A hyperlink is a graphic or a piece of text in an Internet document that can connect readers to another webpage, or another portion of a document. Web users will usually find at least one hyperlink on every webpage. The most simple form of these is called embedded text or an embedded link.
In this instance, a hyperlink will show up as a single word or group of words that will usually be marked as underlined, and are frequently blue in color. Clicking on the hyperlink may take one to another part of the page, or it may open another Internet page.
The HTML code for a hyperlink is relatively simple. It looks like this: <a href ="www.wisegeek.com">wiseGEEK</a> which will display like this: wiseGEEK. Clicking on this hyperlink will send the web surfer to wiseGEEK's homepage. The code is easy to duplicate. It always begins as <a href=. This is followed by the uniform resource locator (URL), that is, the webpage address that you want the link to take the web surfer to. The URL is surrounded by quotation marks. Next, comes another >, then the word that serves as the hyperlink and finally, </a>.
A more complicated link can take one to a specific place in a document. It can either be text or graphic. It may also be a blank area on a screen that performs functions when one clicks on it. There are numerous uses for the hyperlink, and constantly more being discovered.
Sometimes the use of a hyperlink may be disputed. Some companies do not wish to have unauthorized websites link to them, which might imply a relationship that does not exist. There have been a few countries where using a hyperlink has become a matter of law.
As well, some have questioned the use of hyperlinks which might lead to illegal material, or to a website linking to illegal material. This has been a concern upon those attempting to eliminate child pornography from the Internet.
Since most courts have made no final decisions on the use of the hyperlink, it is best to investigate all links on a page, and to ask permission of a site owner before using a hyperlink. This may be ultimately ruled as copyright infringement. At the very least, without stated permission, it is considered poor Internet etiquette to hyperlink to another person's document or web page.