Federal lawsuits take on the humble hyperlink

Ars: R.E.M. once sang about "the end of the world as we know it," but Michael Stipe & Co. never suspected that the brat-loving, cheese-eating, grain-growing Midwest might be the source of the world-ending scourge. But a pair of recent federal court cases coming from Wisconsin and Illinois have threatened to turn the most primitive functionality of the web-the hyperlink-into an "ask permission before linking" system.

Perhaps the full lyric should run, "It's the end of the web as we know it, and I feel fine," except that it's hard to feel to great about the end of the web.

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