. In a court case brought in a
country of the European Union, it was deemed illegal and, therefore,
cannot be performed in any country of the EU. In the United States, a
Georgia state law that banned deep linking was ruled unconstitutional
only because it overstepped the boundaries of Georgia law which has to
be limited to events which occur within the state. A number of years
ago, Ticketmaster, a U.S. company that sells tickets to events, sued
Microsoft, who was providing deep links to the Ticketmaster site. The
case was settled out of court with Microsoft agreeing not to continue
the practice.

Morse and SLEIF actually came close to an agreement which would allow
portions of his site to remain available until they provided comparable
service, but the contract they presented him to sign demanded that he
admit that what he did was "in violation of the Foundation's legal
rights and in breach of the Foundation's terms and conditions...." The
contract then stated SLEIF would forgive him for past sins. Morse
refused to agree to such terms and decided instead to close his site.

Deep linking is a common practice. Every search engine performs the
function. Every edition of "Nu? What's New?" includes such links. Web
site owners normally do not object to the practice because it has a
positive benefit to the site owner. However, this does not mean they
cannot reserve the right to request that such a practice be selectively

Additional information about this controversy can be found at,
which, of course, is a deep link into The New York Times web site.

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