Helpful table clarifies web linking after Bild-Kunst

18-03-2021

Alex Baldwin

Helpful table clarifies web linking after Bild-Kunst

Martyn Jandula / Shutterstock.com

Last week’s ruling by the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) on web linking added yet more caselaw to the complex EU copyright rules around linking on the internet.

The judgment, which found that copyright owners could restrict online linking by imposing contractual obligations on licenses, was delivered on March 9 in a long-running case between VG Bild-Kunst and virtual library Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Following the decision, IPKat blogger and online copyright expert Eleonora Rosati has published an updated version of a table she created to summarise the laws.

Rosati said the table (pictured below) is “obviously a simplified summary” of CJEU decisions on linking, but hoped it would “serve to give an introductory and easily understandable picture” of EU copyright laws on the issue.

vg-bild-kunst-figure.jpg

The lawyer, who is of counsel at Bird & Bird and holds various teaching positions at universities in Sweden, France and the UK, said the table was part of study materials she created for her IP law students.

It originally summarised the treatment of linking after the seminal CJEU decision in GS Media, explained Rosati.

“I have now updated that table to include the findings in VG Bild-Kunst. To this end, I have added a column on contractual restrictions on linking,” she added. 

The chart can also be downloaded directly from here.

Background

The CJEU’s decision saw the court rule in favour of visual art society VG Bild-Kunst, holding that a copyright owner can restrict linking by imposing a contractual obligation on a licensee to implement technological measures to protect works against infringement.

This has set a new precedent for online copyright litigation and will likely influence how copyrighted content is hosted or linked on the internet going forward.

It is set to be a “landmark” ruling for copyright owners going forward, IP lawyers told WIPR.

Viktoria Kraetzig, IP attorney at Nordemann, which represented VG Bild- Kunst, said:  “Framing not only infringes authors' exploitation rights but can also seriously interfere with their moral rights.

“Rights owners now finally have the opportunity to take legal action against the framing of their works, provided they have taken technical protective measures against it.”

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