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Upphovsrättslig ensamrätt till länkning - särskilt i relation till digitala databaser

Gunnarsson Otto, Caroline LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Den digitala teknikens genomslag har minst sagt haft en stor betydelse för möjligheterna att sprida information, särskilt via globala nätverk som internet. Länken har blivit ett viktigt hjälpmedel för att hitta till och navigera bland på internet tillgängliggjort material. Samtidigt har digitaliseringen medfört att upphovsrättsskyddade objekt nyttjas i en allt större utsträckning och i en gränsöverskridande kontext. Lagstiftningen har behövt anpassas till den nya tekniken och stora delar av upphovsrätten har harmoniserats på EU-nivå, bland annat genom databasdirektivet och infosocdirektivet.

Länkning omnämns emellertid ingenstans i den europeiska upphovsrättslagstiftningen. Sedan internets genombrott har det debatterats huruvida... (More)
Den digitala teknikens genomslag har minst sagt haft en stor betydelse för möjligheterna att sprida information, särskilt via globala nätverk som internet. Länken har blivit ett viktigt hjälpmedel för att hitta till och navigera bland på internet tillgängliggjort material. Samtidigt har digitaliseringen medfört att upphovsrättsskyddade objekt nyttjas i en allt större utsträckning och i en gränsöverskridande kontext. Lagstiftningen har behövt anpassas till den nya tekniken och stora delar av upphovsrätten har harmoniserats på EU-nivå, bland annat genom databasdirektivet och infosocdirektivet.

Länkning omnämns emellertid ingenstans i den europeiska upphovsrättslagstiftningen. Sedan internets genombrott har det debatterats huruvida länkning är ett förfogande som rättsinnehavaren bör ha ensamrätt till. I avvaktan på EU-domstolens första avgöranden i frågan syftar denna uppsats till att analysera upphovsrättens förhållande till länkning. Särskilt fokuseras på hypertextlänkning till digitala databaser.

Det är tydligt att en länk inte kopierar det material som den länkar till. I framställningen argumenterar jag för att länken inte heller överför materialet till allmänheten, den andra rättigheten under rättsinnehavarens ekonomiska ensamrätt. Den rättsinnehavare som tillgängliggör sin databas på internet måste vara införstådd med att den därmed blir åtkomlig för en global publik och ta länkning i beaktande. I de fall rättsinnehavaren däremot begränsat åtkomsten till databasen med hjälp av tekniska åtgärder är det möjligt att länkning är ett förfogande som ska inräknas i hens ensamrätt.

Databaser kan skyddas av egentlig upphovsrätt eller av sui generis-rätt. Rättigheterna under båda dessa skyddsformer är relativt lika men skyddsobjekten skiljer sig åt: upphovsrätten skyddar det kreativa skapandet medan sui generis-rätten kan ge skydd åt innehåll vars upprättande krävt en väsentlig investering. För det fall EU-domstolen väljer att inordna länkning under den upphovsrättsliga ensamrätten (en lösning som endast är möjlig om rättsinnehavarens tillgängliggörande av databasen förstås som ett underförstått samtycke till länkning) analyserar jag om sui generis-rätten ger ett annorlunda eller bättre skydd än den egentliga upphovsrätten. Slutsatsen är att sui generis-rätten kanske rentav ger ett svagare skydd, främst eftersom den endast skyddar mot förfoganden över väsentliga delar av databaser. Länkar torde oftast anses återge oväsentliga delar av innehållet i en databas.

En hypertextlänk är kort och gott en hänvisning som måste stå var och en fritt att göra under det upphovsrättsliga regelverket, en slutsats som även harmonierar med yttrande- och informationsfriheten på ett tillfredsställande sätt. Länken vare sig kopierar eller överför databasens struktur eller innehåll. Den är enbart ett verktyg som förenklar åtkomsten till sådant material som redan gjorts tillgängligt. Ett illustrativt exempel är det flertalet länkar till skyddade material som återfinns i denna uppsats. (Less)
Abstract
The development of the digital technology has had a significant impact on the possibilities to disseminate information, especially through global networks like the Internet. The link has become an important tool to find and navigate among material that has been made available on the Internet. At the same time, digitalisation has lead to an increased use of copyright protected objects, also in a transboundary context. Legislation has had to be adapted to the new technology and major parts of copyright law has been harmonized at EU level, among others through the Database Directive and the Information Society Directive.

Linking is, however, not mentioned anywhere in the European copyright legislation. Since the breakthrough of the... (More)
The development of the digital technology has had a significant impact on the possibilities to disseminate information, especially through global networks like the Internet. The link has become an important tool to find and navigate among material that has been made available on the Internet. At the same time, digitalisation has lead to an increased use of copyright protected objects, also in a transboundary context. Legislation has had to be adapted to the new technology and major parts of copyright law has been harmonized at EU level, among others through the Database Directive and the Information Society Directive.

Linking is, however, not mentioned anywhere in the European copyright legislation. Since the breakthrough of the Internet, the question whether linking is a disposition within the right holder’s exclusive rights to his work has been subject for discussion. Awaiting the European Court of Justice’s first ruling on the issue, this paper seeks to analyse copyright’s relation to linking. Particular focus lies on hypertext linking to digital databases.

It is obvious that a link does not copy the material to which it links. I argue that the link neither communicates the material to the public, the second right within the right holder’s economic rights. That right holder that makes his or her database available on the Internet must understand that it thereby becomes available to a global audience, and take linking into consideration. However, under such circumstances where the right holder limits the access to the database using technical measures, it is possible that linking is a conversion that should be included in his or her exclusive rights.

Databases can be protected by traditional copyright or by sui generis right. The rights under both those forms of protection are quite similar but the object of protection differs: copyright protects the creative process while the sui generis right can provide protection for content whose creation required a substantial investment. If the European Court of Justice chooses to subsume linking into copyright (a solution only possible if the right holder’s making available of the database is understood as an implicit license to linking) I analyse whether the sui generis right gives a different or better protection than traditional copyright. My conclusion is that the sui generis right might even give less protection, mainly since it only grants protection against dispositions over substantial parts of the database. Linking ought to be seen as mostly reutilizing insubstantial parts of the content of a database.

A hypertext link is simply a reference that everyone must be free to make under the copyright legislation, a conclusion that also is in harmony with the freedom of speech and the freedom of information. The link neither copies, nor transmits the database’s structure or content. It is merely a tool that simplifies access to material already made available. An illustrative example is those several links to protected material that can be found in this paper. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Gunnarsson Otto, Caroline LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Does copyright include linking? - especially in relation to digital databases
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
civilrätt, private law, immaterialrätt, IT-rätt, upphovsrätt, sui generis-rätt, länkning, databas
language
Swedish
id
4226823
date added to LUP
2014-01-21 06:40:14
date last changed
2014-01-21 06:40:14
@misc{4226823,
  abstract     = {The development of the digital technology has had a significant impact on the possibilities to disseminate information, especially through global networks like the Internet. The link has become an important tool to find and navigate among material that has been made available on the Internet. At the same time, digitalisation has lead to an increased use of copyright protected objects, also in a transboundary context. Legislation has had to be adapted to the new technology and major parts of copyright law has been harmonized at EU level, among others through the Database Directive and the Information Society Directive. 

Linking is, however, not mentioned anywhere in the European copyright legislation. Since the breakthrough of the Internet, the question whether linking is a disposition within the right holder’s exclusive rights to his work has been subject for discussion. Awaiting the European Court of Justice’s first ruling on the issue, this paper seeks to analyse copyright’s relation to linking. Particular focus lies on hypertext linking to digital databases. 

It is obvious that a link does not copy the material to which it links. I argue that the link neither communicates the material to the public, the second right within the right holder’s economic rights. That right holder that makes his or her database available on the Internet must understand that it thereby becomes available to a global audience, and take linking into consideration. However, under such circumstances where the right holder limits the access to the database using technical measures, it is possible that linking is a conversion that should be included in his or her exclusive rights. 

Databases can be protected by traditional copyright or by sui generis right. The rights under both those forms of protection are quite similar but the object of protection differs: copyright protects the creative process while the sui generis right can provide protection for content whose creation required a substantial investment. If the European Court of Justice chooses to subsume linking into copyright (a solution only possible if the right holder’s making available of the database is understood as an implicit license to linking) I analyse whether the sui generis right gives a different or better protection than traditional copyright. My conclusion is that the sui generis right might even give less protection, mainly since it only grants protection against dispositions over substantial parts of the database. Linking ought to be seen as mostly reutilizing insubstantial parts of the content of a database. 

A hypertext link is simply a reference that everyone must be free to make under the copyright legislation, a conclusion that also is in harmony with the freedom of speech and the freedom of information. The link neither copies, nor transmits the database’s structure or content. It is merely a tool that simplifies access to material already made available. An illustrative example is those several links to protected material that can be found in this paper.},
  author       = {Gunnarsson Otto, Caroline},
  keyword      = {civilrätt,private law,immaterialrätt,IT-rätt,upphovsrätt,sui generis-rätt,länkning,databas},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Upphovsrättslig ensamrätt till länkning - särskilt i relation till digitala databaser},
  year         = {2013},
}