According to the regional court
Munich I (AZ. 7 O
18165/03), the operator of a link catalog, to which unknown third parties
can add links, is not obliged to check for possible illegal content on the
linked to sites. Otherwise the entire business model of such a link catalog
would be in question.
Defendants website contained a
list of links which lead to websites with erotic content. Everyone could add
links without prior examination of the defendant. In spring 2002 an unknown
person added a link, which led to a homepage, on which among other things
ten naked photos of a former Playboy Covergirl could be seen. The playmate
had only given the right of reproduction to the Playboy but not to the
operator of the linked to site. She required the deletion of the link and
payment of damages. The playmate justified her complaint with the fact that
the defendant did not check new links.
Defendant deleted the link, after
he was informed that the operator of the linked to website did not possess
the copyright for the photos published there. The court found that the
defendant did not make himself liable to pay damages, because he was not
obligated to check every new link for possible violations of law. However
there is the obligation for the operator to remove a link after he gains
2004: Anbieter von Link-Katalogen haften nicht für fremde Links zu
illegalen Aktfotos, Heise,
"Das Bereithalten eines Katalogs im Internet, in denen Dritte ungeprüft
Hyperlinks zu externen pornografischen Websites eintragen können,
begründet für den Betreiber keine Pflicht zum Schadensersatz, wenn die
fremden Verknüpfungen auf Seiten mit kopierten Nacktbildern führen."
AllofMp3, a Russian website, where you can get loads of
music for about $0.50 for a whole album, has long been
an annoyance for the record industry. Due to a loophole in the Russian
copyright legislation they did not succeed in shutting down the service. The
website came under criminal investigation in Russia for copyright violations,
but in March 2005, it emerged that allofmp3.com wasn't breaking any current
Russian laws. That did not stop the music industry from suing AllofMp3 in other
countries. In Germany, a District Court in Munich has prohibited allofmp3 from
making copyrighted data publicly available within Germany by way of a temporary
injunction . As a result of this ruling the Munich law firm, Waldorf, on behalf
of some record companies (Edel, EMI, Sony BMG, SPV,
Universal and Warner) started sending warning letters to the operators of
German websites which link to AllofMP3. The notice says: "By establishing a
hyperlink to the Internet page in question you are enabling the acquisition of
copyright protected sound recordings of our clients via the illegal download
offer. By illegally providing public access you are thereby objectively
supporting the illegal dissemination of copyright protected sound recordings
[...] or even aiding and abetting such activity." The fine for non-removal of a
link to AllofMP3 by private persons is €75,000.
July 11, 2005:
Warning notices on account of links to AllofMP3, Heise:
"The music industry has begun to carry out its threat and is sending warning
notices to website operators who have set links to the Russian music
download platform AllofMP3."
The music industry is
celebrating a victory. In Australia the operator of MP3s4free.net, which
provided links to pirated material has been found guilty of copyright
infringement by Australia’s Federal Court (Universal Music Australia v Cooper,
the ComCen case). The lawsuit was brought by a number of music companies
including Universal, Sony and EMI.
Defendant's website contained
hyperlinks to thousands of unauthorized sound recordings which were located on
remote websites and were downloaded directly from those websites to the computer
of the internet user. The court held that defendant had “permitted or approved”
and thereby authorized the copyright infringement by internet users who accessed
his website. According to reports on the case, the ruling means that linking to
websites with pirated material, and not just downloading it, is an infringement
of copyright in Australia. In my opinion one can't conclude from the judgement
that merely linking to copyrighted material on the web infringes copyright.
Defendant lost his case because the Court held against the him that he
facilitated and encouraged other people to infringe.
July 26, 2005:
liable for MP3 links, Outlaw.com:
"It is thought to be the first time that an ISP has been found liable for
copyright infringement by allowing its infrastructure to be used for linking
to music files."
Baidu, a Chinese search
engine, filed documents for a Nasdaq listing with the US Securities and
Exchange Commission in July 2005. According to the prospectus, Baidu
hopes to raise a maximum of 80 million US dollars. Baidu also stated
that its MP3 download service links to third-party Web sites that offer
content that may be copyright protected. Although
according to Baidu, 22 percent of the traffic on its website comes from
users, who long a source for free music downloads, Baidu agreed
to remove thousands of links to pirated music
in response to requests from R2G, a Chinese digital rights management
company which tracks piracy and manages licences for music
publishers. Baidu claims, the search engine has
investigated possible violations involving more than 50.000 files.
July 18, 2005:
China's Baidu to remove pirated music links -FT,
"Baidu.com Inc., China's biggest Internet search engine and which is
pursuing a U.S. public listing, has agreed to remove links to
thousands of Internet sites offering pirated music, the Financial
Times reported on Tuesday."
September 2005 Update:
As of September 2005, Baidu.com
is the fifth most visited site on the Internet and dominates the search engine
market in China. Baidu accounts for 37% of the Chinese search market, followed
by Google with 23% and Yahoo! Inc on 21%. Perhaps the most popular feature about
Baidu that Google does not support is the MP3 search. This is very similar with
the image search of Google, however, it searches for MP3/WMA/SWF files instead
of image files. The MP3 search is mainly used for Chinese Pop Music. Many
results lead to illegal copies of songs. This is the reason why Sony BMG Music
Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp, EMI Group Plc and Universal Music Group
are suing Baidu.com Inc in the Beijing Intermediate Court for allowing free
downloads of their music.
As internet usage soared in Asia
in recent years, the music industry's revenue has fallen dramatically, largely
due to MP3 downloads from unauthorised sources.
September 16, 2005:
Five Music Companies Sue Baidu, Search Engine Watch
"Baidu sued over music downloads from the Hong, from the Hong Kong Standard,
reports that several large music companies are suing Chinese search engine
Baidu for allegedly making hundreds of songs easily accessible via their MP3
27, 2004, the anti-Moore Web site MooreWatch.com
posted a link to an illegal version of the film "Fahrenheit 9/11"
available elsewhere on a file-sharing network, noting that Moore himself has
publicly backed downloading the movie online. Moore is qouted: “I don’t
agree with the copyright laws, and I don’t have a problem with people
downloading the movie and sharing it with people. As long as they’re not doing
it to make a profit, you know, as long as they’re not trying to make a profit
off my labor. I would oppose that.”
5, 2004: Roth, Wolf-Dieter, Michael Moore:
ist erlaubt, solange niemand daran verdient", Telepolis: "
Die Gegner von Michael Moore hofften schon auf einen spektakulären Prozess,
doch der Dicke hält Wort: Solange es kostenlos geschieht, gilt für ihn:
P2P und Brenner frei!"
um Michael-Moore-Film im Internet, Heise: "Moorewatch.com-Betreiber
Jim Kenefick sieht sich im Recht und hat auf seiner Website ein Tondokument
verlinkt, laut dem Moore gesagt haben soll, er habe keine Probleme damit,
wenn Web-Surfer den Film über P2P-Tauschbörsen verbreiten."
9/11» kursiert im Netz, Netzzeitung: "
Wie nicht anders zu erwarten, ist eine erste Kopie des neuen
Michael-Moore-Films in Online-Tauschbörsen aufgetaucht. Eine
Anti-Moore-Website hat den Link darauf verbreitet."
In 2001 the website “napster.no”
featured hypertext links to illegal mp3-files that were published on other
Internet pages. From the front page the users could access another page called
“Add an mp3-file” and write in the name of the artist, the title of the song and
the address (URL) of where the files could be found. After legal threats by the
IFPI, the operator (Bruvik) shut down his pages as he had been informed that the
pages could be violating Norwegian copyright law. So on November 20th
2001 he deleted all links to illegal mp3-files. TONO (Norway's Performing Rights
Society) and NCB (Nordic Copyright Bureau), on behalf of the copyright owners
and the record companies EMI Norsk AS, BMG Norway AS, Sony Music Entertainment
Norway AS and Universal Music AS, on behalf of the artists and the producers,
thereafter initiated legal actions by filing a complaint within the court of
conciliation. The claim set forth was for NOK 500,000 as compensation for breach
of the Norwegian Copyright Act (1961), Section 55.
The district court of Sør-Gudbrandsdal delivered a judgement
on January 22nd, 2003 which stated: "Napster Frank Allan Bruvik represented by
Frank Allan Bruvik is hereby sentenced to
pay the plaintiffs a lump sum of
damages set to NOK 100,000 – one hundred thousand Norwegian Crowners – with the
additional interest rate of 12% per year until payment is done, cf. the Interest
Rate Act (1978), Section 3, subsection two."
The Court of Appeal came to a different
conclusion than the district court, which reads as follows: "[T]he
actions committed by Bruvik were not an action relevant to copyright as such. He
himself did not use the files, and he did not store or copy the files. His
actions [deeplinking] consisted merely
of reference to sites where the works already were made accessible. References
of this kind cannot be regarded, in the opinion of the Court, as a public
performance. The actions of Bruviks must be compared to those of a bulletin
board containing addresses to uploaded music works. The linking itself did not
involve a performance."
The case is before the Norwegian Supreme Court in January
January 2005 Update: Norway's supreme court ruled
that a student whose Napster.no homepage was linked to free Internet
music files must compensate the music industry. The around 170 links
to mp3s will cost its creator $15,900. In a summary of its ruling, the supreme court
said the music was clearly published in violation of copyright law. The lawyer representing
the defendant commented on the decision as follows:
deeplinking to illegal uploaded mp3-files on the Internet caused (note:
with reference from the Norwegian Supreme Court to the German Supreme
Court in the Paperboy-verdict from 2003) no separate infringement of the
wners right to communicate the work to the public. However,
the disputed deeplinking was considered as assistance to (illegal)
communication to the public. Therefore, the defendant was sentenced to
pay NOK 100.000 in compensation to the plaintiffs. But, the defendant
was not ordered to pay costs. Consensus: From now on, current law here
in Scandinavia is as follows: Regardig to copyright law, deeplinking to
legal internet files is legitimate. Interpretation of consent is not
necessary. But, deeplinking to evidently illegal internet files can be
considered as assistance to breach of copyright law. Simultaneously,
deeplinking to illegate internet files can be considered as unfair
competition regarding to the general clauses in the Scandinavian
November 9, 2004,
Unterhaltungsriesen setzen auf "Shock and Awe", intern.de:
"Die Münchner Anwaltskanzlei Waldorf hat in der Vergangenheit schon mehrfach
durch Abmahnwellen im Auftrag der Musikindustrie für Aufsehen gesorgt. Erst
waren es alte Computer-Magazine bei eBay, die als Grund für die Abmahnungen
herhalten mussten. Inzwischen geben schon Links aus alten Foren-Beiträgen
den Anlass für Abmahnungen, die mit Kostennoten über mehrere tausend Euro
October 29, 2004,
Abmahnung: Links in Foren mit
"Agon S. Buchholz, Betreiber des Kefk Network, erhielt am 7. Oktober 2004
eine Abmahnung der Münchner Kanzlei Waldorf im Auftrag einiger
Plattenfirmen. Buchholz wird vorgeworfen, dass er es zugelassen habe, dass
Nutzer auf seiner Website die Startseiten externer Websites verlinken, über
die wiederum der Download illegaler Programme möglich sein soll."
In 2003, the
German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe issued
a verdict holding that an online service which offers links to articles in a
protected database is not in violation of copyright and competition law, thus
ending the discussion about the legality of deep links in Germany. This
week the court published its April 1, 2004 decision ( I ZR 317/01) on links from
websites to gambling sites. And once again the court stressed the importance of
hyperlinks and came to a very "hyperlink friendly decision".
contained an article about the success of an operator of gambling sites - a
former model - and included a link to an Austrian gambling site, which
lacks a German gambling permit and is considered illegal under German law
because it also caters to German customers.
According to the
highest German civil court the link only served informational purposes and was
not set to promote the gambling site. The court denied civil liability under
unfair competition laws. Most important the court provided long awaited clarity
as to the required standard of care for website operators: As long as it is not
obvious that the linked-to-site is involved in illegal activities, website
operators are protected by the freedom of press and opinion and may not be held
liable for providing hyperlinks. Even when the operator is in doubt about of the
legality of the linked contend he does not violate the duty of care.
So as long as as it is
not obvious that you are linking to illegal information you will probably not be
held liable in Germany. Although the decision centers around a news
article and the freedom of press it is reasonable to think the same standard
will be applied by the courts to all website operators.
June 8, 2004: BGH
schränkt Haftung von Presseorganen für Hyperlinks ein, Heise:
"Ein Presseorgan haftet nicht für Hyperlinks
auf rechtswidrige Angebote, die als Ergänzung eines redaktionellen Artikels
ohne Wettbewerbsabsicht gesetzt werden -- sofern der Inhalt der verlinkten Seite
nicht eindeutig als strafbar zu erkennen ist."
June 8, 2004: Deutschland
lockert Linkhaftung, futureZone:
deutsche Bundesgerichtshof [BGH] hat die Anforderungen für Online-Medien zur Prüfung
von Links heruntergeschraubt, auf die ihre Websites verweisen."
June 9, 2004: Link-Haftung
"Tagesschau.de berichtete gestern über ein
bereits am 1. April verkündetes Urteil, bei dem es um Fragen der Link-Haftung
Illinoi X LLC alleged that Hightech Electronics Inc. operated a website that
included hyperlinks to over 30 other sites that sold cable piracy devices. The
District Court for the Northern District of Illinoi found that the hyperlinks
are violating the DMCA. The court reached this conclusion after noting that
other courts have imposed DMCA liability for linking (e.g. Universal City
Studios v. Reimerdes, Universal Studios v. Reimerdes).
Election Systems sells electronic voting systems used in states including
California, Georgia, Ohio and Texas. Diebold demands that webmasters
remove internal documents, that include conversations that
cast doubt on the company's ability to sell secure software and criticize the
company's software, security, certification and sales practices, or stop
hyperlinking to the documents.
cease and desist letters earned Diebold a lawsuit by an ISP (The Online Policy
Group) with a client (Indymedia) who linked to the documents and by two
Swarthmore students whose school--acting as their ISP--had removed copies under
takedown threat. They pledged to seek a court order spelling out that publishing
or linking to the Diebold e-mails doesn't amount to copyright infringement. EFF
is representing the Online Policy Group.
ISP with knowledge that hyperlinks on its site direct users to potentially
infringing material is not immunized from liability," Diebold's filing said.
"It is now well established that hyperlinks directing users to websites
containing infringing material themselves infringe the underlying copyright."
But Diebold soon backed off and told a judge it won't sue websites that post
information about possible flaws in its touch-screen machines. Lawyers who
represent the Online Policy Group indicated that they had not finished pressing
their case against Diebold, that they wanted more: They are seeking a court
order that says publishing or linking to the Diebold files on the Web does not
violate copyright law, and that ISPs should not face penalties for hosting Web
sites that do.
hearing is scheduled Feb. 9.
congressional representative Dennis Kucinich, who is seeking the Democratic
Party's presidential nomination, also provides links to the Diebold e-mail
correspondence from his House of Representatives Website.
2, 2003: Zetter Kim,
Backs Off Legal Challenge, Wired: "Diebold Election Systems is withdrawing legal threats against voting
activists and Internet service providers for publishing copies of internal
staff e-mails that the company says were stolen from its servers."
1, 2003: Festa, Paul,
retreats; lawmaker demands inquiry, CNet: "Diebold is facing threats on two fronts as free-speech advocates
pursue monetary damages against it and a presidential candidate urges a
congressional inquiry into the company."
21, 2003: Röttgers, Janko,
vierter Ordnung, Telepolis: "Der Wahlcomputer-Hersteller Diebold versucht weiter, mit allen Mitteln
gegen Kritiker vorzugehen. Doch zu den nächsten Abmahn-Fällen könnte auch
ein demokratischer Präsidentschaftskandidat gehören. Mittlerweile fordern
Politiker aller Parteien eine Nachbesserung der Technologie."
17, 2003: McCullagh, Declan,
fight e-vote firm's DMCA claims, CNet: "A federal judge in San Jose, Calif., heard arguments in a lawsuit
brought by student activists seeking to disseminate internal documents from
Diebold Election Systems, an Ohio company that sells e-voting
und Studenten klagen gegen Wahlmaschinenhersteller, Heise: "Die Internet-Bürgerrechtsorganisation
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) und Vertreter des Center for Internet
and Society der Stanford Law School wollen juristische Drohungen des
Wahlmaschinen-Hersteller Diebold Election Systems wegen Veröffentlichung
interner Diebold-Dokumente im Internet per einstweiliger Verfügung stoppen."
4, 2003: Festa, Paul,
voting machine called into question, CNet: "As voters in California go to the polls, the state is launching an
investigation into alleged illegal tampering with electronic voting machines
in a San Francisco Bay Area county."
3, 2003: McCullagh, Declan,
buck DMCA threat, CNet: "When Diebold Election Systems learned that its internal e-mail
correspondence had popped up on the Web, it used a common legal tactic:
sending cease-and-desist letters to Webmasters."
Mark Pollard, who runs the Kung
Fu Cinema website, has received a letter demanding that he cease online
sales of a Chinese film for which Miramax owns distribution rights. Pallard's
web site only links to various other sites where copies of this film can be
purchased. The Hero (a 2002 film starring Jet Li) review
page on Pollard's site linked to HKFlix.com, a U.S. company that sold Hero
and other films. Although Pollard doesn't actually sell any films on his
website and HKLIX.com also stopped selling the movie some time ago,
Pollard deleted the link after receiving the legal notice.
judge in Madrid has ordered the site DonkeyMania.com to be shut down by Tuesday,
the 5th of August 2003. The site did not contain any downloadable files itself,
only links to peer-to-peer file sharing networks. The links allowed users
to download copyright protected files.
The creators of the
page defended themselves, arguing that they did not distribute audio-visial
works, but simply organized information. It were the users that feed the online
forum with commentaries and links. They further said that they were not
contacted prior to the procedure. Nobody told them that some of the connected
pages or files were illicit. Spanish news source Kriptópolis spoke of an attack
against the freedom of expression in Spain. Javier Maestre, the lawyer for the
defense, said:"...It's the first time in Spain that the closing of a web
page has been ordered based on the links it contains. It's surprising that
they've declared the complete closure of a site for this motive, when the files
and linked pages have not been declared illegal."
August 5, 2003: Rötzer,
Forumswebsite geschlossen, Telepolis:
"Wegen eines Links auf eine Download-Möglichkeit für eine
urheberrechtlich geschützte Datei im Beitrag eines Forumsteilnehmers
ordnete eine spanische Richterin die Schließung von Donkeymania an."
"Primera página web dedicada al P2P (Peer-to-peer, o intercambio de
archivos) que se cierra en España, consumándose la amenaza de una demanda
colectiva contra miles de usuarios, que pendía desde mediados de julio y
adelantándose al plazo previsto de septiembre."
Spain has a law that regulates the legal responsibilty for hyperlinks: Art.
17 LSSICE (Spain)
The Swiss Judical
Inquiry Department of Thurgau has taken down the ShareReactor web site due to
copyright infringement. ShareReactor was online for about 30 months and served
as a link platform for filesharing offerings, especially as an anchorpoint for
links to downloads of copyright and trademark protectet games and movies. The
site made the "search" feature of filesharing programs irrelevant by
using hash codes to directly link to a file.
March 18, 2004: Schweizer Polizei stoppt sharereactor.com,
"Das kantonale Untersuchungsrichteramt Thurgau hat nach einer Anzeige
durch die Anti-Piraterie-Vereinigung die populäre Peer-to-peer-Linksite
Sharerector.com vom Netz genommen."
It started in 1999 when Norwegian teen Jon Johansen
created DeCSS to descramble DVDs so that they could be played on PCs running the
Linux operating system. DeCSS, which can break the encryption on almost any DVD,
was posted on several websites shortly after. Despite the DVD CCA and the motion
picture industry's anti-piracy task force sending notices to dozens of Web site
operators demanding the information be removed, the dissemination of the program
could not be stopped effectively.
major motion picture companies filed injunction complaints in New York against
three alleged hackers to prevent them from publishing DeCSS and later to stop
them from linking to hundreds of mirror websites containing DeCSS. Defendant's
attorneys argued that posting of DeCSS was protected under the First Amendment,
which guarantees freedom of speech and the press. Judge Kaplan's August
2000 93-page ruling prevents defendants from not only distributing
copies of DeCSS, but also from linking to Websites where it resides. The decision
was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Defendants announced that
they will not seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the court order, ending the
two-and-a-half year legal battle over DeCSS in New York.
DVD Copy Control Association brought a lawsuit against 72 hackers and Website
and succeeded in seeking a court order in California that prevents the
defendants from continuing to post the DeCSS program. But they failed to enjoy
defendants from linking to it. In November 2001, the Appellate Court ruled in
Defendant's favor, finding that the lower court violated his First Amendment
rights when it forced him to remove DeCSS from his website. The DVD Copy Control
Association has appealed to the California Supreme Court to challenge the
appeals panel ruling.
Norwegian teenager Jon Johansen, the creator of a
computer program that enables unauthorised copying of DVDs, was acquitted of all
charges against him in a Norwegian court.
According to a ruling from the California Supreme
Court in November 2002, Andrew Brunner can not be sued in a California court,
because he resides in Texas: "the mere posting of information on a passive
Internet Web site, which is accessible from anywhere but is directed at no
particular audience, cannot be an action targeted at a particular (state)."
The U.S. Supreme Court has lifted a temporary
stay that barred Brunner from posting DeCSS on the internet, ending the DVD Copy
Control Association's effort to keep the California Supreme Court ruling from
February 2003 Update:
Norwegian prosecutors are
appealing the court ruling that acquitted 19-year-old Jon Lech Johansen of
charges for creating DeCSS.
The California Supreme Court
ruled that Web publisher Bunner could be barred from posting DeCSS, which can be
used to help decrypt and copy DVDs, without infringing on his free speech rights.
The state's high court overturned an earlier decision that said blocking Web
publishers from posting DeCSS would violate their First Amendment rights. The
court ordered the case to be sent back to the appeals court level and
required the Court of Appeal to reexamine the evidence.
Borgating Appelate Court upheld Jon Lech Johansen's
aquittal. For summary and comment see Bing, Jon, CRI 2004, 53-55
February 28, 2004:
für DVD-Industrie im DeCSS-Rechtsstreit, Heise: "Im inzwischen vier Jahre währenden Rechtsstreit um das DVD-Entschlüsselungs-Tool
DeCSS hat ein Berufungsgericht in Kalifornien entschieden, dass die Veröffentlichung
des Codes durch den Programmierer Andrew Brunner durch das Recht auf freie
Meinungsäußerung gedeckt war."
5, 2004: Cullen, Drew,
throws in the towel in DVD Jon case, The Register: "Jon Lech Johansen, creator of the DECSS DVD crack, won't be going back
to court. The Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (Økokrim) today confirmed that
it will not appeal the upholding of his acquittal on copyright charges to
the Norway's Supreme Court."
Jon seals victory, ZDNet: "Norwegian police will not appeal the decision of
an Oslo court to clear a notorious hacker."
für DVD-Hacker bestätigt, Heise: "Ein Berufungsgericht in Oslo hat den Freispruch für den Norweger Jon
Lech Johansen bestätigt, der als "DVD-Hacker" bekannt
fordern Haftstrafe für DVD-Hacker, Heise: "Im Berufungsprozess gegen den als DVD-Hacker bekannt gewordenen
Norweger Jon Lech Johansen hat die Staatsanwaltschaft wie im
Ursprungsverfahren eine Haftstrafe von 90 Tagen sowie ein Bußgeld von
20.000 Norwegische Kronen (2460 Euro) gefordert."
December 2, 2003:
Jon retrial begins today, The Register: "The retrial of DVD Jon Johansen is set to begin in Oslo today."
26, 2003: Kuchinskas, Susan,
Court Rules Against DVD Code Poster, internetnews.com: "California's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the movie industry Monday
in a widely watched DVD trade secrets case."
26, 2003: Dolan, Maura / Healey, Jon,
protects DVD encryption rights, sattletimes.com: "In a case pitting free-speech rights against trade secrets, the
California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that courts can prevent computer
users from posting codes on the Internet that allow others to illegally copy
injunction is lawful, BBC News: "An injunction against the posting of software on the internet that
allows users to download copy-protected DVDs is not a violation of freedom
of speech, a court has ruled."
March 3, 2003:
Jon faces summer retrial, The Register: "Norwegian teenager, Jon Lech Johansen, is to be tried again by an appeal court this summer despite being cleared of cyber piracy crimes earlier this year, his lawyer confirmed last
January 21, 2003:
faces retrial, Aftenposten: "Norway's special division for white-collar crimes, Økokrim, has decided to appeal the acquittal of 19-year-old Jon Lech Johansen, accused of copyright violation for helping bypass DVD code protection, web site Nettavisen
January 21, 2003: Leyden, John,
appeal DVD Jon innocent verdict, The Register: "Norwegian prosecutors are appealing the court ruling that cleared teenager Jon Lech Johansen of criminal charges for creating a utility for playing back DVDs on his own
January 9, 2003: Bowman, Lisa,
piracy case brings activists hope, ZDNet: "The acquittal of a teen who axed copyright protections on a DVD has activists hoping views toward code crackers are
January 3, 2003: McCullagh, Declan,
Supreme Court backs off DVD
case, CNet: "The U.S. Supreme Court has bowed out of a long-running dispute over a DVD descrambling utility, dealing a preliminary defeat to Hollywood studios and electronics
January 3, 2003: McCullagh, Declan,
Court reverses course on DeCSS case, ZDNet: "The U.S. Supreme Court has bowed out of a long-running dispute over a DVD descrambling utility, dealing a preliminary defeat to Hollywood studios and electronics
January 2, 2003:
Hickhack im DeCSS-Prozeß geht weiter, Heise: "Nachdem sich im November das Hacker-Magazin 2600 entschlossen hatte, den Rechtsstreit um das DVD-Hacker-Tool "DeCSS" nicht vor den obersten US-Gerichtshof zu bringen, landet ein kalifornisches Verfahren um DeCSS nun wohl doch dort."
December 12, 2002: Leyden, John,
show trial opens in Oslo, The Register "The trial of a Norwegian teen accused of developing a utility that enables people to illegally copy DVD movies opened in Oslo
December 9, 2002: McCullagh, Declan,
DeCSS hacker faces two years, ZDNet: Jon Johansen, a Norwegian teen, goes on trial Monday for allegedly bypassing DVD anti-copying technology
December 14, 2001: Kaplan, Carl,
Say Decision Could Undermine Online Journalists, New York Times:
"Free speech advocates are worried that a recent federal appeals decision could have a chilling effect on online journalists who use hyperlinks to direct readers to relevant, newsworthy sites that contain illegal material."
November 29, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
Law Foes Lose Big, Wired: "The appeals panel ruled 3-0 to uphold an August 2000 decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that barred 2600 magazine from distributing a DVD-descrambling
2, 2001: Lyman, Jay,
Rules DVD Code Crack Is Free Speech, NewsFactor: "A three-judge appellate court in California has ruled that a published DVD code crack is constitutionally protected free
7, 2001: Hu, Jim,
resident can be sued in DVD case, CNet: "An out-of-state resident who allegedly posted computer code that circumvents DVD encryption measures can be sued under California law, a California appeals court ruled
May 31, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
Constitutional Right to Decode?, Wired: "To the movies studios trying to rid the Net of a DVD-descrambling program, the "DeCSS" utility is akin to terrorware that governments have a responsibility to
May 11, 2001: Harmon, Amy,
Seek Answers on Computer Code as Free Speech, New York Times: "In what may signal a heightened significance for a case testing the constitutionality of a 1998 digital copyright law, a panel of appeals court judges has asked both sides of a case to answer a list of 11 questions on whether computer code can qualify as free
4, 2001: Kaplan, Carl,
Continues in Copyright Suit, New York Times: "The lawyers representing Corley, the target of a suit brought by eight leading Hollywood movie studios in a closely watched digital encryption case, did not have a pleasant time of it on Tuesday morning before a three-judge federal appeals panel in Manhattan."
Hollywood in der Übermacht, Heise: "Bei der gestrigen Anhörung im Revisionsverfahren des New Yorker DeCSS-Prozesses standen die Vorzeichen für die Verteidigung nicht besonders gut:"
May 2, 2001:
appeals panel takes up DVD-copying software case, Freedom Forum Online: "In a case testing the scope of copyright law in the digital age, a federal appeals court panel questioned yesterday whether software that can decrypt digital movies should be considered free
May 2, 2001: Greene, Thomas,
decoding-as-speech fails to impress court, The Register: "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is "a kind of digital straight-jacket" violating the rights of individuals to make fair use of copyrighted materials, Stanford University Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan argued to the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals in Manhattan
1, 2001: McCullagh, Declan:
Piracy Judges Resolute, Wired: "A trio of federal judges lobbed sharp questions on Tuesday at a law school dean who argued it should be legal to distribute a DVD-descrambling
1, 2001: Hu, Jim / Bowman, Lisa,
trial: “Napsterization” of Hollywood?, ZDNet: "A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday heard arguments and responded with numerous questions about a far-reaching case over the rights of online publishers to link to controversial material."
May 1, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
vs. Hollywood, the Sequel, Wired: "Music industry lawyers plan to tell a federal appeals court that a DVD-descrambling program is primarily useful to hackers and should be
April 27, 2001: Kaplan, Carl,
an Anti-Piracy Plan Quash the First Amendment? NY Times: "There's a long-accepted notion in the publishing world that between the right of an author to control the uses of his book and the right of a reader to engage in free speech is the safety valve known as "fair use."
April 2, 2001: Mariani, Gwendolyn,
Law dean battles DeCSS, CNet: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says the dean of Stanford Law School will join the defense team for a hacker magazine in an Internet free-speech and copyright lawsuit."
March 7, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
That DVD in 7 Lines, Wired: "Descrambling DVDs just got even easier, thanks to a pair of MIT
publizieren DeCSS-Code, Futurezone: "Die Anwälte der "Motion Pictures Association of America" [MPAA] haben versehentlich den Kopierschutz-Crack DeCSS einer ungebremsten und legalen weiteren Verbreitung zugeführt."
February 22, 2001: Bowman, Lisa,
stands with film industry in DVD cracking case, CNet: "Uncle Sam is siding with the movie industry in a case that prevents a magazine from posting and linking to software that makes it possible to decrypt DVD security."
February 22, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
House Sides With Studios, Wired: "The Bush administration is siding with Hollywood in a federal lawsuit against a DVD-descrambling
January 26, 2001: McCullagh, Declan,
Allies Ganging Up, Wired: "A federal court decision that restricted a DVD-descrambling program ignores free speech rights and should be overturned, eight different coalitions
January 24, 2001: Bowman, Lisa,
takes stand in dispute over DVD-cracking code,
CNet: "In a move that free-speech activists hope will be trendsetting, Internet service provider Verio is standing up to the movie industry by refusing to remove a Web site the Motion Picture Association of America alleges is illegal."
December 14, 2000: Hansen, Evan,
dealt setback in DVD code case, CNet: "The motion picture industry's effort to ban computer code that subverts its DVD encryption scheme has suffered a setback in California, with the state's high court issuing an order that could see many of the defendants dropped from the closely watched
November 17, 2000: McCullagh, Declan:
Piracy Judge Tells All, Wired: "U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan doesn't truly dislike hackers and open-source programmers, not
October 30, 2000: Harmon, Amy,
Office Backs Digital Law, New York Times: "In a decision giving copyright holders greater control over the way people use books, movies and music that are distributed in digital form, the United States Copyright Office on Friday endorsed a new federal law making it illegal to break the technological safeguards for such
October 14, 2000: Amis, Davis,
Says Link is Both Legal and Illegal, Internet Freedom: "Ruling on a case in the US, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan decides that the same link can be legal for one site but illegal for
21, 2000: Hansen, Evan,
lawyers spill "secret" code, CNet: "A digital rights licensing group seeking to ban the controversial DVD decryption program known as DeCSS has shut down yet another potential distributor: a California state
Gute und böse Links, Heise: "Am 17. August knallten bei der Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) die Korken: Richter Lewis Kaplan vom District Court for the Southern District of New York entschied den Fall MPAA gegen Eric Corley, der unter dem Pseudonym Emmanuel Goldstein die Hacker-Zeitschrift 2600 herausgibt, für die Filmindustrie."
September 8, 2000: Kaplan, Carl,
Law Journal: Assessing Linking Liability, New York Times "According to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, a link can be bad or good. It mainly turns on whether the linker's intent is laudable or not."
August 23, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
News That's Fit to Link, Wired: "Internet journalists, beware: A recent ruling by a federal judge could imperil your ability to place hyperlinks in some news
Filmindustrie hat einen ersten Sieg erzielt, Heise: "Im New Yorker Prozess wurde dem Angeklagten verboten, den Code von DeCSS, dem Umgehungsprogramm für die DVD-Verschlüsselung, zu veröffentlichen oder Hyperlinks auf Websites mit dem Programm zu legen."
August 18, 2000: Sullivan, John:
Industry Wins a Round in DVD Copyright Case, New York Times: "A federal judge in Manhattan ruled today that a Web site operator cannot distribute a computer program used to crack codes that prevent the piracy of
August 17, 2000: McCullagh, Declan:
Score DeCSS Victory, Wired: "Comparing the DeCSS utility to a "common-source outbreak epidemic," U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said "there is little room for doubting that broad dissemination of DeCSS threatens ultimately to injure or destroy plaintiffs' ability to distribute their copyrighted products on DVDs, and, for that matter, undermine their ability to sell their products to the home video market in other forms."
August 17, 2000: Costello, Sam,
ruling may have profound implications, InfoWorld: "WHAT MAY BECOME one of the most important rulings in the history of the Internet was handed down late Thursday by a U.S. federal judge who issued a permanent injunction barring Web sites from linking to others that contain illegal code, such as De-Content Scrambling System (DeCSS) in some
August 2, 2000: Howe, Jeff,
of Hackers’ Hero Now in Judge’s Hands, The Village Voice: "It's been a long, strange trip for Eric Corley, a/k/a Emmanuel Goldstein, the publisher of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly and subject of Hollywood's litigious
July 27, 2000: Durham-Vichr, Deborah,
on the DeCSS trial, CNN: "Linux came to the forefront of the ongoing DeCSS trial late last
21, 2000: Medosch, Armin, DVD-Prozess:
Showdown im Gerichtssaal, Telepolis: "Die Hauptverhandlung im Prozess von acht Hollywood-Studios gegen Emmanuel Goldstein, bürgerlich Eric Corley, Herausgeber des Magazins 2600 Hacker Quarterly und der zugehörigen [External Link] Website, führte am gestrigen vierten Verhandlungstag neben den obligatorischen harten Bandagen auch zu einigen blumigen Vergleichen."
July 20, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Hacking Idol Hits Big Apple, Wired: "The Norwegian teen hacker may testify Thursday in a landmark trial over the DVD-descrambling program he wrote, which Hollywood hopes to ban from the Internet."
July 18, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Studios on the Warpath, Wired: "Hollywood escalated its attack on hackers Tuesday, arguing in court that 2600 magazine was complicit in promoting the piracy of
July 18, 2000: Harmon, Amy,
Studios Seek to Stop DVD Copies, New York Times: "On the first day of a case that could test the limits of Hollywood's control over its digital properties, lawyers for eight movie studios yesterday urged a federal judge to stop a Web site operator from distributing a software program that unscrambles the encryption on DVD movie
July 17, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Lawyers Press MPAA, Wired: "Pirating DVDs on the Internet is not nearly as easy as the entertainment industry claims, attorneys for 2600 magazine suggested during cross-examination
July 14, 2000: Kaplan, Carl,
Case Will Test Reach of Digital Copyright Law, New York Times:
"An important Internet case pitting Hollywood's right to control access to its digital wares against the traditional rights to fair use of copyright and free speech is scheduled to get under way in federal court in Manhattan on
June 7, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Mediation Sans Media, Wired: "Reporters may not attend the depositions of movie industry representatives in a lawsuit over DVD viewing software, a federal judge ruled late
May 16, 2000: King, Brad,
Up Digital Copyright Law, Wired: "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 was supposed to clear up copyright issues in the Internet
May 15, 2000:
Gag Injunction Appealed, Wired: "Hoping to overturn a preliminary injunction order barring publication of DeCSS software on dozens of websites, the Electronic Frontier Foundation appealed the order to the California Sixth Appellate Court
May 4, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Ban 'Threatens Free Speech', Wired: "A federal judge should not order 2600.com to yank hyperlinks to the DeCSS program from its website because it "would constitute a gross prior restraint of speech," 2600 magazine says in court documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York."
April 6, 2000: Cave, Damien,
hyperlinks be outlawed?, Salon: "Movie studios aim to criminalize links to DeCSS, a banned DVD-decryption
April 5, 2000: Patrizio, Andy,
Sues to Stopp DeCSS Linking, Wired: "The Motion Picture Association of America is taking another shot at silencing 2600.com publisher Eric Corley, aka Emmanuel Goldstein."
March 8, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Battle Heats Up, Wired: "In the trench warfare between the motion picture industry and the Linux and hacker communities, it's pretty obvious who can afford to spend the most on
March 7, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Wars: Defense Rallies, Wired: "The team of lawyers fighting a trio of DVD lawsuits has filed documents outlining the strategy they plan to use against the motion picture industry in
February 9, 2000: Ananian, Scott,
Code?, Salon: "A judge's decision to ban a DVD-playing Linux program and all discussion about it outrages the free-software community."
February 3, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Rags on DVD Hackers, Wired: "The New York judge who ordered that a controversial DVD viewing program be yanked from the Net thinks the hacking community has put on a very poor case."
January 28, 2000: Burke, Lynn:
Case: It's a Linux Thing, Wired: "As the fight between a bunch of hackers and the motion picture industry continues to escalate on an international scale, one fact is becoming pretty clear: The DVD guys and the movie people are just creaming the hackers."
28, 2000: Schulzki-Haddouti,
rechtlichen Konsequenzen des DeCSS-Falls, Telepolis: "Ein Interview mit Axel Horns, Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft [External Link] (FITUG), zu den rechtlichen Konsequenzen des DeCSS-Falls und der Frage, wie deutsche Richter in diesem Fall entschieden hätten."
January 26, 2000: McCullagh, Declan,
Lawyers Make Secret Public, Wired: "Lawyers representing the DVD industry got caught in an embarrassing gaffe when they filed a lawsuit and accidentally publicized the computer code they wanted to keep secret."
January 25, 2000: Burke, Lynn:
Hacker's Home Raided, Wired: "The home of a 16-year-old Norwegian hacker, who has become the Helen of Troy of the hacking world, was raided Monday."
January 25, 2000:
teen raided by police in DVD suit, CNN:
"Police on Monday raided the home of Jon Johansen, the Norwegian programmer who reverse-engineered the DVD Content Scrambling System (CSS) to allow DVD playback on computers running the Linux operating system."
2000: Rötzer, Florian,
Kreuzzug für den Ausbau des Copyrights, Telepolis: "Die zwei Gerichtsverfahren gegen die Betreiber von Websites, die das Programm DeCSS, mit dem sich die Verschlüsselung (CSS) von DVDs umgehen lässt, zum Herunterladen bereitstellen, sind zentrale Rechtskonflikte, die zusammen mit der ähnlich gelagerten [External Link] Klage von RealNetworks gegen Streambox und dem [External Link] Prozess der Recording Industry Association of America gegen MP3.com den Rahmen des Urheberrechts im digitalen Zeitalter definieren werden."
January 21, 2000: Burke, Lynn,
Win for CA DVD Hackers, Wired: "Santa Clara Superior Court Judge William J. Elfving denied a request by the DVD Copy Control Association to submit code-bearing T-shirts into evidence on Friday."
January 21, 2000: Howe,
Hackers Take a Hit in NY, Wired: "After hearing three hours of argument, federal judge Louis A. Kaplan granted the MPAA's request for a preliminary injunction against three Web site hosts who had distributed the DVD decryption utility."
January 20, 2000: Burke,
Case: Battle of the Basics, Wired: "It's been more than three months since a 15-year-old boy in Norway sat down at his computer, posted the code that breaks the encryption to DVDs to his Web site, and set off a chain of events he never could have predicted."
January 19, 2000:
T-Shirts für DVD-Hacker, Heise: "Durch T-Shirt-Verkauf wollen Betroffene im DVD-Hack-Gerichtsverfahren der Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) für die juristische Unterstützung danken."
January 19, 2000: Harrison,
group blasts DVD suit, CNN: "Legal actions filed by eight motion-picture companies seeking injunctions against Web site operators for posting a controversial software program have drawn fire from an online civil rights group that contends the move is unconstitutional."
January 18, 2000: Burke,
Judge Needs More Time, Wired: "After listening to four hours of testimony in a packed Santa Clara County Superior Court room Tuesday, Judge William J. Elfving decided not to decide anything."
January 18, 2000: Burke,
Hearing: Suits Meet Geek, Wired: "A hearing on a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior
January 18, 2000: McCullagh,
Copyright Law on Trial, Wired: "The New York lawsuit appears to be the first to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to try to restrict a computer program."
January 18, 2000: Uimonen,
studios file suit against accused DVD hackers, CNN: Eight major motion picture companies late last week filed injunction complaints in U.S. Federal Court against three alleged hackers to prevent them from publishing an unauthorized DVD (digital versatile disk) de-encryption program on their Web sites.
January 17, 2000: Medosch, Armin,
verklagen DVD-Hack-Websites, Telepolis: "Mit einer von [External Link] Quintessenz, Wien, orchestrierten internationalen Kampagne protestiert die "Global Internet Liberty Campaign" ( [External Link] GILC - eine Koalition von weltweit mehr als 50 Bürgerrechtsgruppen) gegen eine Klage, welche die Digital Versatile Disc Copy Control Association (DVD-CCA) Ende Dezember gegen dutzende Personen weltweit eingebracht hat, die Informationen zum DVD Verschlüsselungssystem CSS oder Verweise auf diese Information im Internet publiziert haben."
January 7, 2000: Kaplan,
Lawsuit Questions Legality of Linking, New York Times: "For the second time in as many months, an American court has been asked to wrestle with a problem whose answer could determine the future look and free-wheeling nature of the World Wide Web."
January 3, 2000: Raymond, Eric,
Geist ist aus der Flasche, Primavista: "Eric
S. Raymond nimmt Stellung zum DVD-Crack, zu DeCSS, zur DVD-Industrie und den
eigentlichen Motiven ihrer Lobby. "Warum lügt die DVD CCA?"
December 31, 1999:
Rejects Effort to Block DVD Program, New York Times: "An electronics industry group has lost a bid to halt distribution of software that removes security encryption from DVD videos while it awaits a court date."
December 29, 1999: Oakes,
Round 1 Goes to Hackers, Wired: "In a lawsuit that accuses 72 Web site owners of posting -- or linking to -- illegal DVD software code, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William J. Elfving declined the DVD Copy Control Association's request for a temporary restraining order on Wednesday."
December 29, 1999: Oakes,
Get Their Day in Court, Wired: "Around 30 engineers, consultants, Linux enthusiasts, open-source believers -- and at least one self-described troublemaker -- turned out to express solidarity with the hackers who are being sued by the DVD industry for distributing allegedly proprietary source code over the Web."
December 28, 1999: Oakes,
Hackers Hit With Lawsuit, Wired: "The DVD industry sued 72 hackers and Web-site authors Tuesday for posting -- and even linking to -- software that unlocks the system for preventing illegal copying of DVDs."
December 28, 1999:
einstweilige Verfügungen beantragt, Heise: "Eine kalifornische Anwaltskanzlei hat in der Nacht zum 28. Dezember mindestens 40 Website-Betreiber in aller Welt per E-Mail wegen angeblich widerrechtlicher Veröffentlichung geschützter Geschäftsgeheimnisse kontaktiert und gerichtliches Vorgehen angekündigt."
December 28, 1999: Barnett,
of defendants named in lawsuit over DVD hacking, CNN: "An industry group that licenses encryption technology for DVDs filed a lawsuit in California on Tuesday accusing 500 Web site administrators of giving away trade secrets in a scheme to override encryption software that protects against DVD piracy."
November 18, 1999: Macavinta, Courtney,
trade group tries to block DVD cracking tool, CNet: "In a major test of a new copyright law, the Motion Picture Association of America is hunting down and eliminating from the Net a program that cracks the security on DVDs."
In June 2002, Phonofile
sued Startsiden, Norway's most used public internet portal, arguing that by
offering hyperlinks to file sharing programs under the "MP3" subcategory, Startsiden was liable for contributing to the infringement of
Phonofile's exclusive right to electronic sale and distribution. Phonofile
demanded that Startsiden remove the hyperlinks.
the Oslo District court found in its October 28, 2003 judgement that users, with
the help of links from www.startsiden.no had downloaded file sharing
programs and distributed music files in the file sharing network thus infringing
Phonofile's protected exclusive rights, it held, however, that - although file
sharing programs can be used both illegally and legally - hyperlinking to file
sharing program cannot in itself give rise to liability for the internet portal
An article about that decision
was published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory
There have been a
lot of lawsuits concerning
linking, framing and search
engine issues in the last years.
In this section you'll find
short introductions into the
different cases and links to
news articles about it.