I’m sorry to tell you that I will no longer publish the Java Weekly series. I know that a lot of you liked this series and I really enjoyed writing it. But based on my understanding of 2 recent court decisions and the blog posts of several German lawyers, publishing links to other websites puts me at risk to get sued for copyright infringement.
Let me try to explain what I found out. And please don’t base any of your decisions on anything I write in this post. I’m not a lawyer, and I might be completely wrong.
I spent the last few hours reading about a recent decision of the European Court of Justice (08.09.2016, Az. C-160/15) and another decision of the District Court Hamburg (18.11.2016, 310 O 402/16). As I understand them, every commercial website has to check that another website doesn’t infringe any copyright before linking to it. Linking to a website that violates someone’s copyright without proving that you took appropriate action to check for possible copyright infringements, is a copyright infringement itself.
Thoughts on Java is a commercial website because I do not only publish free blog posts, I also promote my Hibernate training. So, I would need to take appropriate actions to avoid any links to copyright infringements.
And before you start wondering, when I’m talking about copyright infringement, I’m not talking about linking to the latest blockbuster. You can violate the copyright of anything that’s copyright protected, like texts and images.
Based on common recommendations, I would need to send an email to the author of each post to which I want to link. In this email, I would need to ask her/him to provide me a written statement that she/he didn’t copy any text parts from somewhere else, had the required rights for each of the used images and applied all the necessary attributions.
That not only creates additional work and delays the publishing of each Java Weekly post, I’m also sure that most bloggers would think I’m crazy.
But that’s not all. I would need to repeat that on a regular basis because someone might have changed the website.
If I don’t do that, I’m at constant risk to get sued for copyright infringement just because I’m linking to a great technical blog post.
Again, I’m not a lawyer, and you shouldn’t base any decision on this post. But that’s how I understand the court decisions and about a dozen posts I read in the last few hours. I better not get into more details about my unqualified opinion on the current case-law.
Unfortunately, that’s the end of the Java Weekly series. At least until the interpretation of the current case-law changes. Law cases for copyright infringements are just too expensive to take the risk.
But that doesn’t change anything for my technical blog posts. I will still write about JPA and Hibernate. I will just be more careful about placing links to other websites.