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Hyperlinking is legal

Written by Michael Coyle on 08 March 2014

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This case has finally answered some of the questions concerning copyright law and the Internet.

Questions considered:-

1. If anyone other than the holder of the copyright in a certain work supplies a clickable link to the work on his website. Doe this constitute communication to the public within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC?

2. Is the decision of this affected in anyway if access is restricted in any way?

3. Is the decision affected if after clicking the link you are sent to the page with the copyrighted material but gives the impression you are still on the original page?

The Court ruled that the provision of clickable links to protected works does not constitute an act of communication for the purposes of the directive. The decision goes on to say that the communication must be directed at a 'new public' that has not taken in to account the copyright holders at the time the initial communication was authorised.

This position will be different however if the hyperlink allows the user to circumvent restrictions put in place to protect the copyrighted works, the user would not have been taken in to account as potential public by the copyright holders when they authorised the initial communication.

The decision can be found here

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