french website found guilty of breach of privacy – for providing a link

Last week a French court ruled that providing a link is enough to make a website responsible for the content linked to, even when that content was created by and exists on a third party website. The ruling could have serious consequences, not just for bloggers and message board users, but for any website that provides links, including news websites, online directories and even search engines such as google. Yahoo News Reports:

A Paris court ruled on Thursday that a user-generated website had
violated a film star’s privacy by hosting a link to a report about him,
in a potentially landmark ruling for the French Internet.

The court ruled that made an "editorial" decision to link to a story on a gossip news site about French actor Olivier Martinez and his relationship with singer Kylie Minogue — and was therefore responsible for its content.

The website — taken offline following the lawsuit —
allowed users to post links to their favourite stories elsewhere on the
web, with the most popular ones automatically displayed at the top spot.

Its creator Eric Dupin was ordered to pay 1,000 euros (1,600 dollars) in damages to Martinez and 1,500 euros in legal costs.

Dupin said the decision was a blow to other user-generated websites.

"It’s a black day for French participatory websites, because it opens the door to all kinds of (court) procedures," he said… [more]