Highest EU Court Considers Criminalizing Website Hyperlinks

Social media, online journalism, blogs, web searches, comment sections could all be affected by ruling

Highest EU Court Considers Criminalizing Website Hyperlinks

Image Credits: flickr, ben_grey

Adan Salazar | Infowars.com


The highest court in the European Union this week heard arguments which could impact the ability to link to content on the Internet.

Presiding over a case threatening the nature of the web as we know it, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on Wednesday debated whether website hyperlinks to content which infringes copyright laws should be permitted.

The court heard arguments regarding the GS Media case, in which a popular Dutch blog site posted links to leaked photos on a separate file hosting site.

Arguing the central role hyperlinks play in the digital environment, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) wrote that linking to content freely available online should be legal and was already ruled on by the court in earlier cases.

“If this capacity to link is put in doubt, the web would lose its universality and power,” the CCIA wrote. “The most important information medium of our time would be hobbled.”

The EU’s assault on hyperlinks was not without warning.

Last November, European Parliament member Julia Reda said the “European Commission is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink, the basic building block of the Internet as we know it,” and warned the commission’s decision to “break the Internet” could also affect American websites linking to European content.

“From a practical standpoint, this law would affect any news aggregator linking to and excerpting works from European content sources, not just EU based aggregators,” Reda wrote late last year.

“Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable,” said Reda.

According to the Disruptive Competition Project, the outcome of the GS Media case could affect “every web user” and place absurd burdens on content publishers.

“If the CJEU rules that every web user, in Europe and beyond, is expected to verify the copyright status of every item on a page before linking to that page, it could effectively destroy the web as we know it today,” write Matt Schruers And Jakob Kucharczyk for Project-Disco.org.

“Would you have to repeatedly check back on the sites you link to, in case the content on the site you linked to has changed? Would you need to confirm that their licenses are all paid in full? Would you also have to verify the copyright status of links on the pages that you’re linking to?”

“If any of this were the case,” Schruers and Kucharczyk write, “social media, search, blogs, comment sections, online journalism could be faced with unmanageable legal liability.”

Meanwhile in the US, Internet pioneer and popular news aggregator Matt Drudge exclusively told Infowars last October that copyright laws which prevent websites from linking to news stories were being debated.

“I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,” said Drudge. “They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.”

“To have a Supreme Court Justice say to me it’s over, they’ve got the votes, which means time is limited,” he said.

“That will end (it) for me – fine – I’ve had a hell of a run,” said Drudge.

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16 comments on “Highest EU Court Considers Criminalizing Website Hyperlinks
  1. […] Source: Highest EU Court Considers Criminalizing Website Hyperlinks […]

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  2. It’s scaremongering to suggest they’re about to ban hyper-linking although it’s an interesting thought contemplating how they might actually go about it. (It would put Google out of business if they did or would Google be considered big enough to be exempt?) My understanding is they’re simply asking the question. Of course the powers that be would love to restrict the general public from gaining access to information that makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s just like the battle over access to the Bible by means of the printing press during the reformation was opposed by the powers that be. Interesting times . . .

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    • Sorry Matthew, but posting an important news story that could potentially affect a majority of Internet users is not ‘scaremongering’.

      I like your comparison on the control of information now and access to the Bible during the reformation.

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      • I think it’s great that you’re drawing attention to this issue but to be realistic even though it has the potential to affect a majority of Internet users, it is very unlikely to affect them. The consequences of such a ban would be to practically shut down the World Wide Web and the hyperlink mechanism it’s based on. Unless I’ve got it wrong and this really is a possibility . . .

        I sometime feel it’s a bit like discussions by the authorities to ban cash. This has been talked about for years but if they really did attempt to do it surely it would create a revolution. Unless I’m completely out of touch . . .

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        • Sadly, this is a very distinct possibility that has been discussed more than once over the past several months. And if a Supreme Court justice tells Matt Drudge it’s only a matter of time, I would tend to believe it. If this does happen, it will DEFINITELY affect a majority of users. There is no doubt about that.

          Also, the move to ban cash is still underway. Notice all the different ‘cashless’ ways you can pay these days?? Many places you can’t even pay with cash anymore.

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  3. Reblogged this on sliceofheaveninsweden and commented:
    EU CONSIDERS CRIMINALIZING WEBSITES HYPERLINKS

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  4. […] Highest EU Court Considers Criminalizing Website Hyperlinks […]

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  5. HELP, ’cause I don’t really understand this.
    If you don’t hyper-link, what exactly is the problem?
    Will you be unable to view sites, write your own stuff, create your own pictures, and let others reblog your “stuff”?

    Like

    • How can we not hyperlink? Below are a few examples of who would be affected:

      Blogs/websites, including this one, that link to content originally posted on other sites.
      Articles, like this one, that contain hyperlinks to prove points, verify statements etc.
      Search engines that use hyperlinks to send us to search requests.
      Links left in comment sections by website visitors.
      Links used on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter etc.
      Links used as headlines on news aggregator sites like Drudge Report etc.

      Webmasters, bloggers, search engines, Facebook and Twitter users etc. would all be required to verify the copyright status of every item on a page before linking to that page. I believe this is an attempt to control the flow of information and would effectively destroy the web as we know it today.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 0jr says:

    They would have to repeal the fair use act for copyrighted material in America.As far as the eu goes most if not all thier material is checked for koshernish and pro zionist misinfo making not credible and or worth quoting or linking to as is the case of islam being peacefull and the high crime rate of refugees

    Liked by 1 person

  7. futuret says:

    THIS ARTICLE ON THIS POST, SHOULD BE MADE VIRAL IN EVERY CRACK, AND EVERY CORNER; AS THIS DOES HAVE OVERWHELMING IMPLICATIONS WORLDWIDE.

    Like

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