Hyperlinking to Hutchison Whampoa Limited forbidden

Maybe they don't want people to find them.

The copyright notice for the web site of Hutchison Whampoa Limited states,

Copyright Hutchison Whampoa Limited. 2003. All rights reserved.

No person, whether an individual or a body corporate, shall create or establish a hyperlink to the HWL Corporate Website by hypertext reference or imaging without the written permission of Hutchison.

I can't create a hyperlink so you'll have to find it yourself.

This isn't an issue of deep linking; they are banning even links to their home page.

Comments (47)
  1. grouse says:

    I’d like to see them enforce that.

  2. Oli says:

    Heh. They don’t even want people to talk about them online! That sounds like negative publicity…

  3. pompo500 says:


    The police force in Finland has banned by law the act of making hyperlinks to its website, http://www.poliisi.fi (I hope your blog does not create hyperlinks automatically)

    But I don’t think it applies outside of Finland (how could Finnish laws apply in USA), so I’m good posting the link here. ;P

  4. Anonymous Linker says:

    Are they suing Google, AllTheWeb, AltaVista, MSN Search… for having their link(s) in their databases? Did they exclude their robots? Did they explicitly grant the permission they are talking about to these companies? Now, if I had to link to Hutchinson Whampoa (can we say the name without being sued? but why, oh why, would I link to such a company), I think that I would finally have a use for the infamous rel = "nofollow" tag.

  5. smiley says:

    well, google has many links to that web site……

  6. JamesW says:

    Clue to Hutchison Whampoa and the Finnish police:

    If you don’t want to be linked to get off the public internet and move over to your own little private BBS where no one will trouble you.

  7. Eagle says:

    Well, Google better be the first on their lawsuit list then…

  8. Cooney says:

    I can’t create a hyperlink so you’ll have to find it yourself.

    Sure you can. You can no more ban links to your homepage than you can forbid people from referring to a book you publish.

  9. goolge says:

    Maybe google has a "written permission"?

  10. Cooney says:

    I’d like to see them enforce that.

    something like cat access.log | get_referrer | sort|uniq > lawsuit_list, right?

  11. Neil T. says:

    Don’t Link To Us – http://www.dontlink.com/ – used to list sites that had policies like that. Alas it’s been a couple of years since it was updated.

  12. fleeb says:

    If the Finnish do not permit linking to their police’s website, their website does a very poor job of telling you this (at least in English).

    I could only find the following text:

    In accordance with the Copyright Act (404/1961) as amended, the Finnish Police or other information producers mentioned in the document hold the copyright on the material published on this website. It is advised that those who wish to make use of the copyright material should contact the Information Unit of the Ministry of the Interior’s Police Department by e-mail at info@krp.poliisi.fi.

    Perhaps their laws have been recently changed?

  13. Dominic Cronin says:

    Anyone know how to modify that google url so that it does an "I feel lucky" ?

  14. Dominic Cronin says:

    Well anyway – you put &btnI on the end of the URL

  15. JD says:

    I wish someone wrote ‘Technology for Lawyers’ series just like Eric Sink wrote ‘Marketing for Geeks’ series.


  16. Ilya Birman says:

    Sometimes people smoke very suspicios stuff :-)

  17. carlso says:

    They say "no person" but make no mention of automated web crawlers. ;-) I wonder if they know about the Robots Exclusion Protocol: http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/exclusion.html

    Regarding the Google lawsuit, I’m not sure how anyone can make a legal case against a web search company for indexing their site when they didn’t make an effort to figure out how to prevent search engines from indexing them.

  18. Darrell says:

    Even though the Ticketmaster vs. Tickets.com case was about deep linking, there were some decisions made regarding hyperlinks and web site terms of use:

    "Further, hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library’s card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently."

    So they would lose a case based on copyright infringement. The court also ruled that since Ticketmaster’s terms and conditions weren’t required to be read (ie, "Click to indicate your agreement" and then proceed to web site), they weren’t legally binding:

    "It cannot be said that merely putting the terms and conditions in this fashion necessarily creates a contract with anyone using the web site."

    My interpretation (I’m not a lawyer, get your own legal advice, etc.) is that if this were handled in US courts, HW Ltd. would lose.

    Find out all this and more:


  19. Dominic Self says:

    Pace (in the UK) do exactly the same thing.

    "If you wish to link to and/or frame any content of this website you are required to seek Pace’s written permission prior to doing so. Requests to link or frame the contents of our site should be made to Pace’s Web Master"

  20. Ivan says:

    I’ve linked them from my web site, added a notice saying the whole point of the link is to show how stupid their policy is, and sent them an email challenging them to sue me.

  21. Brent Dax says:

    "…By placing Your Site on the Web, You agree to allow free linking to any publicly-accessible page on Your Site, regardless of any statements to the contrary on Your Site…"

    Ah, if only.

  22. Jonathan Allen says:

    They could easily enforce it. All they need to do is check the HTTP_REFERER and bounce the user if its from an outside site.

    By the way, why didn’t TicketMaster do that to Tickets.Com? I know it isn’t a perfect solution, but it is easier than a lawsuit.

  23. Dean Harding says:

    But then, how did they get on Google in the first place, if no one was allowed to link to them? If there’s no links to the site, then the googlebot won’t crawl the site, since it can’t get to it. Unless of course, they explicitly add their site to google’s index, which would somewhat defeat the purpose of their notice…

    And they haven’t even thought about their PageRank! With no links, how could they be number 1 in a search!?

  24. michaels says:

    They could easily enforce it. All they need

    > to do is check the HTTP_REFERER and bounce

    > the user if its from an outside site.

    Of course, this is trivial to modify …, heck you could even modify it to someone else’s site to get them sued.

    IIRC the 2004 Greek Olympics website did something similar.

  25. Hutchie (no connection to these guys) says:

    Interesting enough, the disclaimer about linking is not on their Disclaimer link but on their Copyright link.

    Interesting side note, one of the basic tenets of web site navigation of clicking on the top logo to return to the home page of the site results in a javascript warning "downloading of this image is not allowed". Paranoia overcomes usability though this high-end protection scheme is easily overcome if anyone would want a copy of their logo; hell, it comes up in Google Images.

  26. Justin says:

    Interesting to note the ‘high-end protection scheme’ on the logo is ONLY on the logo, too.

    if(document.images) {

    document.images.logo.onmousedown = block;


  27. Dean Harding says:

    Interesting to note the ‘high-end protection scheme’ on the logo is ONLY on the logo

    It’s not like it’s a particularly good looking logo, either. Rather plain, I’d say.

    And besides, if "downloading of this image is not allowed", then how the heck is the browser supposed to display it in the first place? Ahh, when marketing forces the hand of developers…

    Oh, and you can get around their click-detection code by right-clicking on the image before the rest of the page loads :-) It’s not the fastest site in the world, so you got plenty of time!

    It’s also amusing that the copyright sign in the copyright notice is actually an image – and they even have an onmouseover event to change it to an image of the copyright symbol with a line under it! I wonder if their developers have heard of ©?

    Hehe, I like making fun of people ;)

  28. Jonathan says:

    Reminds me of some on-line PDFs that disallow "Save as…". Easy enough to circumvent – just pull it out of the browser cache.

  29. Paul says:

    Of course, it could all just be a cunning ploy to gain more links – after all, how many people have now just linked to them out of contrariness? :-)

    Regarding the ‘protection’, I’m always amazed people still try that. Turn off Javascript, and what do you know, you can save the images. Heck, even if you just make Javascript unable to disable context menus, you can still save them. It’s simple enough that you’d think people would figure it out.

  30. Rick says:

    The javascript doesn’t work in Firefox with a right-click, only a left-click o_O

    Oh, and this from their disclaimer page:

    HWL Corporate Website — Applicable Laws

    All matters relating to your access to, and use of information in this website shall be governed by the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China ("Hong Kong").

    So if you link to them Hong Kong will sue you.

  31. Broam says:

    Wait. Downloading isn’t allowed?

    That means I shouldn’t have been able to SEE THE LOGO IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    They claim to be innovative and understand technology…heh. It’s obvious they don’t.

  32. Law student from Finland says:

    Contrary to what someone claimed above, linking to the web site of the Finnish Police is NOT prohibited by law. However, the police force did attempt to ban linking at one point but was refuted by legal experts, including the Ombudsman of Justice of the Finnish Parliament – whose interpretations of legal issues, though not conclusive, are considered quite authoritative in Finland.

    See the following web site for more information (in Finnish only):


    The next time somebody makes a claim regarding the laws of Finland, I would very much prefer that they provide some references such as a link (!) to the official FINLEX database that includes the full text of all Finnish laws and statutes. (It should be noted that the legal status of FINLEX with regard to copyright is somewhat unclear. The reason for that is too complex to explain here.)

    Here is a sample link to FINLEX:


    That’s the Finnish Code of Judicial Procedure, enacted in 1734 and still in force (though heavily updated over the years). For anyone who’s wondering, they don’t have the full text of all laws and statutes from the 18th Century available on the web, only those laws that remain at least partially in force.

  33. Vince Pacella says:

    Whenever I hear of H-W , I think of "the Company" from the Alien movies, Weyland-Yutani.

  34. Hm, Hutchison Whampoa doesn’t seem to have a /robots.txt file. This makes almost no sense. Why would you go to all the bother to create a Web site, and then NOT want traffic driven to the site?

    I wonder if I should tempt fate and create a link to them…

  35. michaels says:

    Regarding the ‘protection’, I’m always

    > amazed people still try that. Turn off

    > Javascript, and what do you know, you can

    > save the images.

    Easiest way without too much bother is just to drag the box of the message so that "Ok" is over the area you are interested in, and then click both mouse buttons pretty much at the same time (right a fraction earlier) on the button … the context menu will then pop-up on what you were after.

  36. tim scarfe says:

    "and then click both mouse buttons pretty much at the same time (right a fraction earlier) on the button … the context menu will then pop-up on what you were after. "

    No that only works in some cases. If they captured the oncontextmenu event you are out of luck and need to find the source via the view source menu (possibly hunting through frame references) or disabling JS.

  37. Sy says:

    "by hypertext reference or imaging"

    Doesn’t this seem to suggest that a non-image non-hypertext reference is ok?

    So I could create a textfile which contained the URL and link to that.

    What about making it a "text-only" flash button?

    Is Javascript out of the question?

    Their note is about as inane as telling people on the street to not look at you. Sorry, the internet is about as public as real life when it comes to linking. Linking good. (fire bad)

  38. Anonymous says:

    MEX Blog » Hutchison Whampoa Limited mag keine Links

  39. DWalker says:

    Downloading their logo: With many browsers, such as Avant Browser, if you hover over the logo image for a few seconds, a small menu pops up with various options including Save, so it’s not hard to download their less-than-impressive logo. (Avant is not a whole browser in itself, but rather a tabbed-browser overlay that uses IE for much of what it does.)

  40. Merle says:

    You cannot use the HTTP_REFERER for several reasons. It can be spoofed, it can be turned off, and, worse, it can be completely wrong.

    In some "browsers", if you reuse a window and type in a URL, it sends the URL of the page you were on as the referrer — even though that’s blatantly false (and a security risk).

    They can’t even google for people who link to them. Consider the output of tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/5ae26 a link to them might not even look like one.

    But is it a link to them? Really, I just created a link to tinyurl. It’s <em>those</em> guys who linked to HWL.

    S’ok, I cannot read their copyright notice. Whatever tool it is that autocreates those MM_ JavaScript functions does not create JS that Opera understands. Poor losers. Guess that means their copyright does not apply to me, as I cannot read it.

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