Can the owner of a web site accessible on the public internet refuse to allow some other person to post a link to that site, identifying whose site it is? Can the owner of the site insist that the person who wants to post the link enter into a licence agreement?
Does it make a difference to the answer if the person who wants to post a link wants to identify the site in part by the use of the principal trade mark (or logo, more likely) registered by the owner of the site? Or would it be cleaner for the person who wants to post the link NOT to use the trade mark and just to identify the site by name?
For example: Would I need a licence to say this (on my own site):
“You may be interested in what [Company X] has to offer in this area. www.companyx.com “
“You may be interested in what [Company X’s trade-marked logo] has to offer in this area. www.companyx.com “
There is no question here of any copying of the content of the web site by the person posting the link. There may be some generic description of why the content may be of interest, e.g. “You may be interested that [Company X] offers a line of bedding and duvets that are based on Norwegian designs but that look to work very nicely in the Canadian climate too.[link]” or “You may be interested that [Company X] provides counselling services to people suffering from [malady Y] [link].”
Would it matter what line of business my own site was in? How and why?
Would it matter to the intellectual property issues if the site posting the link were critical rather than encouraging or neutral? E.g. “You will not be persuaded by the flimsy not to say meretricious arguments found on [Company X]’s site, [link], hoping to get the government to give them special favours that any sensible person would refuse.’ I don’t understand why the IP arguments would be any different than my examples A or B above.
Do you routinely (or exceptionally) insist on or agree to enter into such a licence? Why?