[A2k] FrenchKat: Linking Site Operator Convicted by French Appeals Court

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Mon Mar 11 11:57:33 PDT 2013


Linking Site Operator Convicted by French Appeals Court

According to press reports last Friday (March 8), the Court of Appeals of
Bordeaux affirmed an individual's conviction at trial for criminal
copyright infringement.  Kevin Hanon was responsible for a website called
ledix.com which consisted of hundreds of links to unauthorized movie
downloading sites. In other words, the site was a linking site which did
not actually host the pirated content.

According to the evidence adduced at trial, the site made approximately
€6,000 in advertising revenue between 2006 and 2010.

Following a complaint brought by the major studios, criminal proceedings
were brought against Mr. Hanon. After having been convicted at trial, an
appeal was lodged by the studios, principally to obtain  greater damages.

As the decision has not been made public, it is impossible to be sure of
the reasons given by the Court.  It is nonetheless striking that the
conviction was upheld, which means that the mere fact that the site was a
linking site (and not the actual site hosting the pirated content) was not
sufficient to avoid liability.

The Court of Appeals also ordered the accused to pay almost €10,000 to the
various rightsholders by way of damages (they had sought close to €1

The case highlights the importance of these so-called linking sites in the
piracy ecosystem.  Without them, locating the unlawful content would be
considerably more difficult.  As recognized by HADOPI in its recent report
(see here), they are part and parcel of the piracy problem and it is thus
perhaps no surprise that the operator of one such site has been held
accountable. (Readers may also recall that even certain cyberlockers (e.g.,
RapidShare) believe that the best way of cracking down on piracy is to
target so-called linking sites: see here).

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