Articles

Svensson-case: European Court of Justice rules hyperlinking to protected works can be done without consent

Svensson-case: European Court of Justice rules hyperlinking to protected works can be done without consent

Svensson-case: European Court of Justice rules hyperlinking to protected works can be done without consent

15.07.2014

In 2012, the Court of Appeal of Svea (Sweden) submitted to the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) preliminary questions on whether providing hyperlinks constitutes an act of communication to the public under Directive 2001/29/EC (the “Copyright Directive”). This Directive stipulates that authors have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit any communication of their works to the public.

The background facts of this specific case are the following: news articles from the daily newspaper Göteborgs-Posten are published on its own website which is freely accessible. A Swedish company, called Retriever Sverige, provides its clients with hyperlinks to news articles that are published on
other websites, including that of Göteborgs-Posten. The journalists who were authors of those articles saw this hyperlinking as a breach of their copyright.

On 13 February 2014 the ECJ ruled that a clickable hyperlink to an authorized publicly available work does not infringe the “communication to the public” right because there is no communication to another, new public. In other words: while a link is an act of making available and where a work is already freely accessible on the Internet, then that act of making available does not require the consent of copyright holders because that act does not communicate the work to a “new public”. The ECJ indicates that a new public is a public that has not been taken into account by the copyright holders at the time the initial communication was authorized. And there is no such “new public” from the website operated by Retriever Sverige.

The ECJ’s conclusion is that website owners are allowed to redirect Internet users, via hyperlinks, to protected works that are available in a freely accessible basis on another site, without the authorization of the copyright holders. It must be kept in mind that different considerations apply regarding the situation where a hyperlink takes you to a website that is not freely available. Furthermore, the ECJ concluded that the Member States do not have the right to give wider protection to copyright holders by broadening the concept of “communication to the public”.

The case (C-466/12) can be found on http://www.curia.europa.eu

 

Click here to see a printable version of this article

All rights reserved. Care has been taken to ensure that the content of this e-bulletin is as accurate as possible. However the accuracy and completeness of the information in this e-bulletin, largely based upon third party sources, cannot be guaranteed. The materials contained in this e-bulletin have been prepared and provided by Stibbe for information purposes only. They do not constitute legal or other professional advice and readers should not act upon the information contained in this e-bulletin without consulting legal counsel. Consultation of this e-bulletin will not create an attorney-client relationship between Stibbe and the reader. The e-bulletin may be used only for personal use and all other uses are prohibited.

Team

Related news

08.11.2019 BE law
Interview with Wouter Ghijsels on Next Gen lawyers

Articles - Stibbe’s managing partner Wouter Ghijsels shares his insights on the next generation of lawyers and the future of the legal profession at the occasion of the Leaders Meeting Paris where Belgian business leaders, politicians and inspiring people from the cultural and academic world will discuss this year's central theme "The Next Gen".

Read more

13.11.2019 NL law
Een strategisch actieplan voor het gebruik van AI door de overheid

Short Reads - Een paar jaren geleden hoorde je er nog nauwelijks over, maar nu kan je er bijna niet meer om heen: kunstmatige intelligentie, ook wel artificiële intelligentie (AI) genoemd.  AI verwijst naar systemen die intelligent gedrag vertonen door hun omgeving te analyseren en – met een zekere mate van zelfstandigheid – actie ondernemen om specifieke doelen te bereiken. Denk aan zelfrijdende auto's of slimme thermostaten. 

Read more

08.11.2019 EU law
Erik Valgaeren is session chair during IBA's 6th Biennial Technology Law Conference in Berlin

Speaking slot - Stibbe's TMT partner, Erik Valgaeren, chairs a session discussing the new legal challenges, created by the most recent technological developments in the field of software, data, online services and telecom, including 5G, pricing algorithms, platforms and data monetization. This session will take place on the 8th of November 2019 in Berlin.

Read more

24.10.2019 BE law
Virtual Currency Regulation Law Review - Belgian chapter

Articles - The second edition of the Virtual Currency Regulation Law Review is intended to provide a practical, business-focused analysis of recent legal and regulatory changes and developments, and of their effects, and to look forward at expected trends in the area of virtual currencies on a country-by-country basis.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring