On Monday, 1st of August, European Information Society Institute (EISi) filed its third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the Magyar Jeti Zrt case concerning liability for hyperlinks. The decision of the Court will set important limits for the future of freedom of expression online. We have therefore decided to explain the Court the importance of hyperlinks for the functioning of the Internet and illustrate how imposing restrictions on their use can have strong adverse effects for our society.
The brief was prepared by Professors (Martin Husovec) and students (Bruno Bautista) of the Tilburg Law School and attorneys & affiliates of Law Firm TRINITI and University of Tartu (Karmen Turk and Maarja Pild), as part of a Legal Clinic held in collaboration with the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT).
In our submission, we address: a) the importance of hyperlinks for the architecture of the Internet and new media by explaining the social value of hyperlink and development of new media generally; b) the impact that this decision may have on the exercise of freedom of expression online; c) the ways in which the Court’s existing case-law supports the interpretation that a journalist should not be held liable for hyperlinking to a third party content when exercising its right to a freedom of press in matters of public interest. Moreover, we argue that any person, regardless of being a journalist, who is hyperlinking to a third party content should be clear of any liability unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as circumstances proving his/her intention to endorse the content’s message.