France: Linking can be damaging to your pockets

By EDRi · April 9, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A recent decision by the Paris Tribunal has condemned 3 different French
websites for linking to another website containing gossip information on the
French actor Olivier Martinez.

The actor has decided to sue 3 websites (, and for linking to external websites that presented the
respective information. is a Digg-like website, where the website users can vote which news
comes on first. However, the court decided that the owner of the website has
an editorial responsibility, even if it’s a digg-like service, and forced
him to pay 1000 euros as damages for infringing the actor’s privacy and 1500
euros as legal fees. just posted the title and a link to a Yahoo-based news on
the same topic, but the judge decided they needed to pay 500 euros as well,
for the same infringement. Also a local blogger who writes at was sentenced to pay the same amount for putting a
link to a similar news item.

Eric Dupin, owner of and a famous French blogger has contested the
decision, emphasizing the fact that the court doesn’t understand the
websites from web 2.0. Dupin does not try to deny any responsibility of the
sites in relation to the information, but questions the procedure used in
this case: “The problem here is the method: we have never been asked to
withdraw the respective link, which I would have done. We have been sent
directly to justice”.

Laurent Galichet, the young owner of the local news website
that won 3.8 euros from his website in 2008, expressed his stupefaction:
“That means you can be attacked for hosting a link on your website… It’s
like attacking the newspapers stands, because one the newspapers they show
has a court battle.”

It seems that there are also other 17 websites that are attacked by the
French artists’ lawyers for similar considerations, even though the news
has been replicated by more online sources, some of them out of France.

A wave of condemnations shakes the French Web 2.0 (only in French,

Case Olivier Martinez vs. Fuzz : Fuzz condemned (only in French,

Parts of the Court decision (only in French, 28.03.2008)

The French web passes through black hours…(only in French, 28.03.2008)