Case: Sanoma Media & PlayBoy Enterprises International vs Geenstijl.nl
Most popular Dutch blog Geenstijl.nl posted links to pirated PlayBoy pictures of Dutch celeb Britt Dekker, which were not yet officially released by PlayBoy Magazine. The Dutch judge argued that “making public” copyrighted pictures without proper permission is an unlawful act both in relation to the rights owner and the person portrayed in these pictures.
This is a historic verdict as no judge has ever been willing to argue that the use of hyperlinks equals ‘making public’ as defined by Dutch law. This jurisprudence may unleash a fresh anti-piracy campaign as previously judges would differentiate between people actually hosting, storing and caching files – who would have a duty of care to remove that content when asked by rights owners – versus those ‘merely’ linking to those files.
Various legal sanctions may now apply to internet users who are linking to copyrighted content without permission of the owner of that content. Among them can be large fines and substantial prison sentences.
Geenstijl argues that this jurisprudence may also have significant consequences for the likes of Google and other services which crawl and monetize links (by third parties) to unauthorized copies of copyrighted content.
Dutch language jurisprudence:
Dutch language article at Geenstijl.nl:
More Details Emerge About Historic Verdict In The Netherlands: “Placing a hyperlink on a website is not a publication, unless three criteria are met: there must be an intervention, a new audience and profit”
Dutch Blog Geenstijl.nl To Appeal Historic “Hyperlink Equals Publication Therefore HyperLink To Pirated Material Equals Unlawful Publication” Verdict Using “But Google Does It Too” Argument