Hat-tip to the Rocky Mountain Appellate weblog.

In a decision issued in Utah Lighthouse Ministry (UTLM) v. Foundation for Apologetic Info. & Research (FAIR), the Tenth Circuit examined the issue of whether hyperlinking can render a non-commercial opinion, critical or parody Website liable for infringement under the Lanham Act.  The resulting holdings afforded Website parodies (such as, e.g., People Eating Tasty Animals (PETA))1 some protection.

Following the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning in Bosley Medical Institute v. Kremer, the Tenth Circuit concluded that, because the parody Website in question contained critical commentary as well as links to articles critical of plaintiffs and, because the links to plaintiffs’ Web site were to its homepage and not directly to its bookstore, the “roundabout path” to the advertising or commercial use of others was simply “too attentuated” to invoke the trademark protections of the Lanham Act.

1 This example appeared in n.5 of the Tenth Circuit’s opinion.