Follow-up: jurisprudence hyperlinks

By EDRi · August 24, 2005

In response to the article about the Norwegian Supreme Court decision on
hyperlinks in the previous EDRI-gram, subscriber Matthias Spielkamp from
Germany pointed to an article he wrote about recent jurisprudence in
Germany. Contrasting the Norwegian decision that a hyperlink can not be
considered unlawful in a copyright context, irrespective of the legal or
illegal nature of the content offered, the appeal court of Munich decided
to uphold a ruling that the e-zine Heise had to remove a link to the
website At the site software was offered to make copies of
copy-protected CDs and DVDs.

Spielkamp writes: By providing a link to the company’s homepage, the court
said, Heise intentionally provided “assistance in the fulfilment of
unlawful acts” and is therefore liable as “an aider and abettor”. The case
is based on article 95a of the German authors rights code, resembling the
infamous section 1201 of the US DMCA, prohibiting the circumvention of
copy protection measures.

Spielkamp continues: Christian Persson, Heise Online’s editor in chief,
said “it has to be taken for granted that in online reporting it is legal
to provide a link to a company’s web site”. The High Court had ruled in
2004 that links are a “fundamental component of online journalism”. They
could only be seen as breach of law in case journalists “ignore blatant
evidence that they are unlawful”.

German appeals court outlaws links to websites offering circumvention
technology (09.08.2005)

German High Court ruling (01.04.2004)