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The CJEU’s Communication to the Public: better check before placing a hyperlink?

The dire prospects for the use of hyperlinks and its negative impact on the freedom of expression and the freedom of Information.

The eagerly awaited decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case GS Media BV v Sanoma Media Netherlands BV and Others is not only a disappointment in its copyright reasoning. It misses the opportunity to establish clear and reliable guidelines for finding copyright relevant acts on the internet and instead creates a source of legal uncertainty and inconsistency by establishing an individual assessment of unnamed criteria. The introduction of a knowledge requirement for finding a copyright infringement is foreign to most concepts of copyright law and the different application of this knowledge requirement to different users on the internet will see different results for the same act. The hyperlink as the single most important tool for the operation of the internet and the access to information is put at risk.

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