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European Court Says Linking to Illegal Content is Copyright Infringement

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled in favor of copyright owners and against hyperlinks. The CJEU decision, though qualified, raises the strong possibility that publishers linking to infringing third party sites will also be liable for infringement.

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Critics charge the CJEU decision amounts to judicial lawmaking and is an attack on the free flow of information online, contrary to the way the internet has operated to date. It also places a burden of investigation on the linking publisher to determine whether the linked content is authorized or infringing. In some cases that may be easy to determine but in many others it won’t be.

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