A judgement of the European Court of Justice has given some much needed clarity as to the legal risks inherent in hyperlinking your own website to other sites.
The case started in the Dutch courts - GS Media v Sanoma Media,- where Sanoma sued GS for allegedly publishing hyperlinks to one of its websites that directed viewers to another website, which featured unauthorised use of copyrighted images.
The Dutch Supreme Court referred the question of whether a party could be liable for infringement in such a scenario to the CJEU.
CJEU stated- where hyperlinks are posted:
1.without the pursuit of financial gain then it will have to be proved that the poster knew or could reasonably have known the illegal nature of the publication; and
2.for financial gain, there is a rebuttable presumption that the poster had posted the hyperlink with full knowledge of the illegal nature of the content.
In this particular case, GS was unable to rebut that presumption and could, therefore, be liable for infringement.
Learning:- Ensure the legality of any content you link to through your website!
Playboy’s Dutch publisher can stop a news and entertainment website from posting links to its images without permission, a top European Union court said in a ruling that could reverberate across the internet. The European Court of Justice said GeenStijl, owned by GS Media, broke copyright laws when it published links to pictures of TV personality Britt Dekker without the permission of Sanoma Oyj’s Dutch unit, which runs Playboy in the Netherlands. Thursday’s ruling, ... , says the website may fall foul of copyright rules because the links were posted for profit in the full knowledge that the photos were published online without consent. “An eye on profit, that’s something dirty, according to the European clowns,” GeenStijl said in a statement . “from now on, you always run the risk of being sued, just for placing a hyperlink