Unknowingly Linking to Infringing Content is Still Infringement, Court Rules
Art Law

Unknowingly Linking to Infringing Content is Still Infringement, Court Rules

A court in Germany has held the operator of a commercial website liable after it unknowingly linked to infringing content hosted elsewhere. The Hamburg Regional Court found that the link to a Creative Commons image, posted to another site without the correct attribution, amounted to a copyright infringement. In 2011, Dutch blog GeenStijl.nl published an article which linking to leaked Playboy photos which were stored on third-party hosting sites. Playboy publisher Sanoma said this amounted to infringement. The European Court of Justice was asked to rule on whether the links posted by GeenStijl amounted to a ‘communication to the public’ under Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive and therefore a copyright infringement. In September the ECJ handed down its decision which drew a line in the sand between for-profit and not-for-profit linking. Generally, a person who posts a casual link to a work freely available on another website isn’t expected to conduct research to find out whether the copyright holder has granted permission for that work to be there. On the other hand, those who post a link within a commercial context are expected to carry out the “checks necessary” to ensure that the linked work has not […]

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