15 November 2010

German Court: Links Can Infringe on Copyright

Here's one of those tedious court decisions that show the judges don't really get this new-fangled Internet thing:

Pünktlich zum einem der vielen 20. Geburtstage des Word Wide Webs wurde jetzt ein Urteil des Bundesgerichtshof veröffentlicht, in dem festgestellt wird dass ein Link eine Urheberrechtsverletzung sein kann (Urteil, .pdf). In behandelten Rechtsstreit hatte der Kläger eine Website mit Stadtplänen betrieben, die so gestaltet war, dass man immer nur über ein Suchformular auf der Startseite zur gewünschten Unterseite kommen sollte.

[Google Translate: Just in time for one of the many 20th Birthdays of the World Wide Web has now published the Federal Court judge, found that a link is in the copyright infringement can be a ( ruling. pdf ). Treated in dispute, the applicant had operated a Web site with maps, which was designed so that one should only come via a search form on the home page to the desired base.]

I mean, come on: this isn't about copyright - the content is freely available; it's about how you get to that copyright material.

Thus the real issue here seems to be that a site owner is worried about losing advertising revenue if people can skip over the home page. But the solution is simple: just put ads on the inner pages of the site, too. That way, you get the best of both worlds: directly-addressable content that also generates revenue. Is that so hard?

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