Sep 20, 2016

The EuGH Link Disaster - It might be worse than you think

It's like a blast from the past, the verdict of the European Court (EuGH). Hyperlinks to websites need to be checked if there is illegal content on that site.

What sounds okay to people that doesn't understand the Internet and modern communication is a disaster for free speech in Europe. To link a source or point to a proof of some kind is mandatory on every good web article. Not anymore in Europe.
No small media site can afford the risk to being sued into oblivion. And the bloggers? The culture of linking to each other? Gone.

There is a statement on Fefe's blog that it's only relevant for blogs with ad banners or commercial sites. Okay, but seriously, this isn't any good. It's even worse if you can't do any professional work in Europe anymore without being half in jail. Is it really this bad to get a few bucks from ads? To say, like the EuGH did, that those people can afford to check everything, is just ridiculous. Even big companies can't have the manpower to check everything. At least they have the money and lawyers to survive it.
And it's not even clear that there is need for an ad banner to be targeted by this ridiculous verdict. There are terms in some European countries that declares a regularly updated site, like a blog, as a business like work. You guys in Germany should know this from that "imprint-discussion".

So, the EuGH just broke all the laws understanding and the Shysters will take over, soon.
So many questions are still open. And that's very bad for a law view that results from this verdict.

>>> To which level do you need to check?
Only look at the site you're linking to? What if there is a link to illegal stuff on this site? And on the one, this site linked and so on?
I made a simple calculation. If your blog has 100 links (something I will archive in some blogs in less than a week), and links to other sites with also 100 links on their own, at the 5th Level you have 10 billion links to check. Have fun with that.

>>> Is there a time frame I need to check? Who needs to prove it?
So I checked this 100 links (in reality not possible but just saying), and I'm good to link it. Then this site a few days later, or a month, or a year, publishes illegal stuff. Can I get a (very expensive) warning letter or even a fine?

I know there are even more questions on the horizon. What is "business like"? What is about your OLD articles? Do you have to go to your (in my case ten of thousands) articles and remove or check links? Really? Okay, my 1000 employees I need to do this are getting paid from the adsense banners, right? For the old judges and lawyers, that was sarcasm you know...
But the two questions above are enough to say, basically you can't afford to link to anything in the future when living under EU jurisdiction.

So please, be nice to European blogs and sites if they can't link to their sources or to your site. They can't just bear it to do so, because even if you think your site is 100% legal, that might not even remotely be true for European law. And that's what the poor girls there need to look after.
A sad day for the internet, and it will affect even sites in the USA or everywhere in the world indirectly. Because you might get less traffic some day from this crappy sentence.