Hyperlinks – EU Court examines role in unlicensed use of music

Today we’d like to share with you an article that has been prepared by the lawyers of our Dutch member BUMA on a very important case pending at the EU Court, formally known as the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The article analyses the questions that were posed to the Court in the preliminary ruling of case of Svensson/Retriever Sverige AB, which is specifically concerned withhow hyperlinking can play an important role in the unlicensed use of musical works. The analysis is supported by GESAC’s members.

The article’s primary aim is to provide insights on different types of links and business models that are most relevant to the music industry; it does not cover all possible forms of hyperlinking and all the different business models that have been created which use this technique.

The practice of (normal) hyperlinking forms an essential part of the way internet functions.  Yet not every type of link has the same aim or effect, and the situations in which links are used often also differ considerably; it’s clear that the practice of hyperlinking encompasses more than mere referencing. In light of this, there are probably very few people who would wish the Court to state that hyperlinking is always a communication to the public as this would have undesirable consequences.

The article indicates that it will not be easy for the Court to provide answers that will easily fit the different appearances of linking and all the different types of business models that are out there. Therefore, it invites the Court to apply a great deal of caution when answering the questions and keep in mind the far reaching effects that its judgment could have.

You can read the full article here.