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Not sure if this is a good place to ask, but maybe someone here can point me in the right direction...

If I wanted to make a commercial, directory type website (where users can enter content) and in order to ensure uniqueness and prevent duplicate entries I would use links and URLs of an established website and cross reference those in my database to see if the link was already used - would I be violating any Intellectual Property laws in the US?

So for example I am making a directory of musicians, and users can create profiles for musicans. But I don't want 3 profile pages for Lady Gaga, so I am asking for the link to Lady Gaga's myspace site. Or the link to Lady Gaga's Wikipedia site. If the link that was entered is already used in my database, I would alert the user, and require certain actions to figure out which of the profiles was indeed created by Lady Gaga or her representatives - and not just by someone who is trying to give her a bad reputation or something...

Other examples would be possible with using facebook pages, google+ pages, linkedIn profiles, imdb, etc. etc.

My website would take advantage of the fact, that another website is very established and reliable.

Of course I will not include any content from the website, other than the LINK/URL STRING OF CHARACTERS (which would be a deep link however). And if I display the link on the profile page, I would make sure to say for example "visit lady gaga's profile page on myspace.com" or something similar to ensure fair usage.

Here is an article, that talks about linking and deep linking to other sites, but not about "using the URL of a site in your code as part of the content verification process". http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter6/6-c.html

Does anybody have an idea what's allowed and what isn't, what violates IP law and what doesn't? Or where else could I research to find out?

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I recommend having the user sign in via OAUTH. All major sites support it, and you can get information that may be used to verify the authenticity of the user. Information, at the very least, includes the email of the user which could be compared with an official site.

You could also use services like Facebook's Open Graph to compare the authorized user who has an account named "Lady Gaga" to other "Lady Gaga" accounts on Facebook, and say "most likes is official", or similar judgement (most followers on Twitter, etc.).

It's not perfect, but it gets around the 10 minute process of creating a new Facebook profile with any name and claiming you are that person.

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Thank you, those are some good ideas! I'd vote up, but I need a reputation of 15 to do so. Sorry – olli Mar 10 '13 at 19:46

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