What Happens If Hyperlinks Get Copyright Protection In Europe?

Another storm appears to be brewing in Europe that will impact the ability of many U.S. businesses to freely operate there. According to a leaked draft European Commission Communication, “the Commission will examine whether action is needed on the definition of the rights of ‘communication to the public’ and of ‘making available’,”–direct references to EU case law governing hyperlinks. According to European Parliament member Julia Reda, this means that “ the European Commission is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink , the basic building block of the Internet as we know it.”

What is being discussed, essentially, is ancillary copyright. Ancillary copyright includes the right of copyright owners to charge a fee for hyperlinking to and excerpting from their works. From a practical standpoint, this law would affect any news aggregator linking to and excerpting works from European content sources, not just EU based aggregators.

Frontal attack on the hyperlink

Reda bases her warnings on a draft Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament on copyright reform, allegedly leaked to IPKat and released by that outlet last week. Reda asserts based on her reading of this Communication that “the Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection.” She asserts that if this happens, “ each web link would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable.”

Read the Full Article: Source – Forbes
Browsing Privacy: (Forbes) – What Happens If Hyperlinks Get Copyright Protection In Europe?

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