Contributory Infringement: Is It Relevant on the Web?

A recent article in ASAE’s Technoscope newsletter discusses how copyright laws could be applied to hyperlinking.  The following excerpt describes the risk you may attach to yourself (or organization) by linking to another site:

“Taking the concept of copyright infringement one step further, if Association A provides a hyperlink to Association B?s Web site, which contains infringing material, Association A could be held liable under the theory of contributory infringement. Such claim would be in addition to the copyright owner?s claim against Association B for copyright infringement.

Contributory infringement occurs when an individual or organization knowingly induces, causes, or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another, the essential elements being knowledge of and participation in the infringement.”

So how does pointing to another page on the Web materially contribute to the infringing conduct of another? Seems like a stretch to me given that links are essentially bibliographic references (imho).  

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