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!