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Scientology v. Karin Spaink / Xs4all

The Court of Appeal in The Hague, Netherlands, denied the Scientologists’ latest appeal in an online copyright dispute that dates back to 1995. The court also overturned two previous rulings by the Amsterdam District Court of March 1996 and June 1999 that held that if a provider was made aware of illegal publishing of copyrighted materials by their subscribers, or hyperlinks to illegal or copyrighted information, it should take action and remove the website or links. 


Xs4all believes that "a hyperlink is merely a road marker on the Internet, and can never be unlawful." Although not all European courts will consent with that statement and the statement is in contradiction to the law in some European countries, Xs4all won an important copyright case, that significantly narrows the ability of copyright claims against ISPs in the Netherlands based on "illegal" hyperlinks.


  • September 9, 2003: Hines, Matt, Hyperlinks remain legal after Scientology defeat, ZDNet UK:
    "The Church of Scientology has lost a courtroom battle to compel a Dutch writer and her Internet service provider to remove postings from a Web site, in a ruling that keeps hyperlinks to copyrighted material legal."  

  • September 8, 2003: Libbenga, Jan, Scientologists loses copyright case, The Register:
    "The Court of Appeal in The Hague last week rejected all of the Church of Scientology's claims its action against the Dutch ISP Xs4all, writer Karin Spaink and ten other internet providers for publishing copyrighted material on the web."

  • September 8, 2003: Veröffentlichung von Scientology-Dokumenten bleibt legal, Heise: 
    "Die niederländische Journalistin Karin Spaink hat im jahrlangen juristischen Kampf gegen die Scientology-Organisation erneut einen Sieg errungen."




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