The GS Media decision of 8 September 2016 is the latest chapter in the case law from the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on hyperlinking and copyright. Some consider it a questionable outcome with drastic restrictions on the freedom to link, and consequently of the freedom of information. Others feel the GS Media decision is merely a logical consequence of CJEU’s previous case law on the copyright holder’s exclusive right to ‘communicate his work to the public’. In any event, the decision has caused quite a stir, which may in part be due to the racy facts underlying this …read more
European Court upholds criminal conviction for purchasing illegal firearm as a form of ‘check it out’ journalism in Salihu ao v. Sweden
Guest post by professor Dirk Voorhoof and Daniel Simons.*
Investigative journalism sometimes operates at the limits of the law. This is especially true of what could be called ‘check it out’ journalism: reporting in which a journalist tests how effective a law or procedure is by attempting to circumvent it. A recent decision shows that those who commit (minor) offences during this type of newsgathering activity cannot count …read more
Guest post by Dirk Voorhoof, Ghent University.*
The Grand Chamber strikes again: Bédat v. Switzerland
Criminal conviction of journalist for having published documents covered by investigative secrecy in a criminal case is no violation of Article 10 ECHR
It has become common knowledge amongst “Strasbourg observers” that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of guaranteeing the right of freedom of expression and information. In earlier cases such …read more
The two most authoritative legal rankings for lawyers have recently been published: Chambers and Legal 500. The Kennedy Van der Laan media team has again been awarded top rankings in both guides in the category media and entertainment (see Chambers and Legal 500).
Jens van den Brink is mentioned as ’notable practitioner’ in the Chambers ranking: “Jens van den Brink has been especially active recently in handling defamation and copyright disputes for broadcasters and newspapers. Clients say he is “very good, he knows what he is talking about and he always reacts very promptly.” He advised UPC Nederland on a dispute in which a German rights holder organisation was seeking to disclose the identity of UPC subscribers who had exchanged pirated movies.” Legal500 …read more
The ground-breaking Costeja González judgment of the ECJ was followed in the Netherlands by several proceedings about the ‘right to be forgotten’. This was also the objective of recent preliminary relief proceedings brought by a convicted killer. Having served his term, he has been trying to erase all online links between his name and the crime. In these attempts he met with resistance from an interest group and the father of his victim, who make online publications about the murder. The killer started preliminary relief proceedings for the removal and keeping removed of publications of the defendants containing both his name and details of his crime. The Court in preliminary relief proceedings ruled (pdf) …read more
In the fall of 2014 the Amsterdam Court was offered a chance to shed light on the interpretation of the Google Spain (Costeja) decision of the European Court of Justice, which created a ‘right to be forgotten’. The court then ruled that Google was right to refuse to remove links to refused a convicted criminal to profit from this judgment. To our knowledge, this was the first decision in its kind. Last week, the Amsterdam court ruled on yet another request to be forgotten. It again found in favour of Google and this time decided that the right of removal is not meant to …read more
The case of Tierbefreier E.V. v. Germany before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerned the dissemination of a film of 20 minutes with the title ‘’Poisoning for Profit’’, showing monkeys used for research in a laboratory. The film was based on footage made by an undercover journalist who had used a hidden camera to document how the monkeys were treated by staff and what their living conditions were like. Before the applicant association Tierbefreier E.V. made the film public parts of the footage had been showed on TV by various broadcasting companies. The content of the film consisted to a large extent of accusations that the company using the monkeys did not live up to existing legal standards for using research animals. The German courts issued an injunction against Tierbefreier …read more
In the case of Print Zeitungsverlag GmbH v. Austria, Bezirksblatt, a regional newspaper distributed free of charge in in Tyrol in Austria, reported on an anonymous dissemination of a letter (printed in 300 copies) concerning two brothers who were both local politicians. The letter posed a number of questions about the brothers such as: “Would you buy a car from this man?”, “Is this man honest with his family?” and “Does this man have the necessary personal/professional qualifications?’’. The article in the regional newspaper was called “Anonymous campaign against M&M”. In the article the letter was published in its full length together with …read more
On 27 March 2014 French magazine Closer was ordered by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre to pay 15,000 euros in damages for breach of privacy to French actress Julie Gayet. On 10 January 2014 Closer had published an article with the title “François Hollande and Julie Gayet, the secret love of the president”, which we addressed in an earlier post. The article was accompanied by several photos including one of Gayet entering her apartment.
Gayet argued that the article was an interference with her right to private life as it described her private emotions and was published with the sole purpose of satisfying the curiosity of a certain public without in any way contributing to a debate of general interest.
Furthermore, Gayet underlined that she had never herself confirmed the allegations made by the magazine. On the contrary, she had consistently denied any such rumors. She additionally mentioned …read more
In 2012 a woman from Amsterdam called D. was convicted in summary proceedings for Cyberstalking, Identity Theft, Harassment, Threats and Defamation. She had been stalking the American film maker Christopher Johnson IV and the actress Mariana Tosca, mainly through the internet (we wrote about this case here, in Dutch). As far as we are aware, this was the first ruling in the Netherlands about cross-border stalking through the Internet. A special aspect of the case was that it was heard according to American law and that the Dutch court awarded punitive damages.
D. brought an appeal against the judgment. In its ruling, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal …read more