Playboy Can't Bar Weblinks to Illegal Pics, EU Court Aide Says

  • EU top court adviser gives non-binding advice on copyright law
  • Case concerns dispute between Playboy and Dutch Website

Playboy magazine pictures posted illegally online can be linked to by other Websites without falling foul of copyright rules, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said.

The Internet couldn’t function normally if online “users risk liability for copyright infringement every time they place a hyperlink” to freely accessible material elsewhere on the Web, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet of the EU Court of Justice, said in a non-binding opinion Thursday.

The case was triggered by a dispute in the Netherlands between Sanoma Oyj’s Dutch unit, which had commissioned a photoshoot of a Dutch television personality for Playboy. A Dutch Website created a link to another site that had posted the same pictures without Sanoma’s authorization. Sanoma sued, arguing that such hyperlinks violated its copyright.

The case is: C-160/15, GS Media BV v. Sanoma Media Netherlands BV and Playboy Enterprises International Inc. and Britt Geertruida Dekker.

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